Preseli MP Stephen Crabb this week met with the Treasury Minister John Glen MP to raise concerns about the impact on rural communities of the shift towards a ‘cashless society’.
Bank branch closures and the reduced number of ATMs mean that rural areas are at risk of being “starved of cash”, Mr Crabb claimed recently in Parliament. The MP raised the matter with Ministers following complaints from traders in St Davids that customers had complained about lack of access to cash when the Lloyds Bank ATM was out of service during the May holiday. Mr Crabb was invited to the Treasury to speak to the Minister and civil servants about the issue.
Britain is currently seeing a dramatic decline in the number of cash transactions as more and more payments are made electronically via debit cards and smart phones and watches.
Commenting after the Treasury meeting, Mr Crabb said
“The growth of digital payments for goods and services is a tremendous change in our society and is fuelling the fall in the number of cash machines available to the public. This is fine in cities but for rural areas where there is a higher dependency on cash among small businesses, and where broadband and mobile connections may be poor, I can see an increase in problems due to lack of available cash to the public.”
“Cash will remain vitally important for many people in the future, especially the elderly, and it’s important that the Government has a strategy for ensuring that sufficient cash is available through ATMs, post office branches and other means for those who need it as and when they want. One idea I discussed with them was enabling more ‘cash back’ services to be available from shops even when there has been no purchase. I will continue to follow this issue closely.”