23 November 2023
Banking – Dereham

Local bank branches are a key part of our Mid Norfolk community. Having grown up and lived in East Anglia for much of my life and been the MP for a largely rural constituency for over thirteen years, I know how vital a role they play in providing access to cash for the small businesses that drive our local economy – as well as the disproportionate affect branch closures can have on the most vulnerable in our society (including the elderly).

That’s why I share the widespread disappointment of many in the Dereham area at the news that the town’s Barclays branch is set to close in February.

While the way we, as a society, bank is evolving (I understand only 16 customers regularly use the branch as the only way they do their banking, with over 88% of the branch’s customers using the Barclays app), I am determined to do everything I can to ensure my constituents can access cash and speak to banking staff face-to-face when they need it.

That’s why, throughout my time as MP, I have been a vocal champion of cash access and local baking services – and why, over recent months, I have been actively supporting councillors and communities as additional local bank branches have closed.

I have been liaising closely with Cash Access UK, LINK and local district councillors as they drive forward efforts to establish a new Community Banking Hub on Watton High Street (see here) – and welcomed the Government’s announcement in the summer, which enshrines the need for “reasonable provision” of cash withdrawal and deposit facilities (see more here). I also requested that LINK conduct a review of cash access and banking services in Attleborough too (see here).

While Barclays have confirmed they will retain an active presence in the community and are set to share further details of how customers can meet face-to-face with staff at an alternative community location in due course, I am liaising with LINK to ensure the town has the level of services required. I will also be visiting the town’s Nationwide branch in the coming weeks – with Nationwide having committed to keeping their branches open.

Rest assured, I will continue to work hard for Mid Norfolk on this very important issue – both locally and by raising the matter with ministers and officials in Westminster.

(Further information on Barclays’ reasons for closing the branch, along with additional helpful information on access to cash and banking support in the town, can be found here).