UK budget to introduce new laws to protect consumer access to cash

The UK is set to introduce new legislation to ensure customer access to cash, under measures to be outlined in this weeks Budget statement.

The closure of multiple ATMs and bank branches across the UK has raised fears that the access to cash system is on the verge of collapse.

Consumer group Which? has called on the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to step in with new laws guaranteeing cash access for small communities in the forthcoming Budget.

Under the plans, which will be revealed in full on Tuesday, the Treasury is expected to start talks with the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Payment Systems Regulator about legislation immediately after the budget.

It is expected that financial watchdogs will be given the power to force banks to make cash available to people who still rely on it in a bid to stem the tide of closures.

A number of initiative are already underway to preserve the circulation of cash in small communities, including measures by Visa and Mastercard to extend cashback schemes to more high street stores, and the introduction of a £1 million fund established by ATM network Link from which cash-starved communities can draw in order to install a free cash machine.