Bank Services: Post Offices

Treasury written question – answered on 14th September 2022.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the number of banking hubs that have opened in the last 12 months.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of recent bank and ATM closures on elderly and vulnerable people who rely on cash.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the impact of bank branch closures on access to cash in (a) Slough and (b) Berkshire.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an estimate of the number of banking hubs that will open in (a) Slough and (b) Berkshire in the next five years.

Photo of Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Government recognises that cash remains an important part of daily life for millions of people across the UK, including those who may be in vulnerable groups or elderly.

In recognition of this, the Government has introduced legislation to protect access to cash as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill. The Bill intends to establish the Financial Conduct Authority as the lead regulator for cash access and provide it with appropriate powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities.

The FCA has issued clear guidance that firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. For example, for consumers and SMEs wishing to access over-the-counter services, the Post Office Banking Framework allows 99% of personal banking and 95% of business banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK.

Following the Government’s commitment to legislate, firms are also working together through the Cash Action Group to develop new initiatives to provide shared services. This includes a process for LINK (which operates the UK’s main ATM network) to assess a community’s needs in the event of a closure of a core cash service or community request and determine if additional facilities are required, such as a shared bank hub. Industry has announced locations for 23 bank hubs to date, in addition to two existing pilot sites. Further details on the assessment process and locations of each bank hub are available on LINK’s website: https://www.link.co.uk/initiatives/bank-branch-closures/.

The Government welcomes the direction set by industry’s commitments and looks forward to seeing what results they deliver in protecting facilities for local communities across the UK.

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