Massive 36% drop in free-to-use ATMS in Birmingham city centre ‘shocking’ – Birmingham MP speaks out

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Shabana Mahmood MP for Birmingham Ladywood has spoken out about the reduction of free-to-use ATMS in her constituency which covers the city centre

New data has revealed that Birmingham Ladywood constituency - which covers the city centre as well as Aston, Nechells and Soho - has 168 free-to-use ATMS - down 36% from 261 only five years ago.

The figures come as the Government u-turned this week on Lords Amendments protecting access to cash. The reduction is largely driven by the closure of banks and building societies. Cash transactions promote financial inclusion and are a lifeline for those without access to digital services. It is considered a blow to the elderly and other communities reliant on cash.

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Ministers acted after concerns were raised by campaigners about the closure of local bank branches and a decline in free cash machines amid the rising cost of living crisis.

Commenting on the figures, Shabana Mahmood MP said: “It’s shocking to see free-to-use ATMs slashed by a third in my constituency. “This reduction creates cash deserts in communities who depend most on non-digital payments for day-to-day spending.

“While I’m pleased to see the Government finally following Labour’s lead and pledging to protect access to cash in law – their last-minute change of heart doesn’t go far enough. Labour would empower the FCA to protect in-person banking services, ensuring no-one is cut off from the services they need.”

Only 3,300 UK cashpoints have ‘protected’ status and are guaranteed to remain free. But the number of other machines that don’t charge has been falling in recent years.

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Across the country a quarter of free hole-in-the-wall machines have disappeared since January 2018. The decline in ATMs comes despite cash withdrawals rising last year for the first time in a decade. Experts suggest increasing numbers of people are returning to cash to cope with the cost of living.

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