Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam is to write to the UK and Scottish governments expressing concern over cash machines in the region charging people to take money out.
Mrs Haslam will write to government officials at the behest of Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson after his motion urging the local authority to register a protest about ATM charges was given the thumbs-up at the full council meeting held in Kelso today, May 16.
Mr Paterson told the meeting: “I was more than a little shocked to read recently that one company that provides the ATM machines for banks is contemplating bringing in charging for more ATM machines in the UK.
“For some in the Borders, it is a matter of choice if people choose not to pay for taking their own money out.
“However, some have to travel miles to an ATM if they suddenly find that they need some cash right away, then have to pay for doing so.
“That is a totally unacceptable situation to be in as far as I am concerned, but that is the choice that some people in rural areas like the Borders will be faced with.
“What if you are not able to drive? Do you just go to the local loan shark and be paying it back for ever more? No, this is something that we should be trying our utmost to ensure does not happen.
“I hope that I will get support from the chamber to write to the Scottish and UK governments and, if possible, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities as well, to hopefully oppose this draconian measure to get more money out of customers.”
Tweeddale East councillor Mrs Haslam seconded Mr Paterson’s motion and told the Tait Hall chamber she would also write to businesses about that issue, saying: “The ATMs in our small communities should absolutely not be charging.
“I would also like to write to the banks and stores in the region that have ATMs to highlight to them how important these cash machines are to these rural communities.”
Kelso councillor Simon Mountford also supported the motion, and he urged residents to make use of their local post office to encourage branches to help them stay open, explaining: “I agree with everything that has been said here today, and I am broadly in favour of this motion.
“However, I would encourage everyone who has a local post office to use it, as not many people know you can withdraw cash for free there, and the more people who use it the more likely it is we’ll keep them.”