Nearly half (44%) of small hospitality and leisure businesses in the UK rely on cash daily, according to recent research of more than 500 small businesses by the Post Office. This is three times the number for all small businesses.
With COVID-19 restrictions easing across the UK and continuing uncertainty with international travel, the August Bank Holiday weekend is a crucial trading period for the UK’s leisure and hospitality sector as millions of people take Staycations.
The research found that 82% of hospitality business owners agreed that cash is an important payment option for customers when it comes to hospitality and leisure services. This was much higher than the view of SMEs as a whole at 56%. The research also found that 49% hospitality and leisure business owners said that if their business did not accept cash, many customers would not use their goods or services.
The research found that 34% of the hospitality and leisure industry would be concerned about the safety and security of their business if they didn’t have the ability to deposit cash at the end of the day, with 42% saying they have been directly affected by bank branch closures in the UK.
Similar sentiments about cash are felt amongst consumers, as 34% of respondents surveyed by YouGov for Post Office aged between 35-44 agreed that without cash, there were things they couldn’t do or would feel excluded from. For those aged over 55, this was even higher as 47% agreed that this were the case. Cash also provides a safety net, with more than half of consumers feeling that having cash provides them with a sense of safety and security.
Martin Kearsley, Banking Director at Post Office, said:
“Now more than ever access to cash is so important for many different parts of the economy, and none more so than the hospitality and leisure industry, which has been so badly affected by the pandemic. Millions of small businesses within this sector rely on cash to operate and almost half rely on it daily to survive.
“As everyone looks forward to the August Bank Holiday weekend with staycation trips planned, or meetings arranged with friends and family at the local pub or coffee shop, we’re calling on the public to consider what would happen if they didn’t have cash whilst they are out and about and to support our ‘Save Our Cash’ campaign calling for the Government to speed up legislation to protect access to cash for the millions of people and businesses that rely on it.”
The Post Office’s ‘Save Our Cash’ campaign demonstrates the urgent need to make cash access a legal right. That is why the Post Office is calling on the public to write to their MP to support policies and legislation to protect cash.
The Post Office network maintains more than 11,500 branches, with 99% of the population living within three miles of a Post Office. On average, over £2 billion of cash is withdrawn and deposited per month at Post Office branches. Annual volumes of cash withdrawals via Post Office counters have grown by 46%, to £7.8 billion since the start of the Banking Framework in 2017, and cash deposits have increased by 110% to £22.1 billion in the same period.