Lake District and Yorkshire Dales tourism hotspot sees massive drop in ATM cash withdrawals

Rural areas saw some of the biggest falls in cash machine useage during the coronavirus crisis, analysis by ATM network Link reveals.

Devil's Bridge in Kirkby Lonsdale. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

On average, there was a 60 per cent annual fall in the volume of ATM withdrawals in April, with some rural areas as well as city centres recording the sharpest drop-offs.

Link compared ATM withdrawals in April 2020 with April 2019 across parliamentary constituencies.

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It found that the Cities of London and Westminster saw the biggest fall, with withdrawals shrinking by 91 per cent.

Glasgow Central recorded the next biggest decline, at 82 per cent.

Westmorland and Lonsdale, which covers parts of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, including Kendal, Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale, was also in the top five with the largest declines, at 81 per cent.

The smallest declines were in Liverpool Walton and Birmingham Hodge Hill, which both saw 43 per cent falls in withdrawals.

Bradford South and Bradford East, were also in the constituencies recording the smallest falls, down 44 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Link added that, more recently, ATM withdrawal levels have recovered to some extent compared with April, and are now down generally across the UK by around 45 per cent compared with a year ago.

Link head of financial inclusion Nick Quin said: "Unsurprisingly, cash use fell during the lockdown; however, we shouldn't rush to the conclusion that all roads lead to a cashless UK.

"Some of the places where cash use fell the quickest aren't all city centres or major transport hubs - some are rural, with older populations, or rely on tourism.

"The areas where people have continued to use cash more have been those most deprived communities.

"We know from our own research that coronavirus will affect the future use of cash. However, what's clear is that every individual community is different.

"Digital payments do not work for all consumers at all times and it is the most vulnerable that are often most reliant on cash.

"Link believes that, to safeguard free access to cash in the longer term, legislation is needed and we welcomed the Chancellor's Budget commitment to legislate on this issue. However, with cash usage rapidly falling during Covid-19, it is now more important, and urgent, than ever."

Recent research from Link found that more consumers are turning to contactless and digital payments during the coronavirus crisis, with nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) suggesting Covid-19 will affect their future use of cash.