Following the swathe of bank closures across our communities in recent years, and the last bank in Cheadle constituency, NatWest in Heald Green, due to close this Summer, I know how concerned many residents across Stockport are about the lack of banking facilities in their area.
Not only does this leave residents without the ability to access vital banking services such as depositing cash and speaking with their bank, but it also has a detrimental impact on our High Streets, leaving units empty and local businesses struggling to access cash and make deposits.
It was for this reason that I started working to bring a Banking Hub to our area to fill the gap that bank branches have left behind. Banking Hubs, which are similar to a traditional bank branch, but available to everyone, allow customers of any bank to withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions. They also provide private spaces where customers can speak to community bankers from their own bank for more complicated or specialist matters.
Last year I raised the issue during Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament and stressed that another of my local communities has been left bereft of a high street banking service, requesting that the Prime Minister support my calls for a Banking Hub in our area. I have also had close discussions with LINK as part of my Banking Hub campaign supported by residents from every corner of my Cheadle constituency.
I was therefore delighted when it was announced last week that LINK, the UK’s cash machine and cash access network, have recommended a Banking Hub for Bramhall, making the decision to grant one for Bramhall in line with their own criteria and the local demand.
It is also fantastic that Bramhall will be the 100th Banking Hub to open across the country, allowing our area to demonstrate the success of the scheme in maintaining vital banking services following bank closures.
I am delighted that this campaign has been a success and I look forward to continuing to work with LINK and Cash Access UK to deliver a Banking Hub in Bramhall. Meanwhile, I am continuing to work for banking options for our other towns and villages.