The NPC is backing GMB's campaign - Save Our Cash Lifeline.
Older, vulnerable people are already in difficulty trying to pay for goods in cash.
It will only get worse unless the government makes a commitment to keeping banks, ATM's in communities and cash remains a choice for those who need it.
We would encourage everyone to sign the petition, including family and friends.
You can find out more and sign the petition on:
The Government needs to act now
GMB have consistently warned against sleepwalking into a cashless society which will not only cost thousands of jobs, with banks closing branches and ATMs at an alarming rate, but will also affect the lives of those who rely on cash in everyday life.
As cash use went down tremendously during the Covid crisis, elderly and vulnerable people have been left with no way to pay for essential products and services. They and their carers have been refused by shops of trying to pay with cash while retail workers have lost their jobs for accepting cash payments.
A recent Which? survey showed that of those people who shopped in person 22% experienced problems paying for their goods. Many were refused the option to pay in cash and 162 people were unable to complete their purchases due to no other means.
GMB members make up much of the workforce in the cash industry including those in cash in transit that ensure the country’s ATMs, our retailers and businesses have cash in their systems. Workers in cash in transit are facing redundancies on a scale not seen before with over 1000 job losses announced in G4S and 300 in Loomis. Losing the workforce in these numbers means less people working on maintaining your local ATM or retailers till.
Is cash safe?
The World Health Organisation official advice recommends handwashing when coming into contact with various surfaces – that is not specific to cash. Banknotes are often less exposed to germs as they are protected by a wallet, pocket or other closed container.
Covid-19 ‘s main transmission is done through droplets from either a cough or sneeze, and the experts at the German public health institute (Robert-Koch Institute) clearly communicates that the handling of banknotes poses NO particular risk of contracting Coronavirus.
But isn’t a cashless society inevitable?
No. Sweden have already moved to a 90% cashless society with devastating results for the most vulnerable in their society. The Swedish government are now rebuilding the cash network at huge cost in an attempt to undo the damage caused to their economy.
The GMB letter to the Chancellor
We need the Government now to bring forward the legislation promised in the March 2020 Budget to protect the cash industry and make new guarantees for access to cash which is a lifeline for so many people who would struggle if the UK becomes a cashless society.
The cash industry has been hit hard as the number of cash withdrawals halved during the covid crisis. However this is a crisis long in the making, with figures from Which? in February this year showing that 1,200 bank branches and 9,500 free to use ATMs have been lost since 2018.
The industry is now on a knife-edge. GMB Union represents workers in the cash industry and is currently in redundancy consultations with cash-in-transit companies G4S, where 1,150 jobs are at risk from restructuring plans, and Loomis who have announced 300 redundancies. The Government needs to bring its legislation forward to protect the country's cash infrastructure before its too late.
This legislation needs to include new guarantees so that cash users are protected. We need:
- The legal right to pay for goods and services in cash especially essential goods and services.
- Free access to cash by ensuring free-to-use ATMs and bank branches are available for everyone within a reasonable geographic distance.
- Ensure the availability of “cash back” from medium and large retailers.
Please ensure the Government keeps its promise and does more to back this vital industry and lifeline for so many people.