A cashless society by 2026 would be “shocking” for Norfolk
- Credit: PA
With the news that Norfolk could be a cashless society by 2026, Norman Lamb and advocates of the elderly have warned of the 'shocking' effects such a move would have on the county.
The Member of Parliament for North Norfolk, and an Age Concern spokesman, were talking following the news that the UK's current payment system is 'falling apart', and may soon see the end of cash.
The Access to Cash Review, authored by former financial ombudsman Natalie Ceeney and funded by Link, found that debit card use has overtaken cash.
Cash payments are declining so rapidly that within seven years, they may no longer exist.
Angela Reith is the manager for Age Concern north Norfolk, she said: 'If cashless payments went, it would definitely increase isolation and would have shocking effects on the elderly.
'I just asked some of our members about contactless payments – none of them had. And then when you factor in dementia, with people losing their cards or forgetting their pins, it makes it more worrying.'
She continued: 'Another thing is when people go into banks to take money out, it's a point of contact to check in with them. If they're taking a large amount of money out the cashier can ask why, to make sure they're not being scammed.
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'We work a lot with the banks and police because of this.'
Norman Lamb's constituency of North Norfolk is among the five regions with the most elderly population.
He said: 'We are risking the exclusion of people from a modern economy.
'But there are further issues such as the low-level jobs, the window cleaners and other services which are paid for by cash, which would be hugely affected.'
The report also suggested that rural regions should encourage cash back options, as connectivity for online shopping and transactions may be weaker.
'We need to make better infrastructure to support wireless broadband and mobile coverage,' Mr Lamb added.
'I think the problem has been that BT and Openreach have enjoyed a monopoly on coverage, but that's starting to change. Until it does, we have people and services which are absolutely reliant on cash transactions.'