With bank and post office branches closing, there is a growing threat to local independent shops if residents can’t access their cash without a charge. Local Royton councillors have joined MP Jim McMahon in calling for fees at cash machines in the area to be scrapped, to ensure shops can compete with larger chains. At a debate in Westminster, Jim said:
“Cash machines around the UK are now closing at a rate of 300 a month, and there are over 3,000 communities in Britain that no longer have a single bank branch, especially in smaller towns
“Our local businesses are at serious risk if we cannot access the cash to put into our local economies. Losing branches, cash machines and having charges put onto ATM’s is reducing customer choice, forcing local people to shop at chains where they will always accept card.
“It will kill local independent shops and markets not just across Oldham, but country wide. This cannot be allowed to continue.”
Recently charges have been introduced at an ATM placed at a local convenience store in Royton town centre. Jim said:
“There was an agreement in place between Yorkshire Bank in Royton and a local convenience store to move the ATM into the store, with access to cash to be free. However, just a year into this agreement we have seen a charge implemented and enforced for anyone using the machine.
“These agreements are banks taking advantage of a local community that has no other choice. A formal review of ATM charges should take place, with a view to reforming them or abolishing charges altogether.
“Local councillors and I are working together, particularly in Royton, to tackle these unjust charges on our own money.
“These reforms would be a welcome change for many Oldhamers and much of our local businesses as we should have access to our own cash, for free.”