Covid 'myth' threatens cash use, warns MP

AN MP has warned that a cut in the ability to use cash rather than cards could be an unintended consequence of the Covid-19 emergency.


Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale representative David Mundell has been a long-time campaigner for easier access to notes because of a steady decline in free-to-use cash dispensers.


During last week's adjournment debate in the House of Commons, Mr Mundell welcomed recent Government intimations that they intend to legislate on access to cash but he sought guidance as to when that might happen.


He expressed deep concern that the coronavirus pandemic had reduced the number of transaction opportunities where cash could be used.


The former Scottish Secretary asked: "Even if we resolve the ability to access cash, will people be able to use it, given the number of outlets that are now saying that they will not take cash"?


He urged the Government to dispel 'a myth' circulating that cash was dirty and could spread coronavirus. 


Offering clarification, Mr Mundell said: "As the Bank for International Settlements reported in April, the likelihood of transmitting Covid-19 via banknotes is low when compared with … credit card terminals or PIN pads.


"We must be clear that cash is safe and, as with any contact, safer after people wash their hands and take other measures."


He warned: "We do not want to see a back-door move to a so-called cashless society. Recent reports indicate that eight million of our fellow citizens could not cope in a cashless or cash sparse society, so let us not end up there without thinking it through."


During his Commons address, Mr Mundell raised concerns at Lochmaben where constituents were alarmed by planning permission being sought to remove a 'vital' cash dispenser.