Bishop of St Albans asks about access to cash in rural areas

The Bishop of St Albans asked whether the government would ensure that any decision made about the use of cash as legal tender would take into account difficulties specific to rural areas, during a debate on the future acceptance of cash on 15th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, this is a problem that particularly affects rural areas, where there are far fewer cash-dispensing machines. Also, there are many parts of rural areas where there is no internet, so even if you want to pay by BACS or direct transfer, you just cannot do it. Will the Minister assure us that the Government will properly rural-proof this discussion so that we are able to ensure that rural areas can still function effectively?

Lord Harlech (Con): As someone who comes from a rural community, I know only too well the trials and tribulations of getting a good connection. The Government recognise that digital inclusion needs to be promoted alongside financial inclusion. That is why we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to digital infrastructure and the skills necessary to participate fully in society, and that very much includes rural areas. In 2021, the Government launched Project Gigabit, which committed a landmark £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit connectivity in the hardest-to-reach areas.


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