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No reprieve for Pembrokeshire bank branches

BARCLAYS BANK have said they will still close the doors of Barclays Fishguard and St David’s branches despite an appeal by Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas to reconsider closure.

In a letter to Mr Thomas, Stephanie Smith, Barclays, Community Banking Director for South Wales states: “The decision to close a branch is never taken lightly, and we are particularly mindful of the impact this will have on the local community in locations such as Fishguard and St Davids.”

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said: “It is disappointing that there will be no reprieve for Barclays branches in Fishguard and St David’s. I’d hoped that they would reconsider their decision. I’ve raised the issue of bank closures in rural Wales in the Senedd. I’d like to thank Plaid Cymru Letterston Community councillor Llyr Williams for alerting me to this issue.”

Mr Thomas demanded a statement from the Labour Government in the Senedd chamber on the situation of banking in Wales, and particularly banking in rural Wales.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I asked the Welsh Government to consider the Bill put forward by my Plaid Cymru colleague Ceredigion MP Ben Lake in the House of Commons.

“We should change the protocol on access to banking in terms of distance rather than time to access. When you think of rural areas, the distances can be quite short, but the time that it takes to access those services can be much longer, particularly if you are reliant on public transport.

“Banking regulators should look at the possibility that different banks could share premises, share equipment and even share staff, if required, of course. We will need a change of regulation to allow that, but you could see how that could be beneficial to many rural towns, and you will be aware that this has happened in the context of mobile telecommunications. So, it is something that we should be open to.

“We need to enhance the services provided by the Post Office. Often, they can provide excellent services but it’s not always appropriate for business banking, particularly businesses that still deal with cash, for example.

“I hope the Labour Government will consider these three issues to improve the situation of banking in Wales.”