The Bank of England says one in five people consider cash to be their preferred payment method, and use it day to day.
How many more would use cash if banks, tech firms and retailers weren’t trying to eradicate it from our lives? We have found ourselves in the ludicrous situation where some banks in central London do not even accept cash.
Who does this benefit? Certainly not the average consumer. The elderly, disabled and those who struggle with technology are the obvious losers from a cashless society. But the rest of us lose our privacy and the right to choose how we pay.
Cash usage increased for the first time in 13 years last year, as households started budgeting with physical money during the cost of living crisis. Nationwide says there were more than 30 million withdrawals from its cash machines last year – up 19pc compared with 2021.
Politicians of all stripes have spoken about the need to maintain access to cash, but it is even more important to ensure that we can spend it. If you cannot use cash on your local high street then it is doomed to disappear, and MPs must urgently wise up to this fact.
It is more than 20 years since Dilip Soman of the University of Toronto published research warning that card use encouraged customers to overspend.