A LANARKSHIRE town is at the heart of a new initiative to provide free cash withdrawals in shops. 

Cambuslang will be one of two locations across the UK to launch the million pound pilot scheme, which will allow consumers to withdraw money from PayPoint terminals in shops without paying a fee.

Starting in October 2020 and forming part of the Community Access to Cash Pilots, the trial will initially be piloted in 15 shops across the South Lanarkshire town.

Cambuslang went from having three bank branches to having none in the space of 18 months from 2016. At the same time the number of cash machines dropped from four to two.

John Bachtler, chair of Cambuslang Community Council, said: "A few years ago all three of our bank branches closed and that had an impact on businesses who experienced a significant drop in trade.

"They also had to go to neighbouring towns to access banking services.

"It's also consumers and particularly the more vulnerable residents, the elderly and those on low incomes, who had difficulty getting access to cash.

Glasgow Times: ATM machine

"It creates difficulties in financial management. We have a significant amount of people in our community who still rely on using physical cash so they can control their weekly outgoings." 

The hub will be for banking services only, including paying in and withdrawing money and any major UK bank customer will be able to use it.

It came after feedback from locals in Cambuslang found that the existing post office was difficult to do transactional banking services because people were queuing and using wider services such as posting a parcel.

Cambuslang will also be part of a trial where community groups such as Citizens Advice will be able to provide support on issues such as mortgage and debt advice.

Mr Bachtler added to Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "We are going to have Scotland's first banking hub and taking over an empty retail outlet to provide physical services. 

"There will also be cashback points.

"This is something we, and others, have been pushing for for many years. Anyone can go in and pay cheques, make deposits, and there will also be space for people to meet with their local bank.

"We are expecting this should start in early 2021 and run for six months as a pilot. We hope this will be a longer term success."