Plaid Cymru MP calls for sufficient mitigation measures to shield rural communities from disproportionate cuts
Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd Liz Saville Roberts has urged the UK’s second largest provider of cash machines to protect rural communities, as it moves ahead with plans to axe thousands of free-to-use ATMs including 3 in her constituency.
In a letter to the MP, NoteMachine confirmed plans to convert 3,000 of their 7,000 free-to-use cash machines to pay-to-use, following successive cuts to the LINK interchange fee - the fee paid by banks to ATM providers per cash withdrawal.
NoteMachine says that despite 2 ½ years of urging the UK government to intervene, maintaining free-to-use ATMs has become ‘economically unviable’.
Liz Saville Roberts MP, who successfully campaigned to protect several free-to-use cash machines in her constituency, has urged ATM providers to exempt rural areas from future cuts, calling for sufficient mitigation measures to prevent customers from being denied access to cash.
She has also raised specific concerns about access to cash in Harlech, which is one of the areas hardest hit in terms of free ATM provision, distance to the nearest bank branch and poor and unreliable connectivity.
Liz Saville Roberts MP said: ‘It is a damning indictment on the Tory government that ATM providers have been put in such a position that they are now left with no choice but to start converting a portion of their machines to pay-to-use.’
‘It is the poorest communities and the most vulnerable people that are likely to be impacted the most as a result of this reduction in free access to cash.’
‘Whilst customer habits are changing, rural communities still need access to cash, and the loss of free-to-use ATMs will be a big blow for local businesses.’
‘Not only is it unfair for people to have to pay to get their own money out, but customers will now be faced with travelling further afield to cashpoints where withdrawals are still free.’
‘If our dwindling ATMs face further threats, then many people will be left struggling to access the cash they need - with severe consequences for communities and businesses.’
‘Our communities cannot afford to lose more free-to-use cashpoints, which local businesses and people rely on. Harlech is one community in my constituency where access to cash is a pressing concern.’
‘With the perennial closure of high street banks, cashpoints have become a necessity for many communities in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and must be safeguarded.’