7 constituencies left without a bank as a consumer group Which? warns last chance to save money

Revealed: Areas left with NO banks as consumer group warns half of all branches have closed since 2015 and millions could lose easy access to their own money

  • There are 4,685 fewer bank branches than in 2015 and 12,178 free ATMs than in 2018
  • Seven parliamentary constituencies found themselves without banks, which ones? mentioned
  • Consumer group concerned about impact on around five million cash users

Britain has one last chance to save the cash economy, consumer champions warned yesterday.

They said millions of people would lose easy access to their own money without urgent government action.

Nearly half of bank branches have closed since 2015 and one in four ATMs have disappeared since 2018, according to a study by Which?

Jenny Ross, editor of Which? Money said: “While many consumers have embraced digital banking, there are still millions, including the elderly, vulnerable and isolated, who are not yet ready or willing to make this switch – and they must be protected.

“Our research highlights the devastating impact that widespread bank branch and ATM closures have had on communities. With just two weeks to go until the Queen’s Speech, now really is the time to end the cash crunch.

Britain has one last chance to save the cash economy, consumer champions warned yesterday. They said millions of people would lose easy access to their own money without urgent government action (image of a woman at an ATM)

The situation is now so bad that seven parliamentary constituencies have been left bankless, including Bradford South, Erith and Thamesmead and Sheffield Hallam.  Pictured: A branch of Lloyds Bank

The situation is now so bad that seven parliamentary constituencies have been left bankless, including Bradford South, Erith and Thamesmead and Sheffield Hallam. Pictured: A branch of Lloyds Bank

Which ?  the research identified 17 additional constituencies, representing more than 1.5 million people, that have particularly difficult access to cash.  Pictured: A shop in Lechlade in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Which ? the research identified 17 additional constituencies, representing more than 1.5 million people, that have particularly difficult access to cash. Pictured: A shop in Lechlade in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Up to five million people, especially the elderly, are believed to continue to rely on cash to help them budget, especially amid the cost of living crisis.

Who? found that there were 4,685 fewer bank branches than in 2015 and 12,178 free ATMs than in 2018.

The situation is now so bad that seven parliamentary constituencies have been left bankless, including Bradford South, Erith and Thamesmead and Sheffield Hallam.

The research identified 17 additional constituencies, representing more than 1.5 million people, that have particularly difficult access to cash.

The consumer group said: ‘These range from rural areas where the uneven public transport system compounds the problem of diminished access to cash for an older than average population, to relatively deprived urban areas where residents struggling with the cost of living crisis might need to use cash for day-to-day budgeting.

Banks have made voluntary efforts to help customers, for example by supporting the establishment of shared banking hubs.

However, which one? said that was not enough to fill the gaps. He called for legislation to be announced in next month’s Queen’s Speech to avert the collapse of the monetary infrastructure.

Martin McTague of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “With our bank branch infrastructure still decimated by the pandemic, this Queen’s Speech is the last chance show for access to cash. .”

“Four in ten small businesses say cash is the number one payment method among customers, and six in ten need to make regular cash deposits.” Banknotes and coins are still important to the lives of millions of consumers, including people with disabilities.

Big banks insist the closures reflect customers preferring to manage their finances online and through phone apps.

Trade body UK Finance said the industry would ensure “there is continued access to money for those who need it, when they need it”.

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