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Queen's Speech: New UK law to protect cash from digital disruption

Cash is an important way for millions of people, particularly those in vulnerable groups, to pay for goods and services across the UK.

a man in a suit speaking into a microphone

John Glen/HM Treasury

With all the talk about digital money, crypto and NFTs cash seems an increasingly outdated subject.

A new UK law will, however, protect its provision in a bid to help vulnerable consumers.

Announced in the Queen’s Speech at the state opening of parliament today, the Financial Services and Markets Bill will include rules to protect cash by ensuring continued access to withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK.

“We are reforming our financial services sector now we have left the EU to ensure it acts in the interests of communities and citizens, creating jobs, supporting businesses, and powering growth across all of the UK, said economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen.

“We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups. We promised we would protect it, and through this Bill we are delivering on that promise,” he added.

Cash remains an important payment method for millions of people across the UK, particularly those in vulnerable groups. 

The proposed bill that will include the legal protection of cash, will aim to ensure the continued availability of withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK, and that the country’s cash infrastructure "is sustainable" over the long term.

The UK government has been vocal about its ambitions for the country to maintain its position as a global leader in financial services, following the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union. This will include the “cutting red tape” according to a media statement as part of the announcement of the bill today, as well as “maintaining high regulatory standards” 

The bill has wider aims centred on revoking currently retained EU laws related to financial services and banking. This includes the Solvency II legislation governing the regulation of insurers, which the government says it is “committed” to reform.

Other measures are designed with a greater focus on growth and international competitiveness, reforming the UK’s capital markets and rules to greater protect the victims of financial scams.

“We are also sticking up for victims of financial scams that can have a devastating impact, by ensuring the regulator can act to make banks reimburse people who have lost money through no fault of their own,” Glen said.

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