Labor promises 350 banking centers for towns where branches have closed

  • Since 2015, around 6,000 bank branches have disappeared from the shopping streets
  • Customers of many different banks can use services via hubs
  • The Conservatives have delivered 50 banking centers since January 2022

More cities in Britain will get a banking center under a Labor government.

It has pledged to roll out 350 banking centers in towns and cities across Britain over the next five years.

The hubs are shared centers where customers of most major banks can withdraw and deposit money and receive banking support and advice.

They were created in response to widespread branch closures, with 6,000 bank branches closing their doors since 2015.

Labor has announced a plan to roll out 350 banking centers across Britain over the next five years

They are funded by banks, set up by the not-for-profit organization Cash Access UK, and managed by the Post Office.

Banking centers already existed under the Conservatives. Since January 2022, 56 banking hubs have opened, Cash Access UK confirms, with a further 76 in the works.

Banking hubs can only open in communities where all banks (including building society Nationwide) have closed their branches, such as Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, which was given a banking hub as part of a pilot in April 2021.

Even then, hubs can only be approved if it is assumed that there will be sufficient demand for services.

Customers can request one in their city through the Link checkout service.

However, some towns have had their applications for a banking center rejected, including Todmorden in West Yorkshire and Harpenden in Hertfordshire.

Labor has proposed updating the qualification criteria to ensure unbanked towns and deprived communities can access face-to-face banking services.

It has also announced that it will give Link and the Financial Conduct Authority the powers they need to identify areas in need of a banking hub, to speed up the rollout.

Areas that currently don’t have major banks will be first in line, according to Cash Access UK.

The Post Office is on track to become Britain’s largest banking network, with more than 11,500 branches. It started offering banking services in 2017.

Its latest accounts show it had a banking turnover of £263m in 2023, up from £230m in 2022.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor of the exchequer, said: ‘After fourteen years of Tories, many of our high streets have been reduced to ghost towns.

‘Labour’s growth plan means banking will return to the high street, with hundreds of new banking centers to support local communities and their businesses.’

Angela Rayner, Labor deputy leader and shadow housing secretary, added: “Labor is the party on the side of small businesses. “With our plan to bring banking back to the high street, replace business rates and cut energy bills for good, we will breathe new life into Britain’s high streets.”