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Homeless people should be given card readers, Government told

Vulnerable people could be affected as fewer people carry cash. Credit: PA

The Government has been urged to give card readers and bank accounts to the homeless as many people no longer carry cash.

The call comes as concerns are raised at Westminster over access to money in the face of increasing contactless payments and the declining number of cash machines.

The Government has also acknowledged cash use is reducing as a payment option, which has implications for the most vulnerable.

A House of Lords peer has claimed fewer people are carrying cash. Credit: PA

Speaking in the House of Lords, former MP Baroness Tong, who sits as a non-affiliated peer, said: "As the more affluent members of our society no longer carry cash, will the Government consider giving bank accounts and card readers to the destitute and homeless on our streets?"

Responding, Tory frontbencher Lord Bates said: "Cash continues to be carried by the vast majority of the population.

"One of the things we have advanced is fee-free banking, which revolutionised the approach for many people in precisely the situations she refers to."

Tory peer Lord Naseby pointed out that a significant proportion of people were "suffering" as a result of the reduced access to cash.

Lord Bates said: "A situation is emerging where people, particularly the most vulnerable, are seeing access to cash beginning to reduce as a payment option.

"One in six transactions used to be made in cash; at the moment it is one in three, and it will go down to one in 10.

"This is an inevitable consequence of the movement of technology.

"We need to adjust, but we are committed to supporting access to cash for the most vulnerable people."