To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the announcement of 19 May 2022 of new powers for the Financial Conduct Authority to protect access to cash, what the criteria will be for deciding on expectations for reasonable distance for people to travel when depositing or withdrawing cash.
The government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, particularly to those in vulnerable groups, and has announced that it will legislate to protect access to cash in the Financial Services and Markets Bill.
In May, the government published a summary of responses to the Access to Cash consultation. This set out the government’s intention to establish the Financial Conduct Authority as the lead regulator for retail cash access and provide it with appropriate powers for ensuring that designated firms continue to ensure the provision of deposit and withdrawal facilities across the UK. The FCA’s powers will allow it to address cash access issues at both a national and local level.
HM Treasury will publish its expectations in a policy statement, which the FCA will be required to have regard to in carrying out its functions. The government intends to enable HM Treasury to specify baselines for reasonable access to cash withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK, including in rural and urban areas, initially on the basis of current cash access provision.
Around 96% of the population are within two kilometres of a free-to-use cash access point. This includes free-to-use ATMs, bank branches and Post Office branches.