Nick Smith MP has urged ATM firm Note Machine to “seriously consider” the impact of reducing the number of free cash machines they operate.
The call comes after Mr Smith received a letter from Note Machine Chief Executive Peter McNamara informing him of the company’s decision to convert 3000 of their 7000 free-to-use cash points to pay-to-use machines.
Although it is unclear which machines are being targeted for conversion, the letter states that the changes are “likely to affect” some machines in Blaenau Gwent.
Earlier this month, Mr Smith spoke out about “alarming” data from consumer rights champion Which? revealing that 39% of Blaenau Gwent’s cash machines now charge for use, among the highest percentages of any UK constituency.
Mr Smith said: “This latest news from Note Machine is particularly concerning given what we already know about the amount of pay-to-use cash machines in Blaenau Gwent.
“The prospect of people being unable access to their own money without paying a charge is completely unacceptable.
“I have responded to the CEO of Note Machine with some very important questions about what this means for Blaenau Gwent.
“I am also calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bring forward action to protect free cash withdrawals and ensure that my constituents can always access their own money free of charge.”
Mr Smith added: “With the closure of so many of our banks in Blaenau Gwent, cashpoints are now the only way of withdrawing money for many people.
“Many of our small businesses also operate using cash only. This means that if people are unable to access their cash for free, they will be less likely to shop locally.
“This could have a massive effect on our town centres.
“Free access to cash is vital to places like Blaenau Gwent and has to be safeguarded.”