The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Union step­ping up bank branch ef­forts

- BY ALAN JONES Finance · Banking · Business · United Kingdom · Brighton · Hook

A cam­paign to save bank branches is be­ing stepped up amid grow­ing con­cern at the num­ber be­ing closed.

Unite, which rep­re­sents staff work­ing in banks across the coun­try, said an in­creas­ing num­ber of lo­cal branches were clos­ing.

The union said that two-thirds of the United King­dom’s bank branches have closed in the past 30 years.

Unite na­tional officer Do­minic Hook said: “The scale of bank branch clo­sures over the last decade has been un­prece­dented.

“The dam­age done to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, small busi­nesses and staff as

“Scale of bank branch clo­sures over the last decade un­prece­dented”

a re­sult of the de­ci­sion of the bank­ing sec­tor to aban­don lo­cal bank­ing is dev­as­tat­ing,” Mr Hook added.

“How do com­mu­ni­ties sur­vive when cus­tomers can­not ac­cess cash, small busi­nesses can­not do their bank­ing lo­cally and the el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble can­not get the lo­cal fi­nan­cial ex­per­tise they need?”

Unite will be stag­ing an event in Brighton to­day as part of its cam­paign.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at con­sumer group Which?, said: “Banks are clos­ing their branches at an alarm­ing rate, which risks shut­ting many peo­ple out of vi­tal fi­nan­cial ser­vices and af­fect­ing their abil­ity to ac­cess their own cash.

“The next gov­ern­ment should in­ter­vene to prop­erly pro­tect cash for as long as it is needed and help the many peo­ple strug­gling for vi­tal cash ac­cess,” he added.

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