Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeCOVID-19Fight for the right to flash the cash

Fight for the right to flash the cash


A SHORT while ago I popped into a pub garden here in Stockport to order a half of cider whilst on a walk. The young lady who attended upon me wore an ominous black mask and when she produced a card machine I advised her I was paying cash as a new card was in the post. This halted proceedings abruptly as the young lady advised me that ‘we no longer accept cash’. I fought the point with the pub manager and eventually they took money from me as it was the exact sum and therefore they felt on this occasion they could make an exception.

There had been an incident some months earlier when my cash was refused in a pub as it was not deemed ‘Covid-safe’. In both these cases I have written to management but I was saddened when at Criccieth in Wales recently I witnessed a little girl of seven or eight – who had clearly been saving her pennies – present the coins to a van, an outpost of a nearby restaurant, to buy a chocolate bar. The girl behind the counter said she was sorry but no cash could be accepted and mum would have to use her card.

The Covid hysteria is virtually always the excuse given, citing advice from the World Health Organisation, though the WHO denies ever saying that cash should not be used. 

Which? magazine currently has a campaign to maintain cash availability and has recruited many big players (among them Aldi, Asda, John Lewis, Co-op) who promised to keep accepting cash. The GMB union is also vigorously campaigning for cash and you can sign its petition online. The Post Office has pitched in with a promise to defend ready money as cash withdrawal points close.

We are advised by John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, that the government is moving into gear to defend cash, and legislation consultation is expected this summer. 

But although many friends are coming out of the shadows in its defence, it is safe to say that cash has a fight on its hands to survive.

Why is cash important? Here are just a few considerations that will hopefully give you ammunition when next you are turned down as a customer who wishes to use it:

Many people, including the elderly and those without bank accounts, still depend upon cash and have difficulty if it is declined;

Withoucash, banks (and indirectly government) will hold complete power over you – every move you make, every place you go and every financial decision you make will be observed and recorded and therefore controlled. It would be easy to ‘switch you off’ in the future;

Your children will never hold cash in their hand and will not know as clearly the value of things; the joy of Grandad giving you some pennies for a treat will be dead;

‘Gravity’ is where you literally see how much you have left and it slows down your spending . . . a few beers and ‘contactless’ soon takes you to distant spending limits you never thought to travel to!

And finally another aspect of our history, our tradition and our culture will have been stripped away and consigned to the electronic bin of a newly emergent rewritten history.

So I urge you to consider taking a stand and remember: ‘Cash Is King’.

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Stephen Speakman
Stephen Speakman
Stephen Speakman has been a teacher and a local government housing officer. He is now retired.

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