LabourTowns

Our towns our future

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Can you imagine being charged £3 per every time you withdraw cash?

 

98% of us withdraw our money free of charge from cash machines, however changes to the way these free to use ATMs are funded has seen many close and others having to charge withdrawal fees in order to stay open.

 

The LINK Network, which sets the funding formula for free to use ATMs (the interchange rate fee), planned to cut this funding by 20% over the next four years. The interchange rate fee is a 25p charge which is levied on card issuers and banks every time you use your card in an ATM machine. It is these 25p charges which pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the ATM machine.

 

LINKs 20% reduction would have seen that fee will drop from 25p to 20p over four years. The first 5% cut happened on 1 July 2018.

 

LINK claimed before implementing the cuts that only a small number of ATMs would be lost, and that these closures would mostly happen in urban areas where they say there is an oversupply of ATMs.

 

However, this is not what has happened.

 

As a result of LINKs cuts ATM providers, the private businesses who run ATMs, had millions wiped off their share prices and had to make major adjustments to their business plans to make up for the loss of revenue.

 

Initially figures from Which? Showed that 300 ATMs were closing per month, the following month, that average closure figure had risen to 500, a 66% increase. At that rate of increase we could see 800 ATMs closing per month in the near future.

 

Contrary to what LINK said these closures have not taken place predominantly in urban centres, rural and sub-urban areas have borne the brunt of the cuts, and while LINK promised there would always be another a free to use ATM at least within 1km away, there are multiple examples where when an ATM closes and the next nearest is over 10km drive away.

 

This matters as changes in payment methods are happening at different paces in different places. While cities are moving quickly towards cashless payment systems cash remains king for many sub-urban towns, rural small businesses and for the families that live in our towns and countryside.

 

You can’t give your primary school aged son or daughter a debit card to buy their lunch at school and parents do not have the time for a 20km round trip if their nearest ATM will charge them to withdraw money or if there simply isn’t a machine anymore.

 

I have been campaigning with Labour colleagues and other MPs across parties to put pressure on LINK and the Government regulator, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to look again at the changes to ATM funding and to begin a review of how we use cash so that free access can be protected where we use it most, such as in our rural and sub-urban towns.

 

I also have a bill in Parliament to ban ATM charges and introduce mechanisms to prevent financial exclusion. This bill has been supported by a number of Labour colleagues as well as from other parties. The bill will have its second reading in Parliament on November 23rd.

 

Through our efforts to put pressure on LINK and the PSR we are having success. At an event held in conjunction with Which? And the FSB 50 MPs, including a supporters of the Labour Towns Network, came to add their names to campaign to save our cashpoints.

 

This and many letters to the LINK and the PSR has begun to force them into action.

 

LINK has recently announced that it will drop part of its cuts programme and place one cut on review. This means with more campaigning and more pressure it is easy to see how we could bring down their cuts to 10%, and if we push further block them completely.

 

LINK have under pressure announced an “Access to Cash Review”. Over the next six months this review will be gather information and bring together bodies such as Age UK, Toynbee Hall and Fairer Finance as well as industry experts to examine people's future needs across the UK.

 

LINK said anyone with an interest in cash - people, consumer groups, community representatives, small businesses and industry - will be able to contribute through workshops and a call for evidence.

 

I will be pushing the case for people from, and MPs representing towns to respond to this call for evidence, to highlight to LINK and the PSR that access to cash is key for our constituents and our communities.

 

I recognise that we are moving towards a cashless society, however we must not get there by subjecting our towns to financial exclusion and fee charging ATMs because LINK had targets to reduce the number of ATMs.

 

Already there are currently more free to use ATMs in the House of Commons than on Cambuslang Main Street in my constituency, I’m determined that we will not reach a situation where there are more ATMs in Parliament than in the entire town.

Ged Killen MP: We need to ban ATM Charges and Introduce Mechanisms to Prevent Financial Exclusion in Towns

August 10, 2018

Can you imagine being charged £3 per every time you withdraw cash?   98% of us withdraw our money free of charge from cash machines, however changes to the way these free to use ATMs are funded has seen many close and others having to charge withdrawal fees in order to stay open.   The LINK Network, which sets the funding formula for free to use ATMs (the interchange rate fee), planned to cut this funding by 20% over the next four years. The interchange rate fee is a 25p charge which is levied on card issuers and banks every...

Can you imagine being charged £3 per every time you withdraw cash?

 

98% of us withdraw our money free of charge from cash machines, however changes to the way these free to use ATMs are funded has seen many close and others having to charge withdrawal fees in order to stay open.

 

The LINK Network, which sets the funding formula for free to use ATMs (the interchange rate fee), planned to cut this funding by 20% over the next four years. The interchange rate fee is a 25p charge which is levied on card issuers and banks every time you use your card in an ATM machine. It is these 25p charges which pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the ATM machine.

 

LINKs 20% reduction would have seen that fee will drop from 25p to 20p over four years. The first 5% cut happened on 1 July 2018.

 

LINK claimed before implementing the cuts that only a small number of ATMs would be lost, and that these closures would mostly happen in urban areas where they say there is an oversupply of ATMs.

 

However, this is not what has happened.

 

As a result of LINKs cuts ATM providers, the private businesses who run ATMs, had millions wiped off their share prices and had to make major adjustments to their business plans to make up for the loss of revenue.

 

Initially figures from Which? Showed that 300 ATMs were closing per month, the following month, that average closure figure had risen to 500, a 66% increase. At that rate of increase we could see 800 ATMs closing per month in the near future.

 

Contrary to what LINK said these closures have not taken place predominantly in urban centres, rural and sub-urban areas have borne the brunt of the cuts, and while LINK promised there would always be another a free to use ATM at least within 1km away, there are multiple examples where when an ATM closes and the next nearest is over 10km drive away.

 

This matters as changes in payment methods are happening at different paces in different places. While cities are moving quickly towards cashless payment systems cash remains king for many sub-urban towns, rural small businesses and for the families that live in our towns and countryside.

 

You can’t give your primary school aged son or daughter a debit card to buy their lunch at school and parents do not have the time for a 20km round trip if their nearest ATM will charge them to withdraw money or if there simply isn’t a machine anymore.

 

I have been campaigning with Labour colleagues and other MPs across parties to put pressure on LINK and the Government regulator, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to look again at the changes to ATM funding and to begin a review of how we use cash so that free access can be protected where we use it most, such as in our rural and sub-urban towns.

 

I also have a bill in Parliament to ban ATM charges and introduce mechanisms to prevent financial exclusion. This bill has been supported by a number of Labour colleagues as well as from other parties. The bill will have its second reading in Parliament on November 23rd.

 

Through our efforts to put pressure on LINK and the PSR we are having success. At an event held in conjunction with Which? And the FSB 50 MPs, including a supporters of the Labour Towns Network, came to add their names to campaign to save our cashpoints.

 

This and many letters to the LINK and the PSR has begun to force them into action.

 

LINK has recently announced that it will drop part of its cuts programme and place one cut on review. This means with more campaigning and more pressure it is easy to see how we could bring down their cuts to 10%, and if we push further block them completely.

 

LINK have under pressure announced an “Access to Cash Review”. Over the next six months this review will be gather information and bring together bodies such as Age UK, Toynbee Hall and Fairer Finance as well as industry experts to examine people's future needs across the UK.

 

LINK said anyone with an interest in cash - people, consumer groups, community representatives, small businesses and industry - will be able to contribute through workshops and a call for evidence.

 

I will be pushing the case for people from, and MPs representing towns to respond to this call for evidence, to highlight to LINK and the PSR that access to cash is key for our constituents and our communities.

 

I recognise that we are moving towards a cashless society, however we must not get there by subjecting our towns to financial exclusion and fee charging ATMs because LINK had targets to reduce the number of ATMs.

 

Already there are currently more free to use ATMs in the House of Commons than on Cambuslang Main Street in my constituency, I’m determined that we will not reach a situation where there are more ATMs in Parliament than in the entire town.

Ged Killen MP: We need to ban ATM Charges and Introduce Mechanisms to Prevent Financial Exclusion in Towns

August 10, 2018

Can you imagine being charged £3 per every time you withdraw cash?   98% of us withdraw our money free of charge from cash machines, however changes to the way these free to use ATMs are funded has seen many close and others having to charge withdrawal fees in order to stay open.   The LINK Network, which sets the funding formula for free to use ATMs (the interchange rate fee), planned to cut this funding by 20% over the next four years. The interchange rate fee is a 25p charge which is levied on card issuers and banks every...

Years of under investment from the Government, and their focus on larger cities is threatening the prosperity of many smaller towns and cities, that have been overlooked.

 

This has created widening gaps in prosperity between these areas.  We need to make a case for more investment in places like Pontefract and Castleford for example so we can build on our community spirit, create a sense of purpose and boost prosperity.

 

This is why we, as a Council, are doing everything we can to continue to help make our towns thrive and close the gap. 

 

Each place has its own history and uniqueness that makes it special.

 

Pontefract is a good example of the approach we are taking, by working with our partners and with the local community to make a difference. We are looking forwards, embracing the old, welcoming the new, and planning ahead for a strong and prosperous future for the town.

 

A key part of making positive change is through The Pontefract Vision which is guiding development and projects in the town, including new housing, until 2028. 

 

Residents were asked to take part in a public consultation in January, which included asking their views on a wide range of ideas, from promoting Pontefract as a visitor destination, to improving transport connections, and addressing health inequalities. 

 

The feedback was clear that people valued Pontefract for its rich heritage, the castle and Pontefract Park. They also valued the town centre and Pontefract’s location with its strong road links including the M62.

 

However, people said they were concerned about anti-social behaviour – an issue which the Council is addressing with a Public Space Protection Order in place in Pontefract Town Centre, aimed at reducing alcohol consumption in public places.

 

We are looking at how we can address other issues that were raised, including short and long term solutions for congestion, tackling litter and more facilities for young people.

 

I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made. The Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative is on track to restore 28 important buildings in the Pontefract Market Place conservation area. The project is preserving these historic buildings for future generations.

 

The £3.5m Key to the North project has also helped to make Pontefract a visitor destination by restoring parts of the 11th Century Pontefract Castle that have never been accessible to the public before.

 

Our council events programme further reflects how much we value our towns, as a vibrant range of family events with the forthcoming Pontefract Liquorice Festival, which attractsthousands of visitors to the town and showcasing what it has to offer.

 

Armed Forces Day at Pontefract Racecourse also brings people together to celebrate the contribution of our servicemen and women.

 

But without investment and support from Government the widening gap of prosperity between larger and smaller areas will only grow and I want them to recognise the importance of our smaller places.

 

For now though, let’s find every opportunity that we can to pull together as a district, recognising and celebrating everything we have to offer.

Wakefield Council Leader Peter Box: How our Labour Heald Councils are Making a Difference in Our Towns

July 22, 2018

Years of under investment from the Government, and their focus on larger cities is threatening the prosperity of many smaller towns and cities, that have been overlooked.

Years of under investment from the Government, and their focus on larger cities is threatening the prosperity of many smaller towns and cities, that have been overlooked.

 

This has created widening gaps in prosperity between these areas.  We need to make a case for more investment in places like Pontefract and Castleford for example so we can build on our community spirit, create a sense of purpose and boost prosperity.

 

This is why we, as a Council, are doing everything we can to continue to help make our towns thrive and close the gap. 

 

Each place has its own history and uniqueness that makes it special.

 

Pontefract is a good example of the approach we are taking, by working with our partners and with the local community to make a difference. We are looking forwards, embracing the old, welcoming the new, and planning ahead for a strong and prosperous future for the town.

 

A key part of making positive change is through The Pontefract Vision which is guiding development and projects in the town, including new housing, until 2028. 

 

Residents were asked to take part in a public consultation in January, which included asking their views on a wide range of ideas, from promoting Pontefract as a visitor destination, to improving transport connections, and addressing health inequalities. 

 

The feedback was clear that people valued Pontefract for its rich heritage, the castle and Pontefract Park. They also valued the town centre and Pontefract’s location with its strong road links including the M62.

 

However, people said they were concerned about anti-social behaviour – an issue which the Council is addressing with a Public Space Protection Order in place in Pontefract Town Centre, aimed at reducing alcohol consumption in public places.

 

We are looking at how we can address other issues that were raised, including short and long term solutions for congestion, tackling litter and more facilities for young people.

 

I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made. The Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative is on track to restore 28 important buildings in the Pontefract Market Place conservation area. The project is preserving these historic buildings for future generations.

 

The £3.5m Key to the North project has also helped to make Pontefract a visitor destination by restoring parts of the 11th Century Pontefract Castle that have never been accessible to the public before.

 

Our council events programme further reflects how much we value our towns, as a vibrant range of family events with the forthcoming Pontefract Liquorice Festival, which attractsthousands of visitors to the town and showcasing what it has to offer.

 

Armed Forces Day at Pontefract Racecourse also brings people together to celebrate the contribution of our servicemen and women.

 

But without investment and support from Government the widening gap of prosperity between larger and smaller areas will only grow and I want them to recognise the importance of our smaller places.

 

For now though, let’s find every opportunity that we can to pull together as a district, recognising and celebrating everything we have to offer.

Wakefield Council Leader Peter Box: How our Labour Heald Councils are Making a Difference in Our Towns

July 22, 2018

Years of under investment from the Government, and their focus on larger cities is threatening the prosperity of many smaller towns and cities, that have been overlooked.

 

 

the Labour Towns commitment is to say that we have everything we need to be doing better than we are if only we get the right investment. So I'm going to be working with Labour colleagues up and down the country such as The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Labour local council to ensure that we get the investment that we need so that we can mix our heritage, our history as a town, our current and modern future and have a better town for people to visit, live and work in.

James Frith MP: We have everything we need to be doing better than we are, if only we get the right investment

July 19, 2018

    the Labour Towns commitment is to say that we have everything we need to be doing better than we are if only we get the right investment. So I'm going to be working with Labour colleagues up and down the country such as The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Labour local council to ensure that we get the investment that we need so that we can mix our heritage, our history as a town, our current and modern future and have a better town for people to visit, live and work in.

 

 

the Labour Towns commitment is to say that we have everything we need to be doing better than we are if only we get the right investment. So I'm going to be working with Labour colleagues up and down the country such as The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Labour local council to ensure that we get the investment that we need so that we can mix our heritage, our history as a town, our current and modern future and have a better town for people to visit, live and work in.

James Frith MP: We have everything we need to be doing better than we are, if only we get the right investment

July 19, 2018

    the Labour Towns commitment is to say that we have everything we need to be doing better than we are if only we get the right investment. So I'm going to be working with Labour colleagues up and down the country such as The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Labour local council to ensure that we get the investment that we need so that we can mix our heritage, our history as a town, our current and modern future and have a better town for people to visit, live and work in.

Stevenage is a fantastic place to live, the first post war new town, created from the vision of a Labour Government. Sometimes our towns can feel in the shadow of cities when it comes to getting resources and I think that's partly why many Stevenage people felt they wanted to vote to leave the EU. Read more here about our local Labour plans for major regeneration and our bid to host the New Town Museum.

 

 

 

Cllr Sharon Taylor: Standing up for Stevenage

July 9, 2018

Stevenage is a fantastic place to live, the first post war new town, created from the vision of a Labour Government. Sometimes our towns can feel in the shadow of cities when it comes to getting resources and I think that's partly why many Stevenage people felt they wanted to vote to leave the EU. Read more here about our local Labour plans for major regeneration and our bid to host the New Town Museum.      

Stevenage is a fantastic place to live, the first post war new town, created from the vision of a Labour Government. Sometimes our towns can feel in the shadow of cities when it comes to getting resources and I think that's partly why many Stevenage people felt they wanted to vote to leave the EU. Read more here about our local Labour plans for major regeneration and our bid to host the New Town Museum.

 

 

 

Cllr Sharon Taylor: Standing up for Stevenage

July 9, 2018

Stevenage is a fantastic place to live, the first post war new town, created from the vision of a Labour Government. Sometimes our towns can feel in the shadow of cities when it comes to getting resources and I think that's partly why many Stevenage people felt they wanted to vote to leave the EU. Read more here about our local Labour plans for major regeneration and our bid to host the New Town Museum.      

Slough is officially the most productive town or city in the entire country per capita. It produces more than even the likes of London or Birmingham. Slough is also the youngest city or in the country. It is the youth capital of Britain, having the lowest average age. Read more here about why we want to make sure towns like Slough don’t get overshadowed by huge cities like London.

 

Tan Dhesi MP: Standing up for Slough

July 9, 2018

Slough is officially the most productive town or city in the entire country per capita. It produces more than even the likes of London or Birmingham. Slough is also the youngest city or in the country. It is the youth capital of Britain, having the lowest average age. Read more here about why we want to make sure towns like Slough don’t get overshadowed by huge cities like London.  

Slough is officially the most productive town or city in the entire country per capita. It produces more than even the likes of London or Birmingham. Slough is also the youngest city or in the country. It is the youth capital of Britain, having the lowest average age. Read more here about why we want to make sure towns like Slough don’t get overshadowed by huge cities like London.

 

Tan Dhesi MP: Standing up for Slough

July 9, 2018

Slough is officially the most productive town or city in the entire country per capita. It produces more than even the likes of London or Birmingham. Slough is also the youngest city or in the country. It is the youth capital of Britain, having the lowest average age. Read more here about why we want to make sure towns like Slough don’t get overshadowed by huge cities like London.  

Under this Government our town economies are becoming more disconnected from our booming cities than ever before, says  Jo Platt MP.

The Government has recently released report after report highlighting the burning injustices we are facing in society today. But despite the rhetoric from Whitehall, low social mobility is developing into a crisis in our towns.

Our economy is still not working for the many; and low income families across the country feel divorced from the decision-making process which affects their daily lives.

Firstly, we heard the Government’s Budget which revealed that our country’s productivity is flat-lining.  This is the exact time our country needs economic stability as we leave the European Union, but beyond the quagmire of the Brexit negotiations, the Government is offering little to reassure our towns – who overwhelmingly voted Brexit – that things will get better once we leave the EU.

 

 

The Social Mobility Commission has released its State of the Nation report. It proved to be a damning indictment on this Government’s record on social mobility, and showed a postcode lottery that dictates the type of start a child will get in life.

The Government then published its long awaited Industrial Strategy. Whilst the strategy identified the areas Government can make a substantial difference to our economy, it failed to invest in our small-scale, local infrastructure projects. These are the engines of the economy, but also the foundation of inclusive growth.

And then finally we received the Rail Strategy. It stated the importance of rail connectivity and quality to both our national and local economies to connect people, services, towns and goods across the country, but it did not seek to remedy the fundamental flaw in our transport network; connectivity between towns and cities. Under this Government our town economies are becoming more disconnected from our booming cities than ever before.

So the trickle-down method of investing in our major cities and hoping that this brings regional prosperity has failed. It has failed because the infrastructure needed to facilitate this is non-existent.

Take my constituency of Leigh. It is a town in between Manchester and Liverpool of 50,000 residents, yet it has no train station. There is no A-level provision within the constituency and no rail link to connect Leigh’s young people with A-Level provision outside of the town. Combined with the fact that businesses and apprenticeship providers are understandably more interested in investing in nearby cities than disconnected towns, is it any wonder that towns like Leigh are facing a widening skills gap and increasing unemployment?

But the Government claim that they are more committed than ever to the Northern Powerhouse. It is true that there has been rightful investment into the North to tackle the regional economic disparities; HS2 for example is due to cut through the middle of my constituency. But without any rail capacity or any serious investment into local infrastructures, how are towns like Leigh ever going to benefit from these headline projects?

I have therefore secured an adjournment debate on Friday which focuses on rail connectivity between towns and cities. This debate will focus on the importance of transport infrastructure to rejuvenate the fortunes of our towns, in conjunction with a bold vision to boost our local economies. This must start with how we equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to deliver the jobs of tomorrow. 

Towns like Leigh were born in the boom of the first industrial revolution. My fear is that without the ladders of opportunity from government, they will be merely spectators in the so-called fourth industrial revolution that we are living through today.

My message to the Government is clear, we need a revolution in our approach to how we tackle social mobility which includes investment into local infrastructures, skills, apprenticeships and business growth. Unless we prioritise towns like Leigh, we will leave behind a forgotten generation of young people who were unable to access the employment and educational provisions provided in our nearby cities. 



Jo Platt MP: For our towns in the North to thrive again we need social mobility backed by deeds, not just words

July 9, 2018

Under this Government our town economies are becoming more disconnected from our booming cities than ever before, says  Jo Platt MP. The Government has recently released report after report highlighting the burning injustices we are facing in society today. But despite the rhetoric from Whitehall, low social mobility is developing into a crisis in our towns.

Under this Government our town economies are becoming more disconnected from our booming cities than ever before, says  Jo Platt MP.

The Government has recently released report after report highlighting the burning injustices we are facing in society today. But despite the rhetoric from Whitehall, low social mobility is developing into a crisis in our towns.

Our economy is still not working for the many; and low income families across the country feel divorced from the decision-making process which affects their daily lives.

Firstly, we heard the Government’s Budget which revealed that our country’s productivity is flat-lining.  This is the exact time our country needs economic stability as we leave the European Union, but beyond the quagmire of the Brexit negotiations, the Government is offering little to reassure our towns – who overwhelmingly voted Brexit – that things will get better once we leave the EU.

 

 

The Social Mobility Commission has released its State of the Nation report. It proved to be a damning indictment on this Government’s record on social mobility, and showed a postcode lottery that dictates the type of start a child will get in life.

The Government then published its long awaited Industrial Strategy. Whilst the strategy identified the areas Government can make a substantial difference to our economy, it failed to invest in our small-scale, local infrastructure projects. These are the engines of the economy, but also the foundation of inclusive growth.

And then finally we received the Rail Strategy. It stated the importance of rail connectivity and quality to both our national and local economies to connect people, services, towns and goods across the country, but it did not seek to remedy the fundamental flaw in our transport network; connectivity between towns and cities. Under this Government our town economies are becoming more disconnected from our booming cities than ever before.

So the trickle-down method of investing in our major cities and hoping that this brings regional prosperity has failed. It has failed because the infrastructure needed to facilitate this is non-existent.

Take my constituency of Leigh. It is a town in between Manchester and Liverpool of 50,000 residents, yet it has no train station. There is no A-level provision within the constituency and no rail link to connect Leigh’s young people with A-Level provision outside of the town. Combined with the fact that businesses and apprenticeship providers are understandably more interested in investing in nearby cities than disconnected towns, is it any wonder that towns like Leigh are facing a widening skills gap and increasing unemployment?

But the Government claim that they are more committed than ever to the Northern Powerhouse. It is true that there has been rightful investment into the North to tackle the regional economic disparities; HS2 for example is due to cut through the middle of my constituency. But without any rail capacity or any serious investment into local infrastructures, how are towns like Leigh ever going to benefit from these headline projects?

I have therefore secured an adjournment debate on Friday which focuses on rail connectivity between towns and cities. This debate will focus on the importance of transport infrastructure to rejuvenate the fortunes of our towns, in conjunction with a bold vision to boost our local economies. This must start with how we equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to deliver the jobs of tomorrow. 

Towns like Leigh were born in the boom of the first industrial revolution. My fear is that without the ladders of opportunity from government, they will be merely spectators in the so-called fourth industrial revolution that we are living through today.

My message to the Government is clear, we need a revolution in our approach to how we tackle social mobility which includes investment into local infrastructures, skills, apprenticeships and business growth. Unless we prioritise towns like Leigh, we will leave behind a forgotten generation of young people who were unable to access the employment and educational provisions provided in our nearby cities. 



Jo Platt MP: For our towns in the North to thrive again we need social mobility backed by deeds, not just words

July 9, 2018

Under this Government our town economies are becoming more disconnected from our booming cities than ever before, says  Jo Platt MP. The Government has recently released report after report highlighting the burning injustices we are facing in society today. But despite the rhetoric from Whitehall, low social mobility is developing into a crisis in our towns.