MS makes Banc Cambria plea as Barclays closes last branch on Ynys Môn
Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth has condemned Barclays Bank’s decision to close its Llangefni branch and called for the development of a proposed Welsh community bank scheme to be accelerated.
Barclays has confirmed the branch will close on 18th November 2022, making them the first of the “big four” main high street bank to close all of their banks on Anglesey.
The Monmouthshire Building Society is working with the Welsh Government and Cambria Cydfuddiannol Ltd to create Banc Cambria, which is set to begin operations next year.
The Welsh Government says that 30 Banc Cambria branches could be opened across Wales in the next decade.
“This announcement from Barclays is another blow to my constituents on Ynys Môn,” Rhun ap Iorwerth said.
“Last month, it was Lloyds announcing the closure of its Holyhead branch.
“When Barclays announced their Amlwch branch closure in 2017, they gave an assurance that their customers could continue to bank at either Holyhead or Llangefni.
“Five years on and both those branches are closed or closing.”
“Barclays becomes the first of the ‘big four’ banks to pull out of the island altogether, turning their backs entirely on customers who have been loyal to them and who enable them to make billions of pounds in profit.
“I have asked to meet with them to discuss further but having gone through the process so many times already, I know they will not change their minds.”
“As the big banks continue to abandon rural communities, I’ve written to Welsh Government to ask for moves to establish a Banc Cambria network as a new public bank for Wales to be accelerated,” Mr ap Iorwerth added.
“We don’t need a row of banks on each high street as in years gone by, perhaps, but we do need a banking presence in our communities – not everyone can, or wants to do their banking online, and some of the most vulnerable people and businesses still need face to face banking support.”
Research published last week by the Co-op grocery chain revealed that many disadvantaged communities are relying on notes and coins to budget during the current cost-of-living crisis.
The Way We Pay report found that cash use across the UK overall had fallen from 65% to 28% since 2016.
However, it remained as high as 44% in many areas, particularly Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the northeast of England
These areas have also been the hardest hit hard by bank closures, poverty and high unemployment levels.
Additional research from Which? suggested that those most likely to use cash were in the lowest-income households, with a third of respondents whose annual income was lower than £20,000 finding cash easiest to budget.
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