'It makes Wonga look like Santa Claus': MP attacks lack of free ATMs available to people in poorest areas
Wednesday 01 January 2014
The 'grotesque practice' of charging low-income people to withdraw their own money from bank accounts has been condemned after a report revealed that more than 300,000 of the poorest people in Britain live at least 1km from a cash machine that does not charge for withdrawals.
Figures obtained from the Link network by the Guardian newspaper showed there were 269 low-income areas without a free ATM nearby, meaning people have to travel or pay anything from 75p to £10 to take out cash.
The Labour MP Frank Field, who advises the Government on poverty, said: “If you are a single young man, unemployed on benefits, you are charged £3 to take out your £56 a week in local shops. That's a rip-off that makes Wonga look like Santa Claus.”
He said it was time to “take the gloves off with the industry, as soft reasoning has not worked”.
“Getting the poor to pay for the privilege of taking out their own money is a grotesque practice, which should end immediately,” Mr Field said.
John Howells, the chief executive of Link, told The Guardian: “If lower-income people were forced to use surcharging machines then this would be a clear hardship and not tenable. However, Link's evidence is that this is not the case and most people can access cash on a free basis.
“Over the country as a whole, the number of free-to-use and pay-to-use ATMs is higher in more deprived areas. This is because there is more demand for cash in these areas and more suitable premises available, such as convenience stores.”
Link, which runs the ATM network, has previously admitted that there are “increasing risks to the universal access-to-cash position that consumers have in the UK”.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...