CENTRAL Fife could become a "cash desert" after a decline in the number of ATMs.

In the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency area, there has been a 17 per cent decrease in the number of cash machines since 2018 with a total of 101 now left in use.

This means there is only 7.2 free ATMs per 10,000 people and only 0.47 free ATMs per square KM.

Elsewhere in Fife, there are just 82 free ATMs in the Glenrothes area, a drop of 20 per cent from 2018. In Dunfermline and West Fife, there has been an eleven per cent decrease with 100 now left in use.

The figures have been collated by finance consumer website The Grade to highlight the lack of access to cash faced in many parts of the country.

Their report said cash is back on the increase as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

It adds: "Many Brits are finding it simpler to monitor and control their budgets by dealing in notes and coins. The Post Office, for example, reported that it handled £3.45 billion in cash across its counters in August – the highest since its records began.

"Secondly, many older and vulnerable people rely on cash. The Bank of England’s recent report, “Knocked down during lockdown: the return of cash”, highlighted that cash use remains essential for many groups.

“Cash continues to be an important form of money for many – one in five people consider it to be their preferred payment method and 1.1 million people rely on it for their everyday spending.

"Even for those who may not use it day-to-day, cash remains an important back-up option.”