Nearly 40 Shropshire banks have closed since 2015, figures reveal

Nearly 40 banks have closed across Shropshire since 2015, with warnings the changes are leaving some residents behind.

A total of 39 banks across the county have shut since, 2015, with another nine across the border in Powys.

Only last Friday, Barclays confirmed the closure of two more branches – Ludlow and Bridgnorth, the latest to exit the high streets.

The figures from consumer champion Which? also show a significant drop in the number of cash machines available – down by 63, from 373 to 310, since 2018

The increasing use of online banking and contactless payments have led to concerns some will be left behind, or unable to access key services.

Which? chief executive, Anabel Hoult, said: “While the pandemic has accelerated the move to digital payments for many consumers, many are not yet ready to make that switch and require protection from an avalanche of ATM and bank branch closures that have left the UK’s cash system at risk of collapse.”

Across the county the Wrekin has lost 11 banks since 2015, with Telford losing four, Shrewsbury & Atcham another six, Ludlow eight, Montgomeryshire nine, and North Shropshire 10.

A Bill to protect access to cash was announced as part of the Queen’s Speech in May.

The Treasury says the new legislation will ensure “continued access to withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK”.

Economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups.

“We promised we would protect it, and through this bill we are delivering on that promise.”

Full details on what will be included are yet to be published.

Recent research by the Royal Society of Arts estimates 10 million people in the UK would struggle in a cashless society.

The research suggests the elderly and those in areas with poor mobile or broadband connectivity have suffered most in the move to digital banking.

RSA researcher Mark Hall said: “For millions of people, their relationship with cash is critical to the way they manage their weekly budget.

“It’s vital that the dash to digital doesn’t disenfranchise anyone, especially with the cost-of-living crisis putting such significant strain on family finances right now.”

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