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UK council goes cashless, allegedly to “support the switch to the digital economy”

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The council of Shropshire, a county in England, plans to go cashless by April next year. The council alleged that the move is in response to changes in the behavior of the public.

The council finance and corporate affairs minister Gwilym Butler said: “Post-pandemic business evidence is that fewer and fewer people are using cash and cheques to make their day-to-day purchases and complete larger transactions.

“The increased use of banking apps and smart technology by consumers means that most people routinely carry less than £5 in real cash, so we are looking at ways we can adapt and support the switch to the digital economy.

“It brings benefits of savings in both staff time and the costs of processing payments, allows customer to access their accounts without having to attend our offices, and we can gather data to help plan and improve our services at times of peak demand.”

The council will not completely lock out those who want to use cash. However, they will have to use third-party payments systems like PayPoint and the Post Office.

Charity group Age UK has expressed concerns with the move, arguing that it will inconvenience old people as they are not familiar with digital payment systems.

“We have raised our concerns about the local authority’s move to become more digitally focused, and the negative impact this will have on a large number of older people in our county who don’t have the means to access these services,” said Age UK’s information and advice manager Robert Smith to Shropshire Star.

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