Wakefield loses 15 free-to-use cash machines in less than two years

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Wakefield has lost more than 15 free-to-use cash machines in less than two years, figures suggest, amid warnings that the UK’s cash system is “falling apart”.

There were approximately 333 free cash machines in Wakefield at the end of 2017, according to data from cash machine network Link.

But latest figures show this figure fell by five per cent to 315 by February 2019.

Overall, there were around 385 cash machines in Wakefield in February, including those that charge for withdrawals, down from 420 in 2017.

The data is collected by parliamentary constituency, meaning some cash machines could be in a neighbouring local authority.

An independent review into the accessibility of cash in the UK published in March warned millions of people could be left behind if the country “sleepwalks into a cashless society”.

The report found that around 8 million adults, 17 per cent of the population, are still reliant on cash and would struggle in an entirely digital economy.

These include people in rural communities or on a low income, and older people or people with disabilities.

Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Access to Cash Review, said: “There are worrying signs that our cash system is falling apart. ATM and bank branch closures are just the tip of the iceberg.

“We need to guarantee people’s right to access cash, and ensure that they can still spend it.”

A spokesman for Link said the UK has an excellent ATM network, with 50,000 free-to-use machines – 10,000 more than in 2010.