BLAENAU Gwent MP Nick Smith has urged the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure the future of free access to cash.
Mr Smith’s constituency has one of the highest rates of pay-to-use cash machines in the UK, with 39% of the ATMs in the area charging people to withdraw their own money.
Mr Smith campaigned for the previous Chancellor to take this issue in hand and has called on new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to bring forward legislation to protect free access to cash.
In his letter to the Chancellor Mr Smith says that new legislation needs to be in place at the earliest possible opportunity to address the growing issue “promptly and effectively.”
Mr Smith said: “Although cash is generally being used less, in places like Blaenau Gwent access to money is still essential.
“With so many of our banks closing in recent years, ATMs are now the only way that many people can access cash.
“In many cases people have no choice but to pay a charge to withdraw their own money. This is unacceptable.
“The Government and regulators must get a handle on this issue before it is too late.
“Once free access to cash is gone from our communities, it will be gone forever.
“Free access to cash is vital in places like Blaenau Gwent and must be safeguarded.”
It was reported last week that consumer watchdog group Which? and the Association of Convenience Stores are also lobbying the new Chancellor to secure the future of free access to cash and provide support to the ATM network.