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Chancellor to protect UK’s access to cash

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The new Chancellor is set to protect the UK’s access to cash as part of his first Budget this week.

Rishi Sunak is expected to announce new measures in this week’s Budget to protect access to cash as bank branches and free-to-use ATMs disappear from the high street.

Millions of people still rely on a cash network to pay for goods and services, and the measures will help the vulnerable as well as local communities.

Sunak said: “People across Britain work hard for their money, with millions relying on coins and notes to make their daily payments.

“That’s why, at the Budget, I’ll be making sure they can continue to access and spend their earnings in whatever way they want.”

The Treasury will begin talks with industry and regulators – including the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator – immediately after the Budget.

Anabel Hoult, chief executive of Which?, said: “Which? urged the chancellor to protect cash in this Budget, so we are delighted that he has listened to consumers and is ready to legislate to help millions of people who have been hit hard by bank branch and cash machine closures.

“We know that the cash system faces irreversible damage within the next two years, so we look forward to working with the government, regulators and industry to ensure this commitment is swiftly turned into action that protects cash for as long as it is needed.”

Which? analysis found that cashpoints closed at a rate of 578 machines a month in the first half of 2019.

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