Rishi Sunak’s government said UK banks could face fines if they don’t preserve easy and free access to cash, a move designed to help people in rural areas, the elderly and the disabled.
(Bloomberg) — Rishi Sunak’s government said UK banks could face fines if they don’t preserve easy and free access to cash, a move designed to help people in rural areas, the elderly and the disabled.
The Financial Conduct Authority has been given new powers to ensure banks maintain cash access without fees, the Treasury said in a statement late Thursday. It said the “vast majority” of people and businesses should be no further than three miles (4.8 kilometers) away from being able to obtain cash.
“People shouldn’t have to trek for hours to withdraw a tenner to put in someone’s birthday card,” City Minister Andrew Griffith said in the statement. “Nor should businesses have to travel large distances to deposit cash takings.”
The measure is meant to ensure that if a bank wants to withdraw cash services in an area, a replacement service must be in place before the closure takes place, the government said. The FCA will have the power to fine banks and building societies that don’t adhere to the access rules, it said.
It’s the latest example of Sunak’s governing Conservative Party taking action on an issue that resonates with its core voter base, many of whom are older and live in the countryside.
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