Julian raises concerns of carers and disability groups in parliament
June 8, 2022
At Women’s and Equalities Questions today, Julian raised concerns about businesses no longer accepting cash and how this excludes elderly customers as well as carers who are often given their client’s money to spend in cash.
Many businesses at the start of the covid-19 pandemic opted to go cashless due to fears than handling money could contribute to transmission of the virus. In response to the dramatic drop in use of cash, the Bank of England did commission a study which concluded that interactions involving cash offer a very low risk and did not significantly increase transmission compared to the same interaction using contactless card.
While the virus has thankfully abated, many businesses have not returned to accepting cash.
In response to Julian’s question, Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister for Equalities, stated:
“My hon. Friend is right to raise that issue. We do understand how difficult the trend away from cash and towards cards and digital payments can be. I have seen that in my own constituency with repeated closures of rural bank branches, which force vulnerable customers into more difficult situations, so I thank him for raising it. The ability to transact cash remains important to millions of people. We cannot force the rural branches to remain open, but we will legislate to protect access to cash. The Government plan to introduce legislation in the Financial Services and Markets Bill to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives, but he will be pleased to know that it will also help local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring access to deposit facilities.”
After leaving the House of Commons, Julian said:
“While I understand the ease of going cashless for businesses, it is also important to ensure an entire demographic of customers are not excluded.
The Government had already announced legislation to protect access to cash, which is especially important in York Outer with banks having closed in Heslington and Haby in recent years, but it was also welcome to learn that the Government are working on legislation that aims to remove as many barriers to businesses accepting cash.
Disability groups, elderly constituents as well as carers have been in contact with me and it was important for their concerns to be heard in Parliament. I will continue to follow this matter up with the Minister to ensure the Government delivers the promised protections”