On 3 May 2019, HM Treasury published a document containing a summary of responses to its call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. A total of 218 respondents engaged with the call for evidence.
The responses reflected the change in the way that payments are being made. According to data published by UK Finance, non-cash payment methods represented 66% of all payments made in the UK in 2017, up from 39% in 2007. Respondents expect the use of digital payments to continue to grow over the next 10 years, highlighting the case and convenience of such methods.
Respondents were keen that the Government continues to support digital payments, respondents also reflected on the importance of cash in many people’s daily lives. Responses considered the importance of cash as a symbol of independence, as well as an important budgeting tool, and as a way that elderly or vulnerable people can access social opportunities.
The Government consequently wishes to support digital payments whilst safeguarding access to cash for those who need it. Action in this regards includes setting up and chairing a Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group. This Group will facilitate co-ordination between authorities, provide comprehensive oversight of the overall cash infrastructure, including steps to make this infrastructure more resilient and efficient, and consider how best to ensure access to cash for those who need it. As regards cash, the Government also confirms that it has no plans to alter the current make up of UK coins and notes in circulation.