An MP this week proposed a new law in Parliament calling for a minimum service obligation from banks and building societies to provide a free 24/7 cashpoint in towns and villages with more than 5,000 residents.
Huw Merriman, Battle and Bexhill MP, made the proposal following the closure of the last high street bank in Battle in May.
He presented his Minimum Service Obligations (High Street Cashpoints) Ten Minute Rule Motion yesterday (Tuesday, November 27). It has received cross-party support from MPs representing all parts of the UK and if passed, it will receive its second reading in the New Year.
Mr Merriman said while the high street banks contract some of their services to local Post Office when they close down their branches, these Post Offices cannot offer 24/7 facilities. The MP is calling for banks to be collectively obliged to provide at least one accessible 24/7 cashpoint facility in towns whether or not they close their branch doors.
Mr Merriman said: “Battle is an example of what is happening in communities right across the country. While I accept the high street banks’ rationale that more and more customers bank online and via mobile devices, there are still many members of our communities who like to do their banking face-to-face and will still require access to their cash.
“We are a very long way from becoming a cashless society, especially while it costs small businesses every time they process a debit or credit card.
“In smaller communities like Battle where we rely on small independent traders keeping our high streets and communities alive, we need access to cash and cashpoint services on a 24/7 basis.
“The banks should reorganise their estate of machines and ensure their customers are served.
“It is not good enough to simply abandon High Streets and leave them not only without a bank but without a cashpoint.”
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