The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. He makes an excellent point about the existing pressure on our high streets. Removing ATMs and other services does not help that pressure one bit.
LINK has now been given a specific direction by the PSR to review its financial inclusion programme, due to its failure to protect the spread of free-to-use ATMs. However, I have little confidence in the regulation of the sector. LINK’s changes to ATM funding were the PSR’s first major regulatory hurdle. In my view and that of many stakeholders, it fell at that hurdle. Common themes related to the reporting of issues and access to the financial inclusion programme have been reported by those involved in the industry pretty much since day one. I sat across from the PSR and explained the concerns I had heard about the closure of free-to-use ATMs and about their operators, and from the many people who are against the cut to LINK’s interchange fee, and I was met with silence. On every occasion when concerns were raised, the PSR failed to act. Only latterly has it taken action.