Scottish Affairs Committee

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 14th July 2022.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 1:30 pm, 14th July 2022

We put those questions to the Minister when he appeared before the Committee. He made it clear, very legitimately, that the Government cannot get involved in commercial decisions on closures of branch operations, but that does not mean that they cannot do anything. The Access to Cash Action Group recommended several things that the Government could do so that banks were able to proceed, particularly around consultation with local communities, which is available now.

Data is indeed important ahead of legislation. The Government have an opportunity to find out how much cash usage there is across the UK, how many retailers refuse to accept cash at salepoints, and exact data on bank closures, which does not exist in any tangible or useful form. As the Government head towards the legislation, they have an opportunity to look at that and, hopefully, enable Members of Parliament on both sides of the House to be better informed when they are contributing to discussions about the legislation and to know exactly the state of play when it comes to bank closures and the use of cash.