A Task Force is to investigate the potential impact that the reduction in the number of free to use cash machines  is having on West Lothian, and especially on those residents living in poverty.

This follows a report at a meeting of West Lothian Council Partnership and Resources Policy Development Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) which identified that the number of free to use Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) has reduced nationwide.

The PDSP was also given details that there has been reduced demand for cash machine withdrawals which has been attributed to the increase in the use of alternative payment methods.

While it is recognised that support needs to be provided to help residents of West Lothian to utilise alternative payment methods there will always be the need for a people to access cash.

The panel agreed that the availability of cash within communities in West Lothian needs to be an item of action for the Anti-Poverty Task Force to consider. West Lothian Council Leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “The reduction of free to use cash machines is something that needs to be addressed as it bears potential to isolate members of our local community.

“The Anti-Poverty Task Force will now look at the picture across West Lothian and discuss possibilities as to how any impact can be limited and also look at the potential to increase financial opportunities for residents.”

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