HC Deb 15 March 2000 vol 346 c197W
Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the benefits of ensuring that cash withdrawals from automatic teller machines located in post offices are not subject to bank charges. [113905]

Mr. Alan Johnson

My right hon. Friend considers that the imposition of charges for cash withdrawals from automatic teller machines will impact disproportionately on the socially excluded and those in rural areas. People on fixed budgets, particularly pensioners and the unemployed, should not suffer high charges to withdraw small amounts of cash. If charges are to be introduced, we will ensure that consumers know what they are before they proceed with a transaction. If the banks do not do this voluntarily, my right hon. Friend has powers under the Prices Act 1974 to compel them.

I understand from the Post Office that commercial and contract arrangements with the proposed partners for the installation of 3,000 more cash machines at post offices have not yet been finalised. Access and charging arrangements will, in the first instance, be commercial matters for the Post Office and its partners.