LOCAL MP David Mundell has backed a new initiative by consumer body Which? to protect the UK's cash network.
The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale representative has a track record of championing easy availability of traditional physical currency.
He welcomed the launch of the campaign this week and news that thousands of retailers and other businesses had already signed up to the 'Cash-Friendly' initiative.
Soon the Which? 'Cash-Friendly' stickers will be appearing on shop doors signalling that notes and coins will be readily accepted.
Mr Mundell, who led a debate at Westminster on preserving cash infrastructure, believed the consumer organisation's intervention would boost on-going urgent efforts to prevent the premature disappearance of cash.
He said: "I know from my largely rural constituency just how important convenient cash access remains, particularly for those who are vulnerable for a variety of reasons and have difficulties making digital payments.
"Sadly the Covid crisis appears to have accelerated the closure of bank branches, removal of cash dispensers and a reduction in the number of businesses accepting notes and coins.
"This causes real hardship and adds expense because of the distance some of my constituents have to travel to reach a dispenser. In some cases they then also face transaction charges to access even a modest amount of their own money."
Mr Mundell added that he was eager for the Government to move forward quickly with planned legislation to provide long-term protection for cash.
Anabel Hoult, chief executive of Which?, said: “Our cash-friendly pledge will reassure consumers who rely on cash that they won't be left behind as we make the transition to digital payments."