Use of Cash

Thank you to those constituents who have expressed concerns about the use of cash.

I have spoken with colleagues at the Treasury who assure me that in these difficult times they have by no means forgotten that cash remains extremely important, and in many cases a necessity, in the daily lives of millions of people around the country. I understand that ministers remain closely engaged with financial regulators during this time to monitor and assess risks around cash acceptance and access resulting from COVID-19. This includes working closely with industry to ensure that good practice in this regard.

The Treasury is committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and I welcome that a Call for Evidence was published in October 2020 which sought views on the key considerations and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Call for Evidence has now closed and on the basis of responses a consultation has now been launched as the next step in legislating to protect access to cash and ensuring the sustainability of the UK’s cash infrastructure. The Access to Cash consultation sets out proposals to further legislation, and I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the consultation.

Although schemes such as Community Access to Cash have been very successful, I hope that future legislation will ensure the needs of cash users are understood and continue to be met by industry, including large and small retailers.

Recent legislation has included the Financial Services Act 2021 which facilitated the wide-spread adoption of cashback without a purchase. This legislation was drawn up with the engagement of not only the Payment Systems Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority, and Bank of England but also stakeholders across industry.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.