Martin Whitfield, East Lothian Labour’s candidate for May’s Scottish parliamentary election, has launched a survey seeking local people’s views on banking facilities and other financial services in East Lothian and what should be done to improve access and help reduce financial exclusion locally.
Mr Whitfield, who as the county’s MP from 2017 to 2019 was involved in cross-party work to hold banks accountable for the way they treat customers and for the contraction of banking services in our communities, wants the results to help inform local activity on the issue.
Martin Whitfield said:
“East Lothian’s towns and villages have experienced a steady withdrawal of banking services and branch closures over many years now. It has left several communities without any local access to a bank branch and growing financial exclusion for those who do not use alternatives such as online or phone banking.
“As well as the contraction in banking facilities, many communities have also suffered reduced access to post office services, something often cited by the banks as part of their alternative plans when branches are closed.
“Ideally, I would like to see the UK and Scottish governments working with the industry on solutions such as re-introducing the ‘last branch in town’ policy and joint banking hubs for communities. However, I’m keen to hear local people’s views on other alternatives such as mobile banking, credit unions and an expansion of the availability of banking services via the post office network.
“I’m encouraging anyone with an interest in this issue, including local businesses and community groups, to complete the survey and help inform the debate on the future of banking and other financial services in the East Lothian constituency.”
The survey, which only takes a couple of minutes to complete, can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2LNL732