Nationwide to offer Bristol free machines

24 January 2007
Nationwide has agreed to provide free-to-use cash machines in lower-income areas across Bristol.

After sustained pressure from the city's activist groups for improved access to financial resources, the Bristol Financial Inclusion Taskforce has agreed to undertake public consultation to identify where free cash machines are most needed.

The taskforce's Carole Crouch noted that "a weekly withdrawal would typically cost £91 a year, which for the lowest earning ten per cent of households is a whole week's income".

If the highest-income households were asked to shell out a comparable proportion of their income each time they withdrew cash, they would be spending £15 each time, she said.

The Treasury Select Committee recently made a commitment to provide 600 more free-to-use cash machines for lower-income areas across the UK – but the Bristol activists claim that implementation has been too slow.

"Local action is crucial but also needs the weight of a national campaign to put pressure on the government and providers of services," commented Max Beseke of Bristol Citizens Advice.

In December, Citizens Advice director of policy Teresa Prichard called for the national process to be "speeded up so that thousands more people can benefit".

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