As per plans laid by Chancellor Philip Hammond, a new group chaired by the Treasury lays out a strategy to support nationwide cash access in order to help safeguard physical money. The announcement was being made during the Verdict of the Pyx ceremony in London, as a part of a longstanding coin-checking custom, dating back to the 12th century. Mr Hammond also reiterated that there will be no changes to the mix of coins and notes. This means that coins of 1p and 2p and also the £50 note will stay in circulation. It was previously speculated that the Treasury may discard 1p and 2p coins.
Strong concerns were raised over the past year at the issue that people were losing easy access to cash in banks and due to ATM closures. Reports suggest, that about 2.2 million people are almost entirely reliant on cash in their daily lives. The scrape of the denominations will be felt the hardest by the elderly, vulnerable and by the rural communities. In a statement by a treasury spokesperson, it was mentioned that plans will complement to support digital payment methods which continue to revolutionize and to expand the ways people manage their money. A research survey found out that per withdrawal a fee of at least 95p was imposed on nearly 1,700 ATMs between January and March.
Mr Hammond said: ‘Technology has transformed banking for millions of people, making it easier and quicker to carry out financial transactions and pay for services.But it’s also clear that many people still rely on cash and I want the public to have choice over how they spend their money. I’m also setting up a group which brings together the Treasury, Bank of England and the regulators to safeguard the future of cash and ensure its availability for years to come.”
Natalie Ceeney, chairwoman of the Access to Cash review, described in a statement that the cash system was ‘on the verge of collapse.’ She said: “Cash use is falling rapidly, but digital payments don’t yet work for everyone. We need to safeguard the use of cash for those who need it, and at the same time work hard to ensure that everyone can participate in the digital economy. If we sleepwalk into a cashless society, millions of people will be left behind.”