Financial inclusion

Since January 2015, 6,000 bank and building society branches have closed in the UK or are due to close by January 2025, which is equivalent to 61% of all branches in 2015. 

Many people are at risk of financial exclusion as access to cash and professional advice narrows. Particularly vulnerable are older people, people in poor health and those with lower financial resilience. Rural communities at large are also at risk. Face-to-face banking is important for many who are uncomfortable with online or telephone banking or who may not have the digital skills to bank in this way. 

48% of the population is not comfortable with cashless banking. People who rarely use cash or can’t remember when they last wrote a cheque generally want to keep actual money as a payment option for emergencies, small payments, privacy and money management. Their concerns aren’t a knee-jerk opposition to change. There is a worry that forcing people to digital could lead to a loss of control over finances and spiralling debt. 

For all these reasons, I am campaigning for … 

  • the government to include face-to-face banking in digital inclusion and not just access to cash 
  • the FCA’s and BoE’s new recommendations on access to cash to be accepted in full 
  • banks closing down local branches to make commitments to provide alternative services 
  • the establishment of banking hubs in Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster