Rishi Sunak has rejected a Tory MP’s call for shops to accept cash payments.
Sunak was pressed by Newton Abbott MP Anne Marie Morris about whether establishments serving the public should be mandated to provide the option during his appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions earlier today.
Morris, who sits on the Treasury Select Committee, asked the Prime Minister: “Will the Prime Minister look again at the Financial Services and Markets Bill, when it comes back from the other place, and ensure that any entity providing a public service directly to the public, involving payments or a charge, must accept cash?”
She also pointed to a study conducted by LINK which revealed 45 per cent of Britons have been somewhere where cash has not been accepted or even discouraged.
Anne Marie Morris is the MP for Newton Abbott
The study also found that 49 per cent of people said being unable or being discouraged to pay in cash was inconvenient.
Sunak appeared to dismiss Morris' suggestion when he leapt to the despatch box.
The Prime Minister said: “We know that cash continues to be used by millions of people, particularly those in vulnerable groups.
“That is why the Financial Services and Markets Bill will, for the first ever time, protect people’s access to cash in UK law.
UK five pound, ten pound, twenty pound and fifty pound notes with one pound coins
“The Bill also supports businesses that continue to accept cash by ensuring reasonable access to deposit facilities, but as technology and consumer behaviour changes, it is right that organisations themselves should be able to choose the forms of payment that they will accept.”
Sunak’s Government previously faced calls to consider legislating for retailers and businesses to accept cash payments in March.
Parliament debated the proposal after 33,499 people signed a petition to “make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments”.
A second petition received 25,021 signatures.
Many Britons still use cash for payments
In response to the calls for businesses to accept cash, the Government said: “The Government does not plan to mandate cash acceptance.
“Businesses are able to choose the forms of payment they accept.”
Cash remains a popular form of payment for millions of Britons, especially among the nation's older population.
Around 5.4 million adults still rely on cash in the UK.
Nationwide even suggested cash is making a post-Covid comeback
UK Finance revealed cash accounted for 15 per cent of payments in 2021.
An estimated 73 per cent of consumers also claimed to use cash in January 2022, LINK’s research has shown.
Nationwide even suggested cash is making a post-Covid comeback, with a 19 per cent increase in withdrawals from the building society’s ATMs last year compared to 2021.