New national regulators should examine unfair charging of cash machines in areas such as Bethnal Green and Bow, argued Rushanara Ali MP in her first week on the Treasury Select Committee. She raised the scandal of people having to pay up to £2.00 each time they take out money from their own bank accounts when using certain ATN cash withdrawals machines.
Cross-examining the new regulator of cash machines across the UK, Rushanara said:
“You will take responsibility for regulating Link, which provides the payment system for ATMs, and there remain continued concerns about making sure that there are free ATM facilities, particularly in deprived areas. According to even recent news reports some 300,000 do not have close proximity to free ATM machines. Is this of concern to you? If so, what will you do about it?”
Drawing upon her own research, Rushanara compared the cost of cash in affluent areas in West London as opposed to Whitechapel in Bethnal Green and Bow:
- According to Link website, if you live in Sloane Square in West London, about 14% of the closest 50 ATMs charge money for accessing cash.
- However, if you live in Whitechapel, that proportion is 34% - over one in three machines which charge up to £2.00 for people to take their own money out.
Speaking after the Treasury Select Committee hearing, Rushanara said:
“People in Bethnal Green and Bow deserve equal treatment when it comes to accessing their money. This is a scandal and affects millions of people around the UK. It cannot be right that payment organisations allow these practices to continue unchecked. I am glad that the Payment Services Regulator has agreed to look more closely at this inequality. I will continue to apply pressure on the regulator to ensure this happens.”
“Whether it is the Bank of England, financial regulators, or the Chancellor, I will use these hearings to secure the best deal for Bethnal Green and Bow. I am delighted to have been elected onto the Treasury Select Committee by my fellow MPs. I will work tirelessly to hold the Government and other powerful financial bodies to account.”