Financial Exclusion: Access to Cash — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:58 am on 21st May 2019.

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Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Labour/Co-operative, Feltham and Heston 10:58 am, 21st May 2019

I thank the Minister and the shadow Minister for their remarks. I also thank the Minister for recognising that this is a confusing time, that the rate of change is faster than we had predicted, and that cash is required. He made a very important point on cash being a back-up if a system of technology fails. I thank all hon. Members who have taken part in the debate, including Bim Afolami, who helped me pitch this subject to the Backbench Business Committee.

We absolutely cannot sleepwalk into a cashless society. Equally, we cannot turn the clock back on progress. However, the market is failing and we need to intervene. We also need to ensure that it continues to be affordable to accept cash, requiring joined-up action to reduce the cost, reform our cash infrastructure and ensure efficiency and resilience. Where needed, we must also incentivise joint industry working in the design of consumer services and products that are based on need. If that requires further supply-side reforms to enable hubs and provide more opportunities to work together, we need to grasp that challenge—both in terms of policy and of shifting our culture. I recognise some of the interesting ideas coming from Mastercard and Visa—including jam-jarring to help with savings, and support for credit union infrastructure—but there needs to be so much more.

I thank Natalie Ceeney and her panel for their work on the Access to Cash Review. Government action is welcome, but it cannot be on a slow burn—for example, the no-interest loan scheme pilot, which was announced last year, has not yet progressed. We need to continue working together on this issue, and I look forward to doing so.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered financial exclusion and the future of access to cash.