More vulnerable and older people are being isolated from the community with the country's growing cashless society, a Llanidloes businesswoman has told Senedd members.

Award-winning small business owner Trudy Davies, who runs Woosnam and Davies Newsagents, shared her perspective by giving evidence to the Senedd's petitions committee this week which discussed the ability of vulnerable people to pay with cash.

Trudy raised concerns that rural communities, such as Llanidloes, will suffer if coins and notes are ditched with many people still only depending on cash to budget especially during the cost-of-living crisis.

Trudy, who is also a Llanidloes Town Council member, raised issues with Senedd members about the town not having a bank, cash machines often having ran out of money, and poor internet connection for Wi-Fi card machines which all puts pressure on local businesses.

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“You could lose half a day's business before you've sorted it out and your machines are up and running again,” she explained.

“I think we tend to forget the fact that there are older people and more vulnerable people. And I have a few customers that have special needs—they come in, and they just don't understand cards and the banking, and they just like cash.

“We're almost isolating people because they're almost getting afraid to come out. They find it so complicated. I want them to be integrated into our community and be out and about and having a cup of coffee in the cafe and having a chat.

“It's part of their well-being as well, isn't it, to be talking to people on a daily basis in the shop. And if cash does go, I feel that we're doing them an injustice. It sounds a bit woolly, the way I'm saying it.

"It's because I'm so passionate about my community and the people within it, I want to do more. We're very competent in using cards and things; not everybody is, and we perhaps are forgetting them.”

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Trudy told the committee that she would welcome more banking hubs across Wales which would help people who do not have access to online banking which is being pushed more and more with branches closing in rural areas.

“My father's 85; I'm his only carer, his only child," she said.

"He lives 14 miles away from me, and his nearest branch to do any business—if he wants to open a new account, transfer money et cetera—because he doesn't deal with Wi-Fi and he hasn't got a mobile phone, is Builth Wells, which is an hour's drive there and an hour's drive back for me.

"It means me taking half a day off work to get him there, because he can't go on his own. So, that's another reason why the hubs would be really important in all of the towns.”