ATM Closures — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:53 am on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 9:53 am, 4th December 2018

My hon. Friend makes a salient evidential point, which contributes greatly to the debate. The removal of any ATM services will have a further, extreme impact on rural communities and convenience shops. It must be remembered that currently there remain more cash transactions than any other method. We need to ensure that cash is available to people as they need it and that we do not return to people hiding money in the house because they cannot easily access their cash.

I live in a community where it is not unusual for people to keep their money at home. Those of an elderly disposition more often than not even keep their savings there. A few years ago my wife’s aunt was burgled and lost her life savings as a result of two people taking advantage of a vulnerable lady with poor eyesight. More than one constituent has told me that since the latest banking crash they lift their money after pay day and keep it at home. That is not safe and it is not what we advocate. It must also be remembered that many ATMs provide other services such as pin number changes and balance inquiries. For those who do not have reliable broadband at home, these machines are essential for the correct control of finances. These problems make the ATM debate so important.

Polling research by Which? found that cash remains popular and important. The research showed that almost three quarters of people, or 73%, use cash at least two or three times a week, including 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds, which is quite interesting. Only 5% of people use cash once every three months or less, and the majority of consumers still rely on cash in some circumstances. Which? magazine research further found that 57% of consumers say that they have experienced a situation in the last three months in which they could only pay by cash. Two thirds, or 67%, of people say that cash is important for making small purchases, and six in 10 say that it is important for paying for occasional professional services, such as babysitting and cleaning.