100 requests in a month for ATMs to provide oasis in ‘cash deserts’
‘Alarming rate of closures across UK’
RURAL communities have made more than 100 requests for ATM machines in the past month.
Link, which oversees the UK’s network of cash machines, launched a £1million fund to pay for ATMs in so-called ‘cash deserts’ at the beginning of the month.
Criteria for successful bids include lack of a nearby cash machine and limited Post Office access.
Sixteen requests have come from Scotland, where applications have been submitted by places including Cullen in Moray and Durness in Sutherland.
Link has announced that Durness is now to receive a new free-to-use ATM as part of the scheme.
Campaigners have raised concerns about the falling number of cash machines in Scotland in recent years.
One report found that an average of eight ATMs are disappearing from high streets every week.
The research, published earlier this year by consumer group Which?, revealed that 562 cash points vanished during a 17-month period between January 2018 and May this year.
It said deprived communities were likely to be hit hardest.
It also found 54 out of 59 constituencies in Scotland saw a decline in ATMs, with Glasgow Central losing 22 over the 17month period. This was followed by Edinburgh North and Leith, Glasgow North and Glasgow North West.
Some of the areas which fare worst include the village of Tighnabruaich in Argyll and Kinlochbervie, Sutherland.
The report revealed that the nearest free-to-use cash point for locals in Tighnabriuaich is 22 miles away.
Meanwhile, residents in Kinlochbervie are forced to travel 30 minutes by car for a free cash machine.
Link boss John Howells said: ‘We want to hear from more communities that think they have an issue. Where there is a problem, Link will take action.’
Jenny Ross of consumer group Which? said the scheme was a ‘positive step’ which could help combat the ‘alarming rate of bank branch and cashpoint closures across the UK’.