A national union says the Government must act to save hundreds of jobs in the cash industry after people switched to electronic payments during the pandemic.
The GMB said cash-security company Loomis was shedding 200 jobs at branches in Southampton, Liverpool, Wembley and its Glasgow Coin centre.
The union said the business was also cutting its head count at other branches, leading to 222 job losses altogether.
The GMB wants the Government to make it easier for people to access cash. A spokesman for Nottingham-based Loomis said they were having to adapt to changes in demand for cash.
The union said the cuts come on top of more than 300 announced by Loomis in August and more than 1,000 announced by G4S in July.
The union said a cashless society risked the loss of thousands of jobs in the money sector, and damage the lives of the elderly and the vulnerable as well as small and medium enterprises.
GMB said while cashpoint usage had plummeted, areas where cash use remained steady were often the most deprived.
LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, said withdrawals were down 81 per cent in the City of London and Westminster, 71 per cent in central Glasgow, and 65 per cent in central Sheffield, York and Bath.
However, its figures suggest withdrawals are down just 23 per cent in Liverpool’s Walton constituency, 24 per cent in Birmingham’s Hodge Hill, and less than 27 per cent in parts of Bradford.
A spokesman for Loomis UK said they wanted more people to keep using cash.
He said: “We are reorganising our business to adapt to the changing way our customers are operating, and unfortunately this will result in a reduced number of branches and associated roles.
“Cash plays a vital role in society, and the changes announced today will not impact any of the shops and stores that rely on our services across the UK.
“As part of our plans, we are developing new solutions and services that enable businesses and their customers to continue using cash safely and securely.”
Roger Jenkins, GMB national officer, said: “Our Loomis members and their families will be devastated. GMB Union will fight to save every single job.
“This is another crushing blow to the cash industry and a dangerous step closer to a cashless society.
“Losing cash will hit the elderly and most vulnerable hardest and trash small businesses.
“Allowing cashback without purchase is no solution – removing the expertise and security of the cash-in-transit industry will be a bonanza for organised crime.
“GMB is calling on the Government to take action to protect the cash industry before it disappears – it’s only once it’s gone we will realise how much we need it.”
There are currently 42,000 free-to-use ATMs across the UK and 13,000 charging ATMs.
Link said at the start of the pandemic, around 7,200 ATMs closed – many located in premises which were shut by the Government restrictions.
It said cash machine withdrawals between April and September fell by 48 per cent compared to the same time last year, but by the end of September more than half of those ATMs had reopened.
Link’s head of financial inclusion Nick Quin said: “Every city, town and village has a different story.
“In places like city centres, it’s less busy overall, so there are fewer people using ATMs.
“In some rural areas, though, there have been fewer tourists or perhaps the local shop, where the ATM is hosted, temporarily closed.
“What’s clear is that there are places around the country, where more people rely on cash.
“They’re often some of the most deprived places in the country.
“That’s important because while there are more people who prefer to use cards and shop online, there are a lot of people out there where digital payments still don’t work.
“We’re delighted to see that the Government recently launched a consultation to protect access to cash.
“Covid-19 has changed payment habits, possibly forever, but cash still remains important and it’s vital we protect it.”