Prospective Warrington South MP Andy Carter has welcomed a report from a powerful group of MPs which says banks are putting the elderly and disabled at risk, by disappearing from the High Street.
The All-Party Treasury Select Committee said banks should be more innovative in the way they deliver ‘face to face services’ by considering a greater expansion of mobile bank branches, through banks sharing facilities with each other, and via the pooling of staff of different banks.
Andy Carter says “We know that the way some people bank has changed and that online services offer very convenient access for some customers who have a computer - but for many elderly residents it makes banking near impossible without a long journey.
He added “I’m very annoyed to see Barclays’ closing their branch in Stockton Heath in June, it wasn’t that long ago that they were closing other nearby branches telling people in surrounding villages to go to Stockton Heath, now they’re saying you have to go into Warrington or use a Post Office. Villages like Stockton Heath need to retain a mix of services on the High Street to benefit all sections of the community.”
Andy also believes The Post Office should not simply be seen as a replacement for bank branches, but a complimentary proposition where available. “In cases where the ‘last bank in town’ is due to close, banks should be required to provide and fund ‘banking hubs’ in the local Post Office, with adequately trained staff. It’s not fair for taxpayers to be subsidising the big six banks’ lack of branches. I hope the government will take steps to ensure that the Post Office receives adequate funding from banks for the services it provides on their behalf and I’ve written to the High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP to ask him to consider what steps he can take to require banks to play their part in keeping our High Streets alive. ”
The Conservative government published their first annual Financial Inclusion Report in March 2019 which showed its commitment and progress to building an economy where everyone, regardless of their background or income, can access the financial services and products they need.