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Councils must encourage more 'free' ATMs says minister

File photo dated 18/03/13 of money being taken out of a cash machine. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Councils should encourage shops to install free cash machines by offering business rate discounts, a Government Minister has said.

Local Government Minister Penny Mordaunt said that small shops often struggle with local rates payable on cash machines, so giving them an incentive to install free machines would help their businesses and consumers facing fees at the same time.

Ms Mordaunt said: "People should not have to pay through the nose to access their cash. Free-to-use cash machines are a vital service that we are asking councils to take seriously."

The suggestion was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which said half of local stores now contained an ATM.

Despite the growth of cashless payment systems many small stores still rely on cash. But machines in shops can often charge fees of several pounds to users no matter how big the withdrawal.

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