Banks and their debt to rural Britain – The Yorkshire Post says

TREASURY MINISTER John Glen is quite right to point out the safeguards that are in place to limit the rate and impact of bank branch closures – particularly in rural areas.

People in rural areas can struggle to access their money at banks.
People in rural areas can struggle to access their money at banks.

Yet, while the Covid pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated, still further, the switch to online banking, this is no consolation to people in those areas not served by reliable internet and broadband coverage.

They now find it increasingly difficult to access their own money because of a ‘triple whammy’ that can now conspire against some – branch closures, the withdrawal of ATM machines and inadequate digital connectivity.

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In fairness, Mr Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, appeared to understand the significance of this when backbench MPs from across the country raised their concerns in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament.

John Glen is Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

He conceded “that there is a need to improve mobile and broadband coverage in rural areas, to make the immense benefits and opportunities of online products open to all”.

He also accepted that 4G coverage in more remote locations “is not yet as good as in towns and cities” before setting out some of the steps being taken by the Government.

There are two more suggestions for Mr Glen to consider. First, the banks help to fund the rollout of high-speed broadband – they’re still in this country’s debt following the financial crash of 2008-09.

Second, internet availability is added to the factors that must be taken into account when banks propose to shut branches and ATMs. Rural Britain should be able to count on this at the very least.

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