Santander Closures and Local Communities — [Philip Davies in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 4:09 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 4:09 pm, 14th February 2019

I was laying out the statistics to show the rapidity of the direction of change. On the point made by Jonathan Reynolds, we must look at alternative provision. I recognise the point made by Luke Pollard about South West Mutual. I will meet Tony Greenham, the executive director of South West Mutual, on 26 February, to discuss regional mutual banking in the era of expansion of alternatives. I will attend the Annual Conference of the Association of British Credit Unions Limited on Saturday 9 March, to look at how to expand the role of credit unions. When I visited Glasgow I met the 1st Class Credit Union and saw its appetite to develop new delivery models. I recognise it is an area we must invest in.

The hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport made the point about learning from overseas; I recognise that is important, too. That is why the Chancellor’s Budget of 29 October included pilots for interest-free loans. We looked at the way credit unions function so they can be given more freedom to develop an alternative presence and range of services. At a micro level, that will sometimes be a relevant alternative to provide for communities in difficulties.