Sir Gavin Williamson 'shocked and disappointed' at village Barclays bank closure

Sir Gavin Williamson has launched a campaign to save a "lifeline" village bank earmarked for closure.

Sir Gavin Williamson MP at the Barclays branch in Bilbrook
Sir Gavin Williamson MP at the Barclays branch in Bilbrook

Barclays has announced plans to shut down its Bilbrook branch on October 14, citing changing banking habits and reduced counter transactions as the reasons.

South Staffordshire MP Sir Gavin said he was "shocked and disappointed" at the move, which will leave residents facing a journey of more than five miles to Wolverhampton for the nearest Barclays branch.

He is planning to meet with bosses in a bid to "persuade them to reconsider" and has launched a survey to "demonstrate the scale of local support" for the branch.

It comes after the expiration of a 2019 pledge by Barclays not to close down any branch in a remote area or where it is the "last bank in town".

Sir Gavin said: "I was shocked and disappointed to hear about Barclays plans to close their Bilbrook branch, particularly after promising to protect branches in areas like Bilbrook just two years ago.

"I have requested an urgent meeting with Barclays to persuade them to reconsider and keep the branch open.

"While banking habits have undoubtedly changed over the years, I firmly believe that branches remain a vital lifeline for elderly and vulnerable people.

"Being able to speak to an advisor in person provides them with the security, ease, and confidence that everyone needs when they are managing their financial affairs.

"As such, I have decided to launch a survey of Bilbrook residents to demonstrate the scale of local support for this branch.

"I would encourage all residents to keep an eye out for this survey as it is distributed over the coming weeks so that they can have their voices heard."

In a notice explaining the closure, Barclays said 34 customers used the branch "regularly as the only way to do their banking", while 90 per cent of customers had also banked using the app, online and by phone in 2021.

Barclays is set to close 170 banks by the end of the year, including branches in Shirley, Bridgnorth and Kingstanding.

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