Murdo Fraser MSP has praised the launch of an innovative access to cash scheme which he feels may help Perthshire communities that have lost bank branches.
The Scottish Conservative politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, hopes this new initiative could bring hope to residents in the likes of Aberfeldy, who saw the loss of bank facilities earlier this year.
Mr Fraser is optimistic that the announcement from UK Finance regarding their Community Access to Cash initiative will help local communities secure access to cash and payment services.
Commenting, Mr Fraser, who is also the Shadow Cabinet spokesperson for Finance, said: “This is a very useful scheme which could help communities in places like Aberfeldy, which has seen the closure of bank branches.
“The initiative will provide grant support and industry guidance to local communities to improve cash and look at the adoption of alternative solutions where an ATM is not required.
“This scheme means progressing work on alternatives to digital payments and improving access to existing cash channels.”
He continued: “Work carried out by UK Finance showed that it was apparent from engagement with local authorities that the sustainability of the wider system to meet customer cash needs relies on strengthening non-ATM solutions for cash and payment access.”
“If a community would like the banking and finance industry to assess potential solutions to local access to cash needs through this initiative, they are encouraged to make an application via an elected official, such as a local councillor.
“I welcome this initiative as it could prove vital to communities in Perthshire that have suffered bank closures.”
Applications can be submitted via LINK’s website from October 31 to January 31, with awards being made on March 31, 2020. A webpage, including an online application, is currently in development and will be made available on LINK’s website ahead of the October 31 start date.
Once submitted, assessment and award of grants will be considered by a UK Finance Award Committee - made up of a cross-section of member representatives.