The latest figures from the consumer group Which? indicate that one in 10, once free UK cashpoints, have either closed or have started charging fees since January 2018.

This is not good news, not least because millions of small business owners still have customers that want to pay in cash. Often these customers are among society’s most vulnerable: the elderly, those with poor credit history and those with disabilities. In addition, rural and hospitality-oriented businesses are also often more reliant on cash, as are market traders and tradespeople.

For shire counties like Worcestershire, it is therefore important that banks, regulators and the Government work together to protect access to cash. That way we can avert further damage to our market towns, tourism businesses and high streets.

One way this might be achieved is for more bank branches and cash outlets to become centres of their local communities. They could offer meeting rooms, cafes and digital facilities alongside in-person banking support. Some county-based retailers are already working to this model, achieving success for themselves and supporting their local communities.

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The Post Office also has a role to play, but more needs to be done to improve and standardise its banking offer across locations.

There are also tax incentives to consider. Historically, our regressive business rates system has not been kind to shop owners who decide to host a cashpoint and thereby provide a vital public service. This is clearly a nonsense and needs to be addressed.

Choice is the key consideration. Small business owners must be allowed to go cardless, cashless or accept both cash and card, whatever works best for them – and, most importantly, their customers.

Sometimes the ’cash argument’ can be portrayed as being rather ‘old school’ and irrelevant. In fact it is neither, until such time as convenient, effective and efficient alternatives are available – whenever and wherever they are required.