Free-to-use cash machines and bank branches must be maintained to ensure that vulnerable Brits do not fall behind, warns a new financial inclusion report.
The Treasury Select Committee insists that preserving a branch network is a “key step” to maintaining inclusion with both the elderly and those on low incomes still reliant on them due to a lack of digital access.
They have been the hardest hit by the 13,000 branches shuttered since 1988 while IT system failures also show the need for a high-street presence, according to the report.
MPs warned that banks have been ushering customers towards the Post Office for basic banking services with the taxpayer picking up the tab for the loss-making service. The Committee stressed that Post Offices “should not be seen as a replacement for branches” but recommended that banks should be required to set up and fund ‘banking hubs’ in the local Post Office when all branches have been closed in the area.
Shame to be stood down from @bbc5live interview on this report on financial inclusion because the ‘editor thinks it will look odd to have an MP on who isn’t talking about Brexit or leadership’ – seriously? We can talk about other things! https://t.co/xViIo3WxJ7
— Nicky Morgan MP (@NickyMorgan01) May 13, 2019
Similarly, free-to-use ATMs are also disappearing at a fast rate – 300 being lost every month according to Which? – and the report warns that “failure from the Government to intervene risks the UK inadvertently becoming a cashless society”. The solution from the Committee is for the government to act on the Access to Cash Review’s recommendations urgently.