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MP for Gordon Richard Thomson visits newly reopened Bucksburn Post Office

By Kirsty Brown

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MP for the Gordon constituency Richard Thomson has pledged his support for the Post Office’s Save Our Cash campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the issues caused by the rapid rate cash is declining on our high streets and in our communities.

Eight million people have said they would struggle to survive without cash.

The Save Our Cash campaign is being held in communities across the country to raise awareness of the issues faced by the more than eight million people who say they would struggle to survive without cash.

New research from YouGov for the Post Office has shown that 72 percent of consumers believe that cash is an important consumer right.

The majority (57 percent) are concerned about bank branch closures, with a third saying that they are personally affected by them.

More than half (52 percent) agree that cash provides them with a sense of safety and security, and over a third (38 percent) say that without cash they would feel excluded or that there would be things that they could not do.

The Save Our Cash campaign comes at a time when accessing cash is becoming increasingly difficult.

According to Which? research, 4,188 bank branches in the UK have closed since the start of 2015, a rate of approximately 50 per month.

More than 500 more are earmarked for closure in 2021.

As part of the Save Our Cash campaign, Richard Thomson visited Bucksburn Postmaster Sal Ahmad to speak about the cash services Post Office provides for local businesses and some of the most vulnerable people in Gordon Constituency.

As part of the campaign, Mr Thomson will be backing calls for legislation that will protect cash for the long term and place an obligation to guarantee access to cash in communities across the country, free at the point of service and to the penny for both consumers and businesses.

He also called on people to join the campaign and speak to their Postmaster about cash services so people are working together to ensure no-one is left behind.

Further information can be found at www.saveourcash.co.uk where real people reliant on cash have shared their stories about how cash plays such a pivotal role in their lives.

Save Our Cash.
Save Our Cash.

Commenting after his visit to Bucksburn Post Office, Richard Thomson said: “Often we hear the disheartening news of Post Offices closing but here we have the opposite – the Ahmad family have seen the gap here and, after years of success running Berryden and other Post Offices, they’re offering the community vital services.

“There’s no doubt that even before the pandemic, more and more people were making use of payment options other than cash.

"In itself, that is not a problem so long as the big banks and other institutions recognise that, for some people, electronic payments are not an option and they rely on being able to both access cash and make purchases in cash.

“However, increasingly we are seeing free-to-use cash machines being removed when the banks close branches.

"Restricting access to cash in this way is not acceptable and local Post Offices provide a vital service in letting people have access to cash when the banks have all but given up on rural Aberdeenshire.

“So I have no hesitation in supporting the Post Office’s campaign and it was informative to speak to Sal Ahmad about just how important her newly-re-opened Post Office is to the community in Bucksburn.”

Postmaster Sal Ahmad said: “We have a great number of customers who come in that are unaware of the various options that the Post Office can offer them in relation to cash.

"Being able to offer easy access to deposit, withdraw and exchange cash as businesses or individuals is great, especially since it is becoming harder to do those things on our local highstreets.

"Postmasters like us come with years of experience and more people should use their Post Offices for cash services.”

One of Mrs Ahmad’s regular customers Mike uses the post office to buy supplies for older members of the community he lives in as well as for himself.

He said: “Many of the elderly people in the area struggled when their nearest Post Office closed and I couldn’t believe how far they would have to go.

"|When Sal opened here, there was genuine jubilation in the streets and everyone was excited there was a place to access their pensions and get cash to spend in the shops.

"One lady I know had a huge jar of change her bank were unable to accept but the Post Office were able to let her deposit it.

"Sal and her family have brought economic life back for so many people as well as bringing a smile to us shoppers.”

Chief executive at the Post Office Nick Read said: “Ensuring everyone in every community continues to have free access to cash is fundamental to the nation’s economic and social wellbeing.

"We cannot forget those across the country who continue to rely on it – from the millions of small businesses to ordinary people who use cash to budget, save and survive.

“With ‘Save Our Cash Day’, the Post Office is calling on Government to speed up the delivery of the necessary legislative and regulatory frameworks which must underpin the long-term future of the cash system.

"Banks should be required, by law, to provide their customers free access to cash and cash services irrespective of where they happen to live or work.

"Anything short of legislation will fail the millions who continue to depend on it day-to-day.”

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