Barclays Bank is threatened with closure.  Photo credit: Google Maps
Barclays Bank is threatened with closure. Photo credit: Google Maps

I’m extremely disappointed that Barclays Bank have announced the closure of their Muswell Hill branch in June.  Read about the closure in our local campaigning newspaper, the Ham & High.

It’s another blow for our high street, only a few months after Lloyds Bank closed and HSBC closed their counters.  It’s terrible for our small businesses who need to be able to deposit cash safely and for customers, especially elderly and vulnerable people, who trust knowledgeable branch staff.

Eight million people in this country still rely on cash, yet since 2015 bank branches have been closing at the rate of 50 a month.  This relentless programme of bank closures only widens inequality by accelerating the move towards a cashless society.  I’ve urged Barclays to reconsider, and I’ll keep pushing the Government to ensure that any legislation to protect access to cash includes essential face-to-face banking.

Please show your support and sign my petition calling on Barclays to rethink their plans to close their Muswell Hill branch.

Save Barclays in Muswell Hill

We, the undersigned, are extremely disappointed that Barclays has announced the closure of their Muswell Hill branch in June 2022. Millions of people still rely on cash and we believe this relentless programme of bank closures only widens inequality by accelerating the move towards a cashless society. We urge Barclays to reconsider, and appeal to them to consider the social impact of their proposed closure.

On 29 March, I wrote to the Chancellor to urge him to act now and follow through on the promise this Government made two years ago to deliver legislation to protect access to cash.

Dear Chancellor,

I am writing to you following the announcement that Barclays Bank will close their Muswell Hill branch, in my constituency, in June 2022.  This is yet another blow for our high street, for small businesses and for customers, especially elderly and vulnerable people, who trust knowledgeable branch staff.

As you are aware, I have repeatedly raised my concerns in Parliament following a series of bank closures across my constituency.  Sadly, what my constituents are experiencing is being echoed across the country.  Since 2015, bank branches have been closing at the rate of 50 a month, yet we know that over 8 million adults would struggle to cope in a cashless society.

We should not underestimate the anxiety and distress that many vulnerable people feel when bank branches close and what those closures mean for the local high street. According to Which, 1.9 million people rely on cash for nearly every transaction they make, and it is vital that no one is left behind by the transition to more digital forms of payment.  Local businesses, charities and church groups have also told me that they have serious safety concerns if they are unable to deposit cash takings locally at the end of the day.   

By not protecting access to cash, we risk exacerbating inequality and shutting people out from access to vital everyday services.  I am also worried that many free-to-use ATMs are being converted to pay-to-use ATMs, particularly in deprived communities. An unmanaged drift to a cashless society would do significant harm to millions of people across the country and could have a substantial impact on jobs and businesses. I believe you must ensure that the most vulnerable in our society can still access financial services in their communities.

It is more important than ever that the Government works with businesses and local communities to secure a sustainable cash system and financial inclusion. I urge you to bring forward the Government’s promised legislation to protect access to cash. If we do not get to grips with this task quickly, the cost of inaction or, indeed, slow action will only make the inequalities that we see even more severe.

I would be most grateful if you could review the raised concerns and clarify when exactly the Government will bring forward its promised legislation on access to cash.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine

 

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