As more and more banking services go online, many bank branches across the country have been closing down. I am concerned that my constituents in North Greenford and Northolt are being particularly badly hit. The closure of branches in South Harrow means they face having no nearby access to face-to-face banking services at all.

Although many people can use online services, I believe we need to help protect access to face-to-face banking services for residents and businesses who need them. Banks also play an important part in keeping high streets busy and bringing customers to support other local shops.

I have therefore been working with my neighbouring MP in Harrow West to campaign for a new ‘banking hub’ to be set up in South Harrow. Banking hubs are places that offer face-to-face banking services, like paying in cheques and withdrawing cash, as well as the opportunity to get advice from a range of different high street banks.

James Murray MP outside Acton banking hub which opened in 2023
James Murray MP outside Acton banking hub which opened in 2023

The decisions about where to set up banking hubs are taken by the organisation ‘LINK’. In this situation, LINK make an assessment about whether to support a new banking hub in a particular location based on factors such as transport links, financial vulnerability, and the age of people who live nearby.

I have met and written to LINK to urge them to agree to support a banking hub in South Harrow. Unfortunately, following a review, LINK have decided not to currently support a banking hub in South Harrow, because of its proximity to Harrow Town Centre where there are a number of banks already.

This is very frustrating, and so I have been discussing this issue with my colleagues in the shadow Treasury team. I am glad to report that, in the Opposition, we have put forward our plan to deliver at least 350 banking hubs across the UK if we were in government. Places without high street banks would be top of the queue, and we would bring in new powers where necessary to make sure this happens.

In the meanwhile, however, I will keep pressing LINK to reconsider their decision. If you would like to show your support for my campaign and be kept updated, please sign my petition for a banking hub in South Harrow:

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