100 re­quests in a month for ATMs to pro­vide oa­sis in ‘cash deserts’

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Grenfell Inquiry - By Sami Quadri

‘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’.

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