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U.K. Post Office Launches “Save Our Cash” Campaign

Categories : Cash facilitates budgetary control, Cash is a public good, Cash is available to all users, Cash is the first step of financial inclusion, Uncategorized
July 12, 2021
Published in : Access to cash, Post Office, Regulators, UK
The British Post Office is launching a campaign calling on the government to introduce legislation to ensure that access to cash becomes a right, requiring banks to ensure continued local access for those who need it.
Guillaume Lepecq

Chair, CashEssentials

“Around eight million adults have said they would struggle day to day without cash, with 1.4 million people not having a bank account and relying on cash to survive. 55% of cash-accepting small businesses deposited cash at least weekly, meaning they need somewhere convenient and secure to deposit their takings,” says the U.K. Post Office.

Yet access to cash is rapidly declining, with widespread bank branch closures across the country. 4,000 bank branches have closed since the start of 2015, at a rate of 55 per month, and it is estimated there will be just 4,100 bank branches left in the U.K. by 2025.

The U.K. Post Office has launched a “Save Our Cash” campaign that highlights the numerous ways cash helps people and businesses every day – helping them with household budgeting, feeling safe, doing business, and keeping communities thriving. It emphasises why the U.K. must now place a legal obligation on banks to provide access to cash free at the point-of-service for both consumers and businesses.

Cash Constitutes an Escape Fund from Abusive Relationships

The campaign hub – www.saveourcash.co.uk – features case studies from Matt, Delanie, Bjorn, Jane, Stefan, and Sam, who all embody and emphasize why cash is important, sharing their authentic, real stories aligned to six themes: saving, self, service, sustainability, survival, and safety.

Jane’s story is particularly moving as she explains how cash has enabled her to set up an escape fund to flee an abusive relationship.

The hub also encourages people to get involved by taking a quiz to understand how cash impacts them and loved ones and writing to their local MP to call on the government to bring forward legislation.

Moreover, the campaign will help engage key policymakers to drive action and help secure a commitment from banks.

The Banking Framework

The Banking Framework agreement with 30 U.K. banks, building societies, and credit unions ensures millions of customers have national, free access to cash and vital banking services over the counter from their local Post Office. Despite this, the short-term nature of the Framework, which lasts just three years, fails to provide certainty to the millions of people and businesses that rely on it, with no guarantee that it will exist if the banks do not commit to a long-term agreement.

On average, over £2 billion of cash is withdrawn and deposited per month at Post Office branches. Annual volumes of cash withdrawals over the Post Office counters have grown by 46%, to £7.8 billion since the start of the Banking Framework in 2017, and cash deposits have increased by 110% to £22.1 billion in the same period.

 “Continued access to cash is not a luxury for millions of people and businesses across the country: it is an absolute necessity for their way of life. For them cash provides safety, security and even survival, which is why legislation is now needed to place an obligation on the banks, whose own customers’ interests we are concerned with. Working in partnership with the banks is pivotal to building a secure and sustainable cash system and ensuring financial inclusion. But the current cash infrastructure is fragile, and we need the industry to fully commit to meeting its service obligations, supported by appropriate legislation that ultimately ensures we Save Our Cash.” – Nick Read, Chief Executive of the Post Office.

Save Our Cash Day

The campaign announced that on Friday, July 9, ‘ Save Our Cash Day’ was celebrated in communities across the country today to raise awareness of the issues faced by those who struggle to survive without cash.

Save Our Cash Day aims to bring to life – and to the nation’s attention – that cash must be protected. The campaign calls on as many people as possible to write to their MP to support policies and legislation that protect cash and place an obligation on the banks to guarantee access to cash across the U.K.

A Universal Service Obligation for Cash

On 26 June, Age UK, the leading charity dedicated to the over-60s, warned that millions of UK citizens are being cut off from cash and banking services. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director, said: “It’s time for the government to recognise how important banknotes and coins are to all our lives and treat the cash system as the essential piece of infrastructure it is – just like utilities, post and broadband.”

The charity is calling on the government to introduce a Universal Service Obligation for Cash. Universal service obligations (USOs) already exist for essential services, including water, electricity, post, and, more recently, broadband. 

 

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