300,000 poor people ‘paying to use cash machines’

More than 300,000 of Britain's poorest people live at least one kilometre from a free-to-use cash machine, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper. Figures obtained by the paper from the Link network, the body responsible for running the network of cash machines (ATMs), show there are 269 low-income areas lacking a free machine within a one kilometre radius.

The data raises questions about whether people living in the most disadvantaged areas can obtain cash without paying a fee, according to the paper. 'Cash machine deserts' mean people face a fee ranging from 75p to £10 to retrieve their money via an ATM. The data shows that 150,000 of the most financially excluded people are in south Wales, and in the north-west and north-east of England.

Labour MP Frank Field, an adviser to the government on tackling poverty, said the figures showed it was 'time to take the gloves off with the industry, as soft reasoning has not worked'. He added: 'Getting the poor to pay for the privilege of taking out their own money is a grotesque practice, which should end immediately'.

SourceThe Guardian, 1 January 2014
LinksGuardian report | Daily Mail report | Telegraph report

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Publication date: 
Jan 1 2014