who iS speaking up for rural Britain?
This unanswered question is given added urgency by the latest raft of bank closures – and their impact on villages across Yorkshire and beyond. It’s certainly not the Government. Even though taxpayers bailed out the banking industry, the public is being repaid with the decimation of the branch network and even the removal of cash machines.
Here’s the irony. For, when the banks implore customers to use online facilities, they forget that rural locations aren’t always blessed with the best broadband access for internet banking. If Ministers were on the side of consumers, they would be ordering the banks to work together to maintain a presence in those communities like Wath-upon-Dearne – population 12,000 residents – that no longer have a single branch.
And, if they can’t be bothered to do so, a countryside champion should be tasked with safeguarding the future of essential services in the nation’s rural heartlands before it is too late – the last bank in town should only be closing if alternative arrangements meet strict criteria over accessibility.