13 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Treasury must act on rural ATM charges
  • UK facing worst slowdown since aftermath of financial crisis

Treasury must act on rural ATM charges

Jane Dodds has joined Kirsty Williams AM and Cllr James Gibson-Watt in calling for the UK Treasury to take action to abolish transaction charges at rural ATMs.

Transactional charges are becoming increasingly common across Wales as more and more banks cut back on support to ATM providers, meaning the running costs are being passed onto the customers. The ATM at Hay Post Office is the most recent local example of this, with customers now being charged 99p per transaction.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

Our rural communities are seeing vital local services cut back time and time again, and now they’re losing free access to cash too. While banks continue to cut back on support for ATM providers, it is the people in our towns and villages that are suffering.

Residents of Hay-on-Wye, including myself, now have no choice but to pay 99p per transaction if we want to withdraw cash when the Post Office is closed. This is so damaging to both the local economy and our important small businesses.

The UK Treasury must act now to work towards abolishing these unfair charges and ensuring everyone across rural Wales has free access to their own money.

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, also commented:

Easy and free access to cash remains vital for many people in rural communities. Both for our small businesses, but also the most vulnerable residents.

The UK Government and big banks must make sure that free ATM services are accessible to all.

UK facing worst slowdown since aftermath of financial crisis

Responding to GDP figures which show the UK has had the lowest 12 month growth for 7 years, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The UK’s economy is suffering from the worst slowdown since the aftermath of the financial crisis, yet Boris Johnson has no plan to turn this around.

Businesses looking for certainty about the Conservatives’ economic policies won’t find any with Boris Johnson who seems to make it up as he goes along.

Johnson’s insistence on a hard Brexit and his willingness to keep a no-deal Brexit is a major cause of this shockingly poor economic performance.

Liberal Democrats will challenge Johnson and the Conservatives on behalf of workers and business across the UK who know they are being let down badly.

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  • Tobias Sedlmeier 13th Jan '20 - 10:19pm

    Isn’t this statement saying effectively “Let’s get customers in the cities to subsidise the lifestyle choices of those who live in rural Britain. Let’s get predominantly younger and ethnic minority groups subsidise the choices of wealthier white British people.”?

    Clearly, the costs of stocking ATMs with cash in rural areas are significantly greater than in cities. Why should we have yet another case of poorer groups cross-subsidising the comparatively wealthy, many retirees who have moved to rural Wales as a lifestyle choice?

    Is this really the right approach for the LibDems to be taking, either as a matter of principle or in terms of electoral considerations?

    In cities there are many third party ATM providers such as Raphael’s Bank that not only provide charge free access to sterling but also allow for euro to be withdrawn at a competitive rate. That’s because those providers can make money doing so. There’s a level of naivity that underlies the statement that “UK Treasury must act now to work towards abolishing these unfair charges”. Why should cost-based charges imposed in a competitive market necessitate state intervention?

  • @ Tobias Sedlmeier Look up the item below on google. Read, digest and learn……. and for goodness sake, whatever else you do, remember not to become old, ill, disabled, in a low paid job or unemployed……….. that way you’ll be OK in your own little bubble.

    Rural poverty: the case of Powys | WCPP – Wales Centre for …
    https://www.wcpp.org.uk › commentary › rural-poverty-the-case-of-powys
    26 Jun 2018 – As part of our Rural Poverty series, Dr Greg Thomas (Powys County Council) uses Powys as a case study to explore the issues surrounding rural poverty. … There are five main types of poverty affecting Powys residents: financial poverty, fuel poverty, health poverty, digital poverty …

  • Tobias Sedlmeier 14th Jan '20 - 10:32am

    “suggesting that rural dwellers generally are wealthier is a sweeping generalisation that suggests you know little of rural communities and care even less.”

    No Mark, it suggests that I’m somebody who bases my views on statistical evidence rather than self-interest. Here are the statistics as of 2014/25:
    For every group of people, poverty levels are higher in urban areas than in rural areas, both before and after housing costs, with the exception of pensioners before housing costs where the level is 17% in rural areas and 16% in urban areas. In many cases the level of poverty in urban areas is much higher than rural areas.

    And Ian, no, “Welsh speaking rural people” are not classified as an ethnic minority in the UK under current census classifications. I prefer to have discussions based on what the current ethnic minority classifications are rather than what random people may think they should be.

    It’s disappointing to see so many posters who continue to believe that urban dwellers should subsidise the expense of their lifestyle choices.

  • Tobias Sedlmeier 15th Jan '20 - 1:28am

    “However for most people living in country they didn’t make ‘lifestyle choices’. They are there because they were born there and learnt jobs that are carried out there.”

    I’m still not seeing anyone give reasons why urban dwellers should subsidise others the additional costs of a rural lifestyle. In my original comment I said that what LibDem reps are advocating would involve predominantly younger and ethnic minority groups wealthier white British people. The statistics show that the level of poverty is significantly higher in urban areas and of course ethnic minorities are concentrated in urban areas.

    Furthermore, we need to think about green considerations. The CO2 footprint of urban dwellers is significantly lower than rural dwellers. (www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49639003) Obviously, there are people who live in rural areas because that is where their livelihood is, e.g. the family farmers you mention. However, in England and Wales there are very large numbers of people living in rural areas who are commuting to work in urban areas or who could do their job just as well in an urban area or who are not working. Is that really something that we should be encouraging with subsidisation?

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