FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

A number of major UK banks have announced plans to work together and share services to ensure that communities can continue to access their cash.

The collaboration has been achieved through the Access to Cash Action Group (CAG) and signals a long-term commitment to ensuring that consumers can continue to have access to cash and banking services.

Communities will also be able to request a review of their community’s needs from the summer of 2022.

Natalie Ceeney, chair of CAG, said: I’m delighted that the industry is committing to ensuring that the cash needs of consumers and small businesses up and down the UK will continue to be met.

“We know that demand for cash is declining, but we also know that it continues to play a vital part in the lives of at least five million people in the UK – including some of the most vulnerable in society.

“The community pilots have shown that there are many different ways to meet people’s cash needs. Informed by this experience, I’m confident that the new plan will lay the foundations for a positive future for cash access across the UK.”

John Glen MP, economic secretary to the Treasury, commented: “Access to cash has ongoing importance to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, and protecting it is a priority for myself and this government.

“Following the government’s commitment to legislate, I am pleased to see firms working together to develop new initiatives to support continued access to cash. This is a great start, and I look forward to seeing the impact of industry’s announcements for new and improved cash facilities in local communities across the UK.”

Findings from the ACS 2021 Local Shop Report show that consumers think that two of the most valuable services offered in convenience stores are cash machines and the Post Office.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores trade across the heart of communities across the UK and we know that cash is still very important for a large proportion of our customers.

“We are pleased that Link has outlined plans to review cash provisions when a bank branch closes but it is vital to also ensure areas which already do not have trading bank branches are not forgotten or left behind. The government needs to act urgently and decisively on its earlier commitment to legislate to promote access to cash.”