Thank you for contacting me about cash availability and acceptance.
Cash remains an important part of daily life for millions of people across the UK, which is why the Government has committed to legislate for the protection of access to cash.
As of October 2021, LINK reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. More broadly, the Financial Conduct Authority reports that as of the second quarter of 2021, nearly 96 per cent of the UK population are within 2km of a free-to-use cash access point.
Following a detailed consultation, the Government intends to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities. Having already facilitated the wide-spread adoption of cashback without a purchase through the Financial Services Act 2021, the Government will set out next steps in due course.
Although schemes such as Community Access to Cash have been very successful, I hope that future legislation will ensure the needs of cash users are understood and continue to be met by industry, including large and small retailers.
Timetable for plans to legislate for cash access: I welcome the Government's ambition to further legislate for the protection of access to cash in due course. I will speak to ministerial colleagues to ascertain when this legislation will be brought before Parliament.