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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cashback King

Sometimes it is possible to give too much information in one's contribution to Plenary questions and debates. Back in the first Assembly there was the famous case of an AM, who no longer sits as such, informing us about his wife's underwear buying preferences. Nick Ramsey's question to the First Minister yesterday was not quite in that league but it was revealing nevertheless:

Nick Ramsay: I was pleased that Dai Lloyd asked this question, and I concur with his comments. I was also pleased to hear what the First Minister had to say about the Government’s discussions with LINK. The figure that I have states that 140 free cash machines have been installed; I think that you said 144, so your statistics are more up to date than mine. Building on what Dai Lloyd said, it is not just our deprived areas that are affected by the lack of free cash machines, as this also affects rural areas—although, in many cases, there is an overlap. I suppose that I should declare an interest, in that I live in a rural area and have become known as the 'cash-back king’ in my local pub; I always ask for cash-back as there is no free ATM nearby. Sadly, as I am sure Jeff Cuthbert, as co-chair of the cross-party beer and pub group, would agree, the pub is not always open, so I want to see more free cash machines. Can you ensure that—

The Presiding Officer: Order. This is very interesting, but—[Laughter.]

Nick Ramsay: I thought that you would like it.

The Presiding Officer: We would like a question, to learn why you are called 'the cash-back king’.

Nick Ramsay: First Minister, in your discussions with LINK and other organisations, can you ensure that you focus not only on machines serving student populations and deprived areas, but on rural areas, so that people like me do not have to rely on shops being open to access cash?

The First Minister: I would be more than concerned, as a politician, if I was referred to as 'the cash-back king’—especially if I used that description myself. [Laughter.] I advise you to be careful at election time, to ensure that you do not breach any of the rules set down by the Electoral Commission.

The least he could have done is to name the pub so as to give them free publicity.
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