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“Banks should play a part in keeping village high streets alive”

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BANKS should be required to play their part in keeping High Streets alive in places like Stockton Heath.
That’s the view of Andy Carter, prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Warrington South.
He has welcomed a report by the All-Party Treasury Select Committee which says banks are putting the elderly and disabled at risk by disappearing from the High Street.
The committee says 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.
Mr Carter said: “We know 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.”
Mr Carter 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 to ask him to consider what steps he can take to require banks to play their part in keeping our High Streets alive. ”

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