MP John Healey's anger after raft of bank closures leaves constituency without a single bank

By Michael Upton | 04/10/2019

MP John Healey's anger after raft of bank closures leaves constituency without a single bank

MP JOHN Healey has attacked Britain’s big banks for a massive wave of branch closures which have left his whole constituency as the only one in the country without a single bank.

The Wentworth and Dearne MP said people felt “betrayed” by the big lenders after bailing them out ten years ago.

A report by Which magazine found there had been 1,672 bank closures across the country in 2017 and 2018 - nine of them in Rotherham and the Dearne.

These included the 2017 closures of the Yorkshire Bank and HSBC branches in Wath, leaving residents having to trek to Mexborough, Wombwell or Rotherham for a counter service. 

Mr Healey said: “I was angry when the banks left Wath and this report spells out why so many other towns feel betrayed by the big banks.

“Ten years ago, when their reckless lending and greed brought the world’s financial system close to collapse, UK taxpayers bailed out the banks in Britain with £500 billion support.

“They should have stood by us, but they turned their backs on the communities they’re supposed to serve.

“In just a couple of weeks, more than 1,200 people signed my petition against the banks closing in Wath.

“I brought bosses from both HSBC and Yorkshire Bank to my office, but they were completely closed to any argument.

“When I pushed them, they said they’d never change their mind and stop a closure after their so-called ‘community engagement’.”

The Which report found Rother Valley was left with just five banks, having lost 55 per cent of its branches since 2015.
Rotherham, a more urban constituency, has fared better and has eight banks left.

The lone branch axed was the RBS in High Street (above), which is now earmarked for a restaurant.

Doncaster North, including Conisbrough and Mexborough, has five banks, while Barnsley East has just two. 

This follows the cutting of 60 per cent of the constituency’s banks, including the NatWest in Wombwell in 2016.

Banks have cited an increase in online and mobile banking and a drop in the numbers going to branches for the raft of branch closures.

But many areas retain large numbers of branches - there are 37 in Holborn and St Pancras in London, 27 in Ladywood, Birmingham and 25 in Argyll and Bute.

The Sheffield Central area has 18, despite 13 having closed in the past four years.

Mr Healey said: “There are thousands of people who can’t or don’t want to bank online and others who can’t easily get to the next nearest branch miles away.”

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