Portsmouth area loses 45 cash machines in two years
More than 40 cash machines have been removed from Portsmouth and the surrounding area in the last two years, as part of a ‘very worrying’ trend for pensioners.
According to cash machine network Link, Portsmouth has seen 15 machines removed since 2017, a reduction of five per cent.
Fareham has lost 10, a reduction of six per cent.
Hardest hit is Havant, experiencing a 12 per cent reduction, with the area losing 20 ATMs.
Gosport has gained two free-to-use cash machines since September last year.
The Chairman of Portsmouth Pensioner’s Association, Alan Burnett, said the loss of cash machines risked ‘further isolating a sizeable minority’ of older people.
He said: ‘This is a very worrying statistic – it’s very regrettable. Many older people – including myself – rely on cash.
‘It’s part of quite a few challenges older people now face, including post office closures and possible changes to entitlements.’
‘There are more than one in five older people living below the poverty line in the area.’
The impact on people’s access to local services was underscored by the executive chairman at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Ross McNally, who said the removals would be ‘damaging’ to businesses.
He said: ‘The loss of cash machines across Portsmouth and indeed throughout the UK is both damaging to trade and affects access to local services.
‘Cash machines are a utility supporting local communities and as such there should be a sensible public service aspect to their provision.
‘I know banks appreciate the importance of this issue and we support them in addressing this important need.’
The data has been revealed as Natalie Ceeney, the chair of a Bank of England’s Access to Cash Review, said the UK cash network is ‘falling apart.’
She said: ‘ATM and bank branch closures are just the tip of the iceberg - underneath there is a huge infrastructure which is becoming increasingly unviable as cash use declines.’
The review, published in March, found that around 8 million people across the UK were still reliant on cash and would struggle to cope in an entirely digital economy.
These included people in rural communities, those on a low income who may struggle to budget without cash, and older people.