ATMs are vital in rural communities

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Consumer watchdog Which? has published new research which reveals the difficulty in accessing cash in many parts of Scotland.

Borders MP John Lamont highlighted the link between closure of bank branches and the loss of ATMs in the region, adding that many communities now depend on a single cash machine, or have none at all. Berwickshire communities with a single ATM include Chirnside and Cockburnspath.

Mr Lamont supports a call for the UK Government to protect access to cash and he has written to the Payment Systems Regulator urging them to enforce current rules to prevent rural ATMs closing.

“We’ve lost far too many ATMs in the Borders as a result of bank branch closures, so we know exactly the effect this can have on high streets and local businesses,” said Mr Lamont.

“The loss of an ATM just encourages locals to do their shopping elsewhere and puts visitors off. In Coldstream some businesses suffered a 20% fall in sales when they lost their cash machine and I don’t want to same to happen to other communities in the Borders.

“I have already written to the Payment Systems Regulator to urge them to strictly enforce the current rules which are meant to prevent rural ATMs closing. This trend needs to reverse before serious harm is done to our rural towns.”

Which? Money managing director Jenni Allen, said: “We have serious concerns that the alarming rate of cashpoint and bank branch closures risks leaving people in Scotland facing an uphill battle to access the cash they rely on.”

“The UK government must appoint a regulator to oversee these changes and ensure no-one is excluded and left struggling to go about their daily lives.”