Money

Banks and building societies to provide free-to-use cash machines within a ‘reasonable distance’ of every UK home


BRITS will soon get better access to free-to-use cash machines under Government plans.

Banks and building societies will be required to give access within a “reasonable distance” of every home in the UK, reports have said.

 The Treasury is working to make more free cash machine available, reports say

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The Treasury is working to make more free cash machine available, reports sayCredit: Getty – Contributor

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s promise that new laws will be put in place to ensure everyone who needs cash can access it during his first Budget in March.

The Treasury has said it is “coordinating work across government, regulators and industry” to put the new plans in place, The Sunday Times reported.

ATMs are a livelihood for elderly and vulnerable people as they are one of the ways they depend on getting cash.

Consumer group Which? previously estimated that more than 250 areas in the UK – including 115,000 people within 130 postcode districts – have poor access to cash machines.

During the coronavirus lockdown, withdrawals were down 90 per cent in some areas, according to cash machine network LINK, as people were encouraged to stay indoors.

Around 7,200 dispensers have been closed during the lockdown, out of a total of 60,000.

Some were closed under social distancing laws but others were in businesses that were forced to close.

Only 30 per cent are now working again, LINK added.

John Howells, CEO at LINK, said: “LINK is expecting some ATMs not to reopen mainly where the locations that they are in do not reopen, or where machines next to others are removed to maintain social distancing, such as supermarkets.

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“Brits can be reassured that LINK will take action to maintain overall coverage and that all highstreets large and small will continue to have free access to cash. If your community has an issue, then please contact us via our website.”

LINK has an online tool where you can find your nearest ATM.

Shoppers have been encouraged to use their cards during lockdown instead of cash over hygiene fears.

Many shops became card-only while the Treasury increased the maximum amount for contactless payments from £30 to £45.

Nearly a quarter of cash machines across the UK are also already in place but charge minimum fees.

We’ve asked the Treasury what the new plans mean for cash machines that have charges and for a comment on the story.

We will update this article when we hear back.

Last week, Mr Sunak unveiled a series of measures to help people save money during a mini budget.

He firstly confirmed plans for a £5,000 energy saving voucher for households.

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The Chancellor also revealed a new scheme called Eat Out to Help Out which sees your food bills being slashed by half.

We’ve rounded up the pubs and restaurants that are taking part in the scheme – including Harvester and Pizza Hut.

How Brits plan to make the most of Rishi Sunak’s meal deal, from high street chains to restaurant crawls





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