Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has joined a cross party letter calling on the government to protect access to cash in the face of declining numbers of free-to-use cash machines across the country. The letter was sent to the Treasury for the attention of the Chancellor in advance of the upcoming new legislative session, with 72 cross-party signatures. Mr Carmichael also joined a parliamentary event in support of access to cash on Tuesday.
Many people and businesses, particularly in rural areas, rely heavily on the use of cash and yet the overall number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK has fallen by 23% since 2018, rising to a fall of more than 50% in some areas.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Access to cash is vital for our communities and businesses and yet it is increasingly under threat through a gradual loss of local services. Even as many people have shifted to make more payments by card or online there is a vital need to maintain free and open access to cash, particularly for vulnerable people.
“This cross party letter shows the real importance of this issue in all areas of our country. Now we need to see some effort from the government, to ensure the future of access to cash for our rural and island communities in the years to come.”