Greater London Authority Conservatives, an organization featuring Conservative members of the London Assembly, has published Cash for Access: Expanding the availability of new cash machines. The report calls for the inclusion of fee-free cash machines in all new major developments across London.
The group also calls for free-to-use cash machines to be installed in public buildings and Transport for London stations to help improve access.
The GLA Conservatives note in the report that more than 40 bank branches have closed across London over the past two years, making access to free cash withdrawals more difficult.
According to the report, many Londoners now live more than a kilometer (0.62 miles) from a free cash machine and, due to mobility issues, are required to pay for withdrawals.
On average, account holders pay 1.75 pounds ($2.18) per withdrawal, but fees can sometimes be as high as 5 or 10 pounds, the report said.
The organization is advocating the classification of cash machines as “social infrastructure,” as an acknowledgement that the lack of access disproportionately affects low-income groups, the disabled and the elderly, said Shaun Bailey, a London Assembly Member and author of the report:
Contactless and online payment technology may be the future, but there are still many Londoners who rely on cash to get by.
With bank branches closing and fee-charging machines becoming the norm, it is no surprise Londoners are spending 18 million pounds ($22.45 million) on cash withdrawals.
The mayor needs to ensure new developments have access to free cash, and encourage public buildings to include free cash machines.”
The report, “Cash for Access – Expanding the availability of free cash machines,” is available at www.glaconservatives.co.uk/cfa/