Election 2019

Election 2019: How would candidates save local banking services?

Cash machine in use. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour candidates told us they have plans to save local banking services

The availability of banks and post offices is a concern for many people outside of large towns and cities.

Consumer group Which? said the UK has lost nearly two-thirds of its bank and building society branches in 30 years, from 20,583 in 1988 to 7,586 today.

One reader from Norfolk asked us what the parties planned to do about it.

The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour candidates for Norfolk South West all said they had plans to enhance local bank and post office services.

Patricia, who lives near Swaffham in the Norfolk South West constituency, told us she was concerned that vulnerable people struggle to access money and other services.

She said: "What are elderly people supposed to do, as they really do not like using cash machines because they worry someone is watching them?"

She asked of the candidates: "What are you going to do about all the banks and post offices closing?"

Image copyright Getty Images

Emily Black (Labour):

"In Labour's manifesto it says that they will stop bank closures and post office closures.

"With the cost and unreliability of the internet it simply isn't fair to ask people to go online for everything. We will be rolling out free broadband for all and will also be saving banks and post offices that are closing.

"The Royal Mail would also be publicly owned again and the post offices would offer services to local residents such as free business advice, starting up and maintaining a business."

Josie Ratcliffe (Liberal Democrat):

"One big part of retaining things like bank branches is to ensure high streets are busy enough to support them.

"Our Lib Dem plans to abolish and replace business rates, and invest in a new wave of green public transport, will help with [that].

"We need to develop community hubs that deliver a wide range of services previously offered by post offices and bank branches, so people can still access those things despite the drop in branch usage.

"As an MP, I'd push for government to empower local areas with new funding to make that happen."

Liz Truss (Conservative, who won the seat in 2010, 2015 and 2017):

"There has been considerable success with community buyouts, and this will be extended with a £150m Community Ownership Fund to encourage local takeovers of civic organisations or community assets that are under threat - like post offices.

"I believe there are ever-increasing opportunities with post offices within our towns and villages and, post-election, I am keen to see this explored further, with the handling of even more of what would once be considered a traditional bank's role."

Here is the full list of candidates standing in the Norfolk South West Parliamentary constituency:

  • Emily Blake (Labour)
  • Pallavi Devulapalli (Green)
  • Earl Of Outwell (Monster Raving Loony Party)
  • Josie Ratcliffe (Liberal Democrat)
  • Liz Truss (Conservative)

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