To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to secure long-term access to cash to protect (a) people on low incomes, (b) vulnerable people, (c) disadvantaged communities and (d) businesses who could not cope in a cashless society; and what plans he has to ensure that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long-term.
The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people and businesses across the UK, including those who may be on low incomes or vulnerable. That is why at the March 2020 Budget, the Government committed to legislating to protect access to cash and ensuring that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the longer term.
On the 1 July 2021, the Government published the Access to Cash Consultation, which seeks views on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The Government’s proposals will support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by protecting deposit facilities. The consultation will be open until 23 September and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.
As part of the Financial Services Act 2021 the Government made legislative changes to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses. The Government’s view is that cashback without a purchase has the potential to be a valuable facility to cash users, and to play an important role in the UK’s cash infrastructure.