MP objects to Bedfordshire bank closure

Ongoing concerns over the closure of bank branches in Ampthill were raised in Parliament yesterday.

Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries expressed her dismay stating she was worried the effect of closure of the last bank in the town would have on residents and business.

Ampthill will be left with no bank or building society branches after NatWest closes its doors ihn June.

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She said: “The switch to online banking most affects those who simply cannot navigate cyberspace.

“The largest part of that group is the elderly and vulnerable.

“If the Ampthill branch closes, the nearest NatWest will be almost eight miles away.

People without cars face a long round trip on infrequent local bus services to access banking services in Bedford.

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“Given that the population of Ampthill is growing and will continue to grow, the customer base for the branch is getting larger, not smaller.”

Jane Vass, director of policy and research at charity Age UK added: “If a branch closure happens in an area where bus services are poor, or there is patchy internet service and mobile black spots, it can make banking life extremely difficult for the elderly.”

Ampthill Town Council set up a petition that has gathered 2,432 signatures, and there is an online group calling on NatWest to reverse its decision.

Mrs Dorries added: “I am concerned that NatWest has shown little willingness to work with the community to find a compromise that works.”