Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Ged Killen has criticised the findings of a Which? report which show deprived areas throughout the UK are losing free cash machines at a much faster rate than affluent ones.
Which? analysis of data from Link, the UK’s biggest ATM network, shows one in 10 free cashpoints across the country closed or switched to fee-paying between January 2018 and May 2019, after major changes to how the network is funded.
The findings were revealed by the consumer charity on Wednesday, September 18.
In Rutherglen and Hamilton West, the number of free-to-use ATMs fell from 80 to 73 in the same time period. Of the seven, six switched to pay-to-use and one was closed.
This brought the number of pay-to-use ATMs from nine to 15.
The investigation from Which? found poorer communities have been hardest hit, with those most reliant on cash and who can least afford to pay for withdrawals facing charges or being forced to travel to access their own money for free.
Overall, Which? found that the most deprived areas across the UK saw a reduction of 979 free-to-use machines – equivalent to six per cent of their ATM network.
But the least deprived areas lost just 223 free cashpoints – equivalent to four per cent of their network of machines.
As a whole, Scotland dropped from 5,381 free-to-use cash machines in January 2018 to 4,819 in May 2019, a reduction of 10.4 per cent.
Ged said: “These figures prove beyond doubt what many of us have been saying for years – that the most deprived communities are disproportionally impacted when it comes to accessing their own cash.
“It is about time that the Government got a grip on this crisis before it is too late. High streets the length and breadth of the country are on their knees and a loss of over 10% of free to use cash machines in Scotland in the past year will do nothing but exacerbate that.
“This research from Which? comes in the same week it was revealed that an ATM has been installed in Buckingham Palace. Any system that means that people struggle to get access to a cash point on their local high street while the Queen has one in her house is clearly broken.
“No one should ever have to pay to access their own money. A UK Labour Government will ban ATM charges to ensure that no one does.”