Research from the consumer group Which? identifying 259 communities across the UK with poor cashpoint provision, or no ATMs at all, has prompted Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman Mike Cherry to stand up for businesses in those areas.
He said: “When an area loses cash points that has very real impacts on surrounding small businesses: sales fall as customers who want to pay with notes and coins are left in the lurch, and footfall drops as shoppers head to other towns where they can still access bank branches and ATMs.
“Between the Treasury, regulators, banks, Post Office and independent ATM providers, we have no shortage of actors in this space. The challenge for the next government is bringing them all together to create a cash infrastructure that is both comprehensive and commercially viable. The fact that we now have areas that are without a cash point or post office is especially worrying.
“The Post Office has a crucial role to play in enabling free access to cash right across the country, particularly in remote communities.
“The recent decision by Barclays to continue allowing customers to freely access cash at post offices was the right one. We need to see continued support from banks for the PO in the years ahead.
“The loss of cashpoints is just one example of how our high street banking infrastructure is diminishing across the UK. We’re also contending with rapid closure of bank branches, one upshot of which is to yet another barrier to accessing the external finance small firms need to invest, hire and grow.”