General Election 2015: Mastercard's Ann Cairns wants greater devolution and more technological innovation

 
Ann Cairns
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Ann Cairns is president, international markets at Mastercard

ELECTION COUNTDOWN: 15 DAYS TO GO

Every day until the final week of the election campaign, we ask a business leader to say what policies would entice them to vote for a particular party.

ANN CAIRNS: PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL MARKETS, MASTERCARD

■ Reduce reliance on cash to drive economic growth - Cash costs 0.5-1.5 per cent of GDP and facilitates the black and grey economy, creating inefficiency for business and government. By working with business the Government can reduce cash in the economy for the benefit of society
■ Drive productivity through innovation - private sector productivity can be driven through the integration of electronic payment technologies into initiatives which support small business. In the UK, only 42 per cent of SMEs currently accept electronic payments, resulting in losses of £7bn. We have seen how Commercial cards and mobile point of sale devices can provide cost effective solutions, increasing sales and capturing VAT information. Missed VAT capture alone costs the government £34bn/annum
■ Build an innovative and included society - reinstate financial inclusion as a UK public policy, including a commitment to advance and innovate user friendly products to assist the financially excluded. Nearly two million adults in the UK still do not have access to a bank account. Innovation can offer solutions. ‘Bank account lite’ prepaid cards are now being used in many countries across the globe to bring people into the financial system and to issue welfare payments
■ Drive efficiency in transit - Help Britain lead the way in transit innovation by committing to introducing integrated contactless ticketing across all modes of UK public transport. In London passengers are already embracing the use if their contactless card or phone, without ever having to queue at a ticket machine – making over one million contactless payments each day on TFL alone. We would like to see this happen across the country.
■ Continue to support the devolution of powers within the UK- The success of London is phenomenal, and being from Newcastle, I also want to see the North and other regions succeed and grow. Collaborative initiatives and encouragement of Local Authorities and National Governments to use electronic payments to streamline their processes unlock valuable resources. Many Local Authorities have reported savings of 5-10 per cent by doing this, which can be used to fund more frontline services
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