Part of Financial Services and Markets Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 7th December 2022.
I am tempted to give way, because I want to debate this, but I am observant of the Chair’s ruling on limiting speeches, so I apologise to the hon. Gentleman.
Adding the word “free” into the Bill would not result in the loss of a single paid ATM. It would simply preserves free access for every community, so that no one is obligated to pay for their own money. We have all seen how devastating the impact of bank branch closures can be on our communities, particularly for the elderly, the disabled and the most vulnerable, who are least likely to be able to use online banking and most reliant on access to cash. For them, cash is king. It is why MP after MP has led local campaigns fighting to save bank branches in their town centres, but what is the point of the photo in the local newspaper or the packed public meeting unless the rhetoric is matched by a vote in favour today?
It is time for Members to put their money where their mouth is, to listen to their constituents, to challenge their Whip, and to make a simple, lasting change for the most vulnerable people in their community. It is uncontroversial, tangible, straightforward, no nonsense, common sense and cross party. Free access to cash is, quite simply, bang on the money, and I hope that it will have the support of the House.