Access to cash is clearly something that matters to many across Newbury and beyond. This is why I am pleased that a recent study led by the University of Bristol in partnership with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) showed that free access to cash is readily available on almost all (99 per cent) of UK high streets within 500 metres. And, across the UK over three-quarters (77 per cent) of communities have some form of free access to cash within 500m.
For those in West Berkshire’s outlying villages, where free access to cash via an ATM are not so readily available, I am pleased that Post Office branches continue to play an important role in providing access to cash. Across the UK, Post Offices branches are the nearest cash access point in more than 60 per cent of cases.
Furthermore, following a detailed consultation, the Government intends to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities. As a first step, the recent Financial Services Act 2021 has facilitated the wide-spread adoption of cashback without a purchase and the Government will set out further measures in due course.
In addition, with the success of the Community Access to Cash scheme, an initiative that supported eight communities across the UK to trial and test scalable solutions to help keep cash sustainable, I hope that any future legislation will ensure the needs of cash users are understood and continue to be met by industry, including large and small retailers.