Action needed “urgently” to protect access to cash, urges Chair
3 May 2019
The Government has today announced the new Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group to, as Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, “safeguard the future of cash and ensure its availability for years to come”.
The Government has also stated its commitment to act on the Access to Cash Review, which makes clear that significant, expeditious action is needed from Government, regulators and industry to ensure that cash access and acceptance is maintained in the UK.
Following the Treasury Committee's evidence session with members of the Access to Cash Review panel in March, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, asked the Chancellor to:
- Place on record HM Treasury's commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Access to Cash Review, and to introduce the necessary legislation
- Undertake analysis of the incidence of shops and other service providers in the UK not accepting cash
- Set out whether HM Treasury has held discussions with the public and private sector bodies that make up the UK's wholesale cash infrastructure on how it can be run more efficiently and sustainably
- Make cash policy an explicit responsibility of the relevant HM Treasury minister
Today the Committee has published Mrs Morgan's letter to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor's response. Commenting on the correspondence, Mrs Morgan said:
“As we've seen this week, free-to-use cash machines are disappearing at an alarming rate, which could hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest.
“On top of this, some firms' insistence on the use of non-cash forms of payment may act as a social barrier.
“Any significant reduction in access to cash is unacceptable. The new JACS Group is a welcome step, but the Government must ensure that it implements the Access to Cash Review's recommendations urgently, and in full, to protect access to cash.
“Additionally, HM Treasury should undertake an analysis of the incidence of shops and other service providers not accepting cash, and the Chancellor should make cash policy an explicit responsibility of the relevant Treasury minister.
“The Treasury Committee will scrutinise the work of the new JACS Group and will seek regular updates on its progress.
“Many of the issues raised in this announcement, specifically about how vulnerable people use financial services, will be addressed in the Treasury Committee's upcoming report on Consumers' Access to Financial Services, which is scheduled to be published later this month.”