Richard is in Parliament with other like-minded MPs and campaigners progressing his agenda to protect cash in the community.
Access to cash is the lifeblood for many to participate in society. Reduced access to cash or a bank makes it difficult for cash-dependent people, especially the elderly who may not be able to access alternative online services, to go about their everyday lives. Whether doing their banking or shopping, its essential for individuals. Moreover, small businesses also depend on physical banking facilities to deposit their hard-earned profits, making access to cash a vital element of the ecosystem.
Richard warmly welcomed the Government’s recent agreement in the Financial Services and Markets Bill to enshrine in law a requirement for banks to provide customers with convenient free access to cash on the high street. However, with 1 in 4 in-person branches forecast to close over the next two years, 1 we must think outside the box for solutions. More needs to be done to ensure cash remains a viable means of exchange, let alone king.
Richard has campaigned hard in North West Durham to ensure that the local towns and villages do not become a banking desert, negotiating with Barclays to save some physical banking facilities. In addition to bank branch and ATM closures, many cash points have become pay to use with 14,000 closing or becoming ‘Pay-TMs’ in the last 5 years.1 This pernicious development hits people in the pocket hard, making cash less and less workable. Richard’s successful campaign to save the ATM in Billy Row as well as ensuring the Moorside cash machine became free to use are incredibly important and will save locals there thousands a year in transaction fees.
Commenting, Richard Holden MP said:
“Fantastic to be in Parliament today to discuss one of the issues I am most passionate about: access to cash.
“Cash has been and remains an essential means of exchange, as it has for hundreds of years. Protecting access to cash, particularly for older people and those on tight budgets, is something I’ve consistently campaigned for. After successes with cash points across our area, I am now working to ensure some physical banking facilities remain available across North West Durham as the nature of banking changes. I can’t single-handedly hold back the tide as the landscape of banking changes, but the Government’s amendment in Financial Services and Markets Bill is hugely helpful in this battle.
“I know how much this issue means to us all in North West Durham and want to so I’m glad to have the opportunity to discuss this important issue in Parliament. These wins are a big step in the right direction, but the future of cash is hanging in the balance. We must do more.”