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Guest column: Bank branch closure another blow to the area

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

I was very disappointed to hear that NatWest is to close its branch in Dinnington.

The Laughton Road bank is one of 197 NatWest branches earmarked for closure by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The company, which has not announced when the closures will take place, said it was moving towards a non-branch model as more customers than ever were choosing to use online or mobile banking services.

RBS intends to help more people bank online by introducing ‘techxperts’ to teach people to use online services.

I met with representatives from NatWest this week to stress a number of points, including asking how small local businesses will be able to deposit takings with no branch in the town?

I am also very worried about the lack of access to local banking for people with physical and learning disabilities.

NatWest reassured me that it would be discussing these issues with customers before the branch is closed.

I was heartened to hear that the company will be providing a specific member of staff even after the branch has closed to help people transition to the new arrangements.

If anyone has any worries about this closure, please contact my office and we will be able to signpost you to the person within NatWest who can help with this.

Tuesday this week was one of the busiest days in the calendar for our postal workers and I would like to thank our posties in Rother Valley for their hard work and determination as they collect, sort and deliver letters and parcels over the Christmas period.

Under the Tories, our posties have faced worsening pay and conditions.

Over the past four years the Post Office has been implementing a series of significant cost-cutting measures with closures, franchising, job losses and cuts to staff terms and conditions.

In my view our postmen and women have been let down by the Tories whom, since 2010, have pursued a strategy of managed decline of our Post Office network and oversaw what I think is one of the biggest policy failures when selling off Royal Mail at below market price.

As a result, we have seen Post Office closures across the country, while £700 million has been paid out in dividends to private shareholders over the past four years.

The next Labour Government will halt any further Post Office closures and will re-nationalise the Royal Mail so that any profits are reinvested back into the company to the benefit of its workers and customers, not private shareholders.