The UK’s largest ATM operator has renounced Labour’s new plan to ban charges on cash withdrawals.
Shadow secretary of state for business Rebecca Long-Bailey has outlined the move as part of a five-point retail plan.
Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Long-Bailey said the scrapping of ATM charges was needed to save high streets from “a slow and agonising death”.
However, Cardtronics, owner of the Cashzone ATM brand argued a ban on fee-charging ATMs would be “nothing short of disastrous”. The company’s managing director Tim Halford said: "Rather than preserving free and convenient access to cash, the proposed plans would do the exact opposite, and force thousands of ATMs to close, rendering entire networks economically unviable.”
Instead, he said putting pressure on Link and the banks to pay “a fair rate” to providers like Cardtronics for withdrawals at ATMs would protect the current free-to-use ATM network.
In a recent survey by YouGov, just 4% of people in the UK said they would pay to use an ATM.
The Labour MP added that the party would add free Wi-Fi to town centres, pressure landlords with a register of empty shops, provide free bus travel for under 25s and overhaul the business rates system.
The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all promised to reform business rates in their manifestos at the last election. However, the current government is yet to publish any details regarding the promised review.
The British Retail Consortium’s director of business and regulation, Tom Ironside agreed with Labour’s stance stating: “Taking action to fix a broken and outdated business rates system is essential if the country's largest private sector employer is to work towards a positive future."
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