On 19 May 2022, HM Treasury issued a summary of the responses to its earlier access to cash consultation. The document also sets out the government’s planned approach to legislating for access to cash in the Financial Services and Markets Bill.
In summary, HM Treasury intends to designate firms for the purpose of ensuring continued access to cash across the UK. The FCA will be established as the lead regulator for retail cash access and will be given appropriate powers for ensuring that designated firms continue to provide deposit and withdrawal facilities across the UK. The FCA’s powers will allow it to address cash access issues at both a national and local level. To support the FCA, the government will in due course set out its expectations for a reasonable distance for people to travel when depositing and withdrawing cash. This will reflect the existing spread of cash withdrawal and deposit facilities in the UK.
Since the government’s consultation, significant steps have also been taken by industry to improve coordinated efforts by firms to meet cash access needs. In December 2021, the sector announced that it had developed a voluntary industry model that accounts for the different types of facility that provide cash access, including initiatives to provide shared services, to protect access to cash. In light of these developments, and the significant role that such coordination bodies may play in the future of cash provision, the government’s intention is to also enable HM Treasury to designate such bodies for FCA oversight in addition to the designation of firms.