- Communities across the UK to trial new ways of improving access to cash and going digital
- Pilot initiative led by Natalie Ceeney, Chair of the Access to Cash Review
- Findings will be published in early 2021
The Community Access to Cash Pilot (CACP) initiative has today announced eight locations across the UK that will be participating in trials to help address challenges of improving cash access and acceptance.
Following applications from across the UK, the successful communities will be working with the banking industry to identify sustainable solutions to keeping cash viable for individuals and businesses. This will include supporting local businesses to accept and bank cash, ensuring that individuals can access cash, working with local councils to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place, education and support on digital inclusion, and working with new and existing financial services providers to create innovative solutions to meet needs.
CACP is chaired by Natalie Ceeney, the author of the Access to Cash Review and brings together the resources and expertise of the financial services industry with those of the Access to Review panel. The panel will also work closely with a wide range of consumer groups and charities to bring in depth expertise to help support the work.
The list of successful communities includes:
- Ampthill (Bedforshire)
- Burslem (Staffordshire)
- Botton Village (North Yorkshire)
- Cambuslang (South Lanarkshire, Scotland)
- Denny (Falkirk, Scotland)
- Hay on Wye (Powys, Wales)
- Lulworth (Dorset)
- Rochford (Essex)
These sites were chosen based on the location, the issues the communities faced, the strength of their submission and commitment to the pilot. A small number of further sites will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Over the coming months we will engage with the local leaders of these communities to fully understand the needs and challenges the local consumers and retailers face around cash. We will then explore a wide range of workable solutions with the support of the banks and consumer bodies to not only deliver these solutions, but ensure that everyone in the local community knows how to access them and has the means to do so. The next steps will be to evaluate the success of the pilot communities, to ensure they are sustainable and scalable, which will allow us to recommend solutions which can be adopted on a national basis. The UK government has already committed to introduce legislation to support the cash infrastructure, so our aim is that these pilots can inform longer term government action, as well as support local communities right now.
The pilot follows the recent report from UK Finance showing cash use now represents less than one-quarter (23%) of all payments in the UK, a fifteen percent drop year-on year. These numbers were taken before the Coronavirus Crisis with LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, showing a 60% year-on-year fall in volumes during the early part of the lockdown.
Natalie Ceeney, Chair, Community Access to Cash Pilot: “Over the past decade we’ve seen a massive shift from cash to digital payments, and Covid-19 has accelerated that trend further. But we know that digital payments don’t yet work for everyone, and for many individuals and communities, cash remains essential. But the world is changing – we can’t just magic back our old bank branch and ATM infrastructure. Instead, we need to use innovation to develop new solutions as well as harness tried and tested approaches to meet people’s needs.
“We’ve selected communities which all have a cash need, but which face different challenges. Some locations may need an ATM or a place for retailers to deposit cash locally, others may look for a shared bank branch or a means to improve digital skills. Our aim is both to support communities right now, and also to learn lessons for sustainable solutions which can be used more widely across the UK, particularly as the government considers legislation to support the cash infrastructure”.
John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister: “Digital payments have brought huge benefits, but we know that cash remains important to many people’s lives. So I welcome today’s announcement of the locations of the pilots, which will help inform the most effective ways of protecting access to cash at the local level, at a time when our communities mean more to us than ever. I look forward to seeing the progress made by the pilots, as the Government develops legislation to protect access to cash, and would like to thank Natalie Ceeney CBE for her work on this important issue.”