High Street Banks and Banking Hubs - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 2:58 pm ar 25 Ionawr 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Hacking Lord Hacking Llafur 2:58, 25 Ionawr 2024

My Lords, if I may I would like to say a few words in the gap. It might be thought that the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler of Enfield, and I have been twinning together, because both of us have quite recently been raising this issue of bank closures. I did not know about the work of the noble Baroness until the Minister very kindly told me, in a meeting I had with her about three weeks ago. I should like to make the point that we are acting entirely independently, but worried about the same great issue.

I adopt everything that the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, has said to us and everything that the noble Lord, Lord Rogan, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Norwich have said. I therefore do not need travel over that ground again. I will just mention one thing. I am in the age group of those particularly affected by bank closures. I am in my mid-80s and therefore I have sympathy—although, luckily, I have been taught about internet banking and so know a few things about that.

I will go straight to an important example—the closure of the NatWest bank in Ryde on the Isle of Wight a few months ago. Ryde is a town of 100,000 or more and for the purposes of getting cash, you now have to walk all the way down the very steep high street to Sainsbury’s, which has a cash machine. However, it is not only people of my age who have difficulty and need personal banking. I will give a solid example. I have a son who is very badly disabled and who until recently was living in Peru. His only source of support is the financial support that the family can give him. My son-in-law is the treasurer of the trust to supply money. It is not easy to convey money in the banking system from here to Peru, and there were occasions when it was not coming through—well, that was the information we were given. I am very well within time; there will be plenty of time for the Minister to reply. Let me just finish this account, because it should be recorded. It was essential for my son-in-law to go personally to the NatWest bank in Ryde to sort out this problem. It would have been so difficult and cumbersome to do it online.