NICK Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent, has called for action from the Government to ensure that people in Blaenau Gwent have better access to free-to-use cash machines.

Research from consumer rights champion Which? has found that 39% of cash machines in Blaenau Gwent now charge customers to use them, one of the highest rates of any UK constituency.

Mr Smith has joined Which? in calling on the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to urgently take control of how cashpoints are funded and address the reduction in access to free cash withdrawals in Blaenau Gwent and across the UK.

Mr Smith has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid urging him to bring forward laws which safeguard access to free cash withdrawals in the long term.

Mr Smith said: “This data is alarming. Many people in Blaenau Gwent rely heavily on being able to withdraw money from ATMs.

“With the closure of so many of our high street banks in recent years, ATMs are quickly becoming the only way to access cash in our towns.

“It is unacceptable that such a high proportion of them are now charging people to access their own money.

“The government and regulators have to get a handle on this and ensure that people in Blaenau Gwent and other communities like ours are always able to withdraw their money for free.”

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