The new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a new law to protect the use of cash.
Ahead of the Budget this week, Sunak has told press that those who rely on cash will always be able to access it, thanks to new measures which will ensure cash machines stay open.
“People across Britain work hard for their money, with millions relying on coins and notes to make their daily payments,” said Sunak, speaking to The Sun last week.
“That’s why, at next week’s Budget, I’ll be making sure they can continue to access and spend their earnings in whatever way they want.”
Debit cards overtook cash as the most common payment method in the UK in 2017, and its usage is forecast to fall to only 9 per cent of transactions by 2028.
However, elderly people and those living in rural communities still rely on access to cash.
“The banking and finance industry recognises the importance of ensuring cash remains free and widely available in an increasingly digital society, and we look forward to engaging with the government and regulators on the proposed legislation,” says UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones.
“As acknowledged by the Treasury, the industry has already introduced a number of measures to secure free access to cash, including providing banking services via local post offices and protecting free-to-use ATMs in more rural and remote areas.”
“However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and understanding the needs of local communities is critical. That is why UK Finance supports the new Community Access to Cash Pilots initiative which aims to help local communities develop and support access to cash solutions which work for them,” Jones added.
Retailers including Sainsbury’s and Tesco have been experimenting with the a shift to cashless and cashier-less stores for some time while analysts predict that cash will account for just one in 10 payments by 2030.