Local MP Caroline Dinenage today spoke out in Parliament against two imminent bank closures in her constituency.
At the end of this month, HSBC will close in Lee-on-the-Solent leaving the town without a bank and in February next year, NatWest will be closing its doors in Stubbington. Given the dependence of local people and small businesses on these services, Caroline has been fighting to ensure that adequate alternatives are available to her constituents.
Speaking in the House of Commons, she said:
"Access to banking support is vital to small businesses and yet in my constituency, NatWest is closing their Stubbington branch and later this month HSBC are going to shut the last bank in Lee-on-the-Solent. Can the Minister urge these banks to do more to keep these important local services open?"
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, replied:
"The changes in the way that banking is happening and the way that most people bank and the use of technology of course has an impact on how banks operate. Having visited Stubbington and Lee-on-the-Solent with her only this week I know how important these issues are locally. Of course, ultimately this is a commercial matter for the banks but we've got to make sure that banking services are available in all communities, not least to make sure that vulnerable people can get the access to the services if they can't use the technology."
Outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:
"I have written to both HSBC and NatWest explaining that these closures will have a huge impact on people who depend on them for personal and business banking services. Insufficient local consultation has taken place and the needs of people living on our peninsular have not been fully taken into account. It's about time that banks occasionally put customer service & community responsibilities ahead of profits"
Earlier this month, Caroline asked the Treasury to support calls for banks to not shut down the last bank in town.