North Ayrshire & Arran MP, Patricia Gibson, has called on the UK Government to take urgent action to protect access to cash for people across the UK, as research reveals consumers spend a staggering £100 million a year just to withdraw their own money.

Ahead of the UK Budget in March, consumer group Which? has also ramped up pressure on the Chancellor to protect cash services – warning that current efforts to fix the problem “are doomed to fall desperately short.”

Link - the UK’s largest cashpoint network – also warned that the free cash system will collapse within two years unless the UK Government urgently intervenes.

Since January 2018, almost one in five free cashpoints have closed, while in Scotland communities had lost 204 free-to-use cash machines between 2018-March 2019.

Patricia Gibson MP, the SNP’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson, said:

“Access to free cash machines, local bank branches, and Post Office services are vital for consumers and small businesses across Scotland and the UK – however those services are closing at an alarming rate and with no substitute to deal with the impact.”

“Research by Which? has revealed that around 9,500 free to use cash machines have been lost in the last two years, while in Scotland communities had lost 204 free-to-use cash machines from January 2018 to March 2019.

“The impact of those closures is being felt by consumers who are being forced to fork out a staggering £100m a year simply to withdraw their own money, while local businesses are facing hardship as a consequence.

“The UK government can no longer sit on its hands and ignore the devastating impact this is having and the hit to peoples’ pockets. It needs to seize the opportunity to act now and introduce legislation that protects access to free cash, local banking and Post Office services on our high streets so that communities are not left behind.