RESIDENTS of a Midlands town have been left with no free cash machines – forcing them to cough up £3.50 whenever they want money.
Branches of Nationwide, NatWest and Lloyds in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, have all shut down in the last three years.
Residents of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, have been left with no free cash machines. Local bank branches, including Lloyds (pictured) have shut down[/caption]
The only remaining ATM in the town centre charges for withdrawal.
Other cash points are based outside the centre and at retail parks – most of which charge between 95p and £3.50 for withdrawals.
Business owners and shoppers in Burslem – which has a population of 24,000 – say the lack of cash machines makes things “very difficult”.
The issue has now been raised in a parliamentary debate.
Recent figures show that free ATM machines have been closed at an unprecedented rate in the UK – of around 250 a month – since the beginning of 2018.
And, while there has been a decline in cash use, almost three-quarters of adults in the UK say they still need money at least two or three times a week.
Phil Hardy, 53, who owns Otters Tears Beer Company, claims he has been forced to use a bank in 20 miles away in Macclesfield since all of the town’s banks have closed.
24,000 WITHOUT CASH
He said: “The lack of physical cash has affected my business in more ways than one.
“When my card reader broke, and the card machines were out of order, I had a customer that had to wait a whole hour just to be able to pay for something because there was nowhere for them to get cash from.
“So if the card reader doesn’t work, then I don’t get the business.”
Shopper Janette Allen, 66, who lives in Burslem, added: “It’s just not fair. A lot of people like having money on them.”
Stoke-on-Trent city councillor Alan Dutton, who represents Burslem Central, echoed the disappointment of shoppers and traders, describing it as “absolute robbery”.
He said: “A lot of people use cash, and now that all the cash machines have disappeared, we are in a desperate situation.”
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Ruth Smeeth raised the issue in a Parliamentary debate last month.
Now that all the cash machines have disappeared we are in a desperate situation
Stoke-on-Trent city councillor Alan Dutton
She said: “As of this month, Burslem residents no longer have access to a free-to-use cash point. That is completely unacceptable for a town of some 20,000 people.
“Those on low incomes will be hit hardest by the need to pay for cash withdrawals, and data shows that new businesses struggle in areas where free access to cash is not available to the community.
“I have asked the Treasury minister to meet with me as a matter of urgency to see what can be done to reverse this situation and ensure that our ATM companies are meeting their obligations to provide free access to cash.”
Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We are pressing continuously the payment regulator and the LINK organisation which manages the ATM network to ensure a good supply of cash in all parts of the country.
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“We recently did a call for evidence at the Treasury to give greater consideration to how we can maintain that supply as we move to an increasingly
more cashless society and protect those who are vulnerable and harder to serve.”
Burslem, now part of Stoke-on-Trent, was once famed around the world for its pottery and each year thousands of tourists still visit the area that was home to the potter Josiah Wedgwood.
Its other famous residents include, Robbie Williams, who was a major shareholder in the local football team Port Vale, Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of Motörhead, and 16-time world darts champion, Phil Taylor who was born, raised and also worked in the town.
The only remaining ATM in the town centre charges for withdrawal. Pictured is the closed Natwest[/caption]
Most of the local cash machines charge between 95p and £3.50 for withdrawals. Pictured is the closed Nationwide[/caption]
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