Post Office Network

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 28th June 2000.

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Photo of Martin Salter Martin Salter Labour, Reading West 3:30 pm, 28th June 2000

My right hon. Friend's statement is welcome news for many of the communities left high and dry by the decision of Barclays bank earlier this year to close 172 branches on one day, leaving 84 towns and villages bankless. The statement has the potential to provide a financial lifeline to communities facing financial exclusion. The all-party group on community banking, which it is my privilege to chair, has long argued for creative solutions to financial exclusion, using the existing post office network. In what way will the new and welcome universal bank differ from the Girobank, which was privatised by the Tories? If the Tories ever get their hands on power again, what guarantees will we have that the universal bank will not suffer a similar fate?