UK Treasury Makes Cash Commitments
The UK Treasury has published the results of a consultation responding to the introduction of new laws to improve access to cash announced in the Queen’s Speech, setting out the government’s plans to support and regulate retail cash access.
In 2021, the UK Treasury asked stakeholders for their submissions to a public consultation around access to cash in the UK. Cash Matters contributed to this and welcomes the resulting Access to Cash Consultation Response.
The publication highlights existing legislation—such as that enabling widespread adoption of cashback without a purchase—and future plans including the designation of firms that will be responsible for ensuring continued cash access across the nation, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) acting as lead regulator. The Bank of England will also be given ‘the powers necessary to ensure the UK’s wholesale cash infrastructure remains effective, resilient and sustainable’.
The intention is to ‘level up’ plans to address ‘spatial disparities in access to cash’, referencing findings from studies including the FCA’s assessment of geographical cash access coverage across the UK, which concluded that while 95.7 percent of people live within two kilometres of a facility offering cash withdrawals, gaps in coverage remain in rural areas, with access to deposits and wider banking facilities especially limited at present.
The new laws are timely given increasing numbers of people are turning to cash to help them weather the cost-of-living crisis. A recent survey by Money.co.uk showed around 42 percent of Brits prefer cash to help them keep track of their spending while 40 percent say using cash for the food shop enables them to spend less and stay within their budget. 65 percent of people reported spending more when using cards and finding it hard to manage their outgoings.