Local MP Caroline Dinenage today spoke out for local people and small businesses in Lee-on-the Solent which have received the unwelcome news that the last bank in the town will soon be closing.
Last week it emerged that the Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP would be writing to big banks, urging them to keep branches open in towns where no other banks were open. However, HSBC will soon be closing down in Lee-on-the-Solent meaning that the town will be left without a bank.
Whilst customers requiring personal services will be able to use the Post Office, the same provision has not been made for business customers.
During Treasury Questions, Caroline asked:
"Can I urge the Chancellor to support the BIS Secretary in calls for banks not to shut down the last branch in a town? HSBC are about to shut the last branch in Lee-on-the-Solent, leaving businesses with no banking support at all."
Responding on behalf of the Government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury replied:
"The Honourable Lady makes a very important point. There are many people who are concerned about bank closures, in fact recently I had a roundtable with a number of banks and challenger banks to discuss this issue, not least of which is the change of people towards mobile banking and telephone banking but we're certainly looking very closely at this."
Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:
"Lee-on-the-Solent is home to a huge number of small businesses, many of whom depend upon the services of their local bank which is why it is so worrying to hear that HSBC is soon to close.
Earlier this year, I wrote to the bank urging it to mitigate against the impact of the closure by allowing business customers to carry out their banking needs at the Post Office. Whilst HSBC is unable to facilitate this at present, the Deputy Regional Director has agreed to keep options under review and pledged to offer business customers with alternative solutions."