The South Lanarkshire town of Cambuslang is one of many UK towns hit by the unrelenting wave of branch closures and removal of ATMs over the past decade.

The consequences are significant financial hardship for many individuals, and a further weakening of the viability of town centres.

From 2016, three bank branches in Cambuslang – Clydesdale, RBS and TSB – closed over an 18-month period with little notice. This left a town of 25,000 people, the fourth largest in South Lanarkshire, with no bank.

Survey research conducted by Cambuslang Community Council found that branch closures have had overwhelmingly negative effects on the community. Residents – particularly the most vulnerable – say they are struggling to access cash, with some unable to afford the bus fare to a town with a bank.

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Those most affected are the elderly, the disabled, benefit recipients, those with caring responsibilities, and those on low incomes.

Meanwhile, local businesses report a loss of trade – by up to a third in some cases – as customers shop elsewhere. Many local residents admit that, without access to their money, they use their local shops less frequently.

Shopkeepers highlight that ATM limits are often too low to withdraw enough cash to pay staff wages.

The report of the Scottish Affairs Committee provided compelling evidence that our local experiences are shared across Scotland.

It systematically refutes the arguments made by the banks to justify branch closures. The reality, as our own local survey found, is that many people want to conduct banking business face-to-face – and for many, online banking is not an option.

Branch closures undermine UK and Scottish government policies for town centre regeneration. In places like Cambuslang, they also increase social exclusion.

The UK Government needs to act quickly. Every day that it drags its feet, the banks close more branches, and more communities lose vital access to cash.

We strongly supported the committee’s recommendation for a statutory obligation on the banks to provide a minimum level of service in communities over a certain size – whether they are in urban areas like Cambuslang, or in rural areas.

This needs to provide access to cash in excess of ATM limits, the scope to lodge cheques that immediately go into the clearing system, the facility to deposit business takings, and a referral service on other financial issues.

First, there is a need for a strategic approach to the provision of banking services, currently governed only by voluntary agreements.

Second, the different players in the banking, payments and cash machine systems need to work together to ensure the public need for access to cash is guaranteed, and only the UK Government can do this.

And third, we need to be imaginative in finding solutions, learning from examples in other countries that are known to work. One is a mobile banking service, both for rural areas and in towns.

Another is for the banks to overcome the IT obstacles to provide shared or "neutral" branches or hubs. A further option is to have pop-up branches in vacant premises.

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When the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, read the recommendations of the Scottish Affairs Committee report, we hoped he would avoid the stock response that he cannot interfere in the decisions of the banks.

Instead, we invite him to Cambuslang. To meet the shift workers who are struggling with financial management because they can’t get to a bank in another town in their lunch break. To meet the disabled and elderly who, without access to a bank in walking distance, can no longer manage their finances independently. And to meet the local shopkeepers having to close early to get to a bank in another town before it shuts.

If Mr Javid truly cares about social inequality, we urge him to respond constructively to the Scottish Affairs Committee report to ensure that no town is left without basic access to banking facilities.

• John Bachtler is chairman of Cambuslang Community Council which hosted the launch of the Scottish Affairs Committee Report on Access to Cash in Scotland