HM Treasury written question – answered on 9th February 2017.

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Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Conservative, Rochester and Strood

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps he has taken to support high street banking for local communities.

Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

High streets are a crucial part of our local and regional economies. The Government wants to see vibrant hubs where people live, shop, use services, and spend their leisure time.

A new agreement between the Post Office and UK banks, announced on 24 January 2017, means that more individuals and businesses can use 11,600 local Post Office branches to access a wider range of banking services. Thanks to the new agreement, the Post Office estimates that 99% of personal bank customers and 75% of business customers will now be able to do their day to day banking at a Post Office.

The Government recognises the need to support local communities to adapt to changes in banking, including when bank branches close. In March 2015, the Government helped to broker an industry-wide agreement to work with customers and communities to minimise the impact of bank branch closures and put in place alternative banking services. The Government welcomed Professor Russel Griggs’ recent review of the Protocol and is pleased to see the industry commit to further improvements to protect those affected by closures.

The Government has also made a manifesto commitment to support credit unions in making financial services more accessible. Credit unions are democratic, not-for-profit, financial services providers which are owned and run by members of their community and who provide affordable, sustainable credit to their members.

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