Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire and Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC), today made a statement in Westminster Hall about access to cash in Scotland, following the publication of the SAC’S second report on the issue.
Commenting, Mr Wishart said:
“The Scottish Affairs Committee recently published our report on access to cash in Scotland, which I know is an issue affecting many residents in rural areas of my constituency.
“Access to cash across Scotland has been decimated in recent years, with 53% of bank branches closing since 2015. This is the highest rate of closures anywhere in the UK.
“This was exacerbated by the pandemic. For most of us in lockdown, our spending became almost entirely digital. And even as the economy opened back up, retailers encouraged customers not to use cash to minimise Covid risk.
“And for many of us, recent digital banking innovations have been great, allowing us to do banking more smoothly and quickly. But we simply cannot forget about the estimated 500,00 people in Scotland who rely on cash in their day-to-day lives due to difficulties adapting to digital payments or for budgeting purposes.
Mr Wishart continued:
“In the report, we urge for the UK government to take urgent action on this matter. I welcome the UK government’s plan to introduce a Financial Services and Markets Bill, which includes added protections on added to cash.
“But this bill must now be considered as a matter of priority in order to prevent more closures from further isolating rural communities.”