To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has held with the (a) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government on community access to free ATMs.
5 July 2021
The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the UK, and has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.
The Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, which will allow shops and other businesses to offer a new form of cash withdrawal service to local communities.
On 1 July the Government published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.
Regarding access to free-to-use ATMs, there are already measures in place. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. Specifically, LINK has committed to protect free-to-use ATMs more than one kilometre away from the next nearest free ATM or Post Office, and free access to cash on high streets (where there is a cluster of five or more retailers) that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within one kilometre. Furthermore, LINK's members have made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.
LINK publishes the total number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK online. As of May 2021, it reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK’s Monthly ATM Footprint Report also includes information monthly ATMs at a local level.
Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.