INVERCLYDE'S MP today warned that our elderly and lowest paid are set to lose out as access to their own cash begins to disappear.

Ronnie Cowan is stepping up a campaign to highlight the problems being caused by the closure of banks and post offices and the loss of cash machines offering free withdrawals.

He spoke out as the TSB prepares to shut its branch in Port Glasgow despite protests.

A dire warning was issued this week that the ATM network in the country is in danger of 'dying' and government advisers are urging ministers to step in and avoid the collapse of the cash network.

There are calls being made for the UK to follow the lead of Sweden, where banks are formally obligated to make cash available in all parts of the country.

Although cash usage has fallen during the pandemic, it's estimated that around eight million people still rely on it.

Now MP Mr Cowan is calling on the UK chancellor to step in to help support people in Inverclyde and stop cash machines disappearing from our streets.

Mr Cowan said: "People who will suffer the most are the elderly, who use cash all the time, and low earners.

"There is going to be less access to free withdrawals.

"We are moving to a cashless society and people need support."

Mr Cowan and SNP colleagues Stuart McMillan MSP and Councillor Jim MacLeod unsuccessfully tried to persuade TSB bosses to keep the Port branch open.

But management refused to reverse their decision and stated there were only 22 regular customers using it.

Now as the number of free-to-use cash machines in the area declines, Mr Cowan has asked Rishi Sunak to act on 'access to cash' in his budget statement.

He said: "I have campaigned on access to cash and the need for people to be able to obtain their money, freely, at a bank within their community.

"Sadly, we’re seeing a number of ATMs in Inverclyde becoming pay-to-access cash and more bank branches closing, such as TSB in Port Glasgow.

"I urge the Treasury to bring forward its response on access to cash and the next steps."

The Treasury says it knows cash is 'vital for millions of people' and added that it had launched a call for evidence on cash access at the end of last year.

It says it is currently considering the responses received.