CHARGING to withdraw money from a cash machine would be outlawed under proposals to end "rip-off" fees being lodged at Westminster.

Nearly one in five of Scotland's free to use cash machines are expected to introduce charges to customers wanting to withdraw their money in the next 12 months.

Gerard Killen, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West now wants Parliament to make charging cash machines illegal and protect free access to cash.

The planned move comes as it further emerged Renfrewshire Council has launched its own probe into charging cash machines, following concerns that the Ferguslie Park area of Paisley, already one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, has no free-to-use cash machines.

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Mr Killen has already registered his concerns after seeing one ATM in Main Street, Rutherglen begin charging customers for withdrawals at the start of the year after being previously free to use.

Now he says he plans to lodge amendments to the Finance Bill 2019, which would lead to the outlawing of fee-charging ATMs.

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He said: “The figures paint a very bleak future for the operation of ATMs in Scotland, with free to use machines in Glasgow amongst the most threatened in the UK.

“This is exactly what myself and campaigners have been warning about for more than a year. Yet despite consistent and sustained warnings that their cuts would cause an increase in fee-charging ATMs, Link have ignored the overwhelming consensus.

“The conversion of ATMs to fee-charging machines, and the subsequent costs incurred by consumers, is a direct a result of Link’s stubbornness, and I hold them fully responsible.”

“ATM charges are a rip-off. No one should have to pay to access their own money. I will continue to fight for free access to cash and look at possible amendments to a Finance Bill or bringing back my Private Member’s Bill in the new session.”

It has been revealed that the ATM Industry Association warned that as many as 1000 cashpoints in Scotland will turn to charging in the next year as it emerged the rate of cashpoint closures in Scotland has shot up in the last year.

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The non-profit trade group, whose members include banks such as HSBC, independent ATM operators and payment systems such as Visa say the problem revolves around a 10% or 2p cut in the fee that the bank pays cash machine operators every time money is withdrawn.

They have warned that the move to charging cash machines will increase if LINK, which oversees the UK's largest cash machine network, moves to cut the fee even further.

Renfrewshire Council council officers are currently examining what action the local authority can take to increase the number of free-to-use cash machines.

Councillors passed a motion saying that it was "concerned by the increasing numbers of ATM's which charge a fee for withdrawals. These fees can have disproportionate and detrimental impact on people with fixed incomes, for example benefits, pensions and individuals who cannot afford to travel to access a free to use ATM."

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Stephen Burns, the Paisley Southwest councillor, one of those who put up the motion said he went to a cash machine at a Paisley newsagent to withdraw £10, only to find he would have to pay an "unacceptable" £1.80 withdrawal charge which he would not pay and walked to an ATM at a large retailer.

He said: "Let's send a clear message that the ATM fees are not welcome in Renfrewshire."

Paisley Northwest councillor Kenny MacLaren co-signatory to the motion was concerned about the effect particularly on Ferguslie Park in Paisley, which three years ago was identified as the area of Scotland with the greatest level of deprivation.

He that many of the residents of Ferguslie are on benefits and fixed incomes and having to pay to withdraw money "would cause more hardship".

He said: "This situation has been caused by the greed of the large banks, looking to make more money from ordinary people.

"The local shops which host these ATMs have little say on what happens. It is the public that loses out."

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Ron Delnevo, the ATM Industry Association executive director for Europe has pledged to get all his independent members to switch charging machines back to free if that interchange fee cut is axed within six months, or he would quit.

LINK do not believe that the current 2p cut justifies the imposition of charges of a pound or more at ATMs.

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But according to a study by the association Scotland is the second most at risk area in the UK in terms of the threat to free cash machines. Glasgow is one of the five worst affected areas outside of London.

Meanwhile the number of cash machines in Scotland have gone at a rate of 32 a month in the 11 months to April There are now 6008 LINK cashpoints in Scotland, with 359 gone over 11 months. Of those 1140 are charging ATMs.

In the 11 months to November, last year, cash machines were going at a rate or 28 a month.

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Scotland has seen over 400 bank branches close since 2015, making it one of the worst affected areas in the UK, and often the cashpoints will also go. Banks who have made the cuts consistently say that it is the result of customers preferring to use online, mobile or telephone banking while usage of branches has fallen.

A LINK spokesman said: "Scotland continues to have excellent coverage of ATMs and Post Offices, where consumers can continue to access their cash for free.

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"Cash use is declining and LINK will continue to provide free access to cash for as long as people need it, but we need to look at the recommendations of the recent Access to Cash Review."