Councillor’s plea to protect the most vulnerable from a ‘cashless society’

A concerned Berwickshire councillor is calling on his fellow elected members on Scottish Borders Council to protect the most vulnerable from an increasingly ‘cashless society’.
Councillor James AndersonCouncillor James Anderson
Councillor James Anderson

Alarm bells started to ring for East Berwickshire independent representative James Anderson when it was announced last year that four Borders banks were to close – including two in his own backyard.

Lloyds announced the axe for its branches in Duns, Eyemouth, Jedburgh and Newcastleton.

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Bank of Scotland – which operates under the Lloyds Banking Group – said in a statement: “The world is becoming more digital than ever before and more of our customers are doing their everyday banking online.”

Councillor Anderson believes such closures represent a worrying trend towards a cashless society which threatens to exclude the most vulnerable from financial interaction.

He wants to see easy access to cash retained.

Now he has formalised his concerns with a motion to full council on Thursday, January 25, in which he calls on SBC to recognise the trend and calls on “all relevant authorities and stakeholders to adopt and implement the necessary measures to address the social and financial implications of the transition towards a cashless society, in line with the principles of equality, inclusivity, and social justice.”

The motion says: “That Scottish Borders Council recognizes the ongoing transition towards a cashless society, primarily driven by Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

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“This motion aims to address the social and financial implications associated with this transition. One major concern is the potential exacerbation of revenue inequality and the digital divide.

“It is crucial to ensure that vulnerable populations have equal access to digital financial services to prevent marginalization.

“Therefore, the Scottish Borders Council urges the UK Government to take necessary measures to mitigate these concerns and ensure a fair and inclusive transition to digital currency with the retention of cash-based finances.”

The motion adds: “The council requests that the UK Government provide regular updates and reports on the progress made in addressing the social and financial implications of the transition.

“This will enable transparency and accountability in the decision-making process.”