More than two in five bank closures in Lancaster & only handful remain open in Morecambe

More than two in five banks in the Lancaster constituency have closed since 2015 and just a handful remain open in Morecambe, new figures show.

By Will Grimond
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 5:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 5:27 pm

Analysis from consumer champion Which? has shown a sharp decline in the number of bank branches open in areas across much of the UK compared to seven years ago.

According to figures up to the end of April, eight banks have been shuttered in Lancaster and Fleetwood since the start of 2015, leaving 10 remaining in the area.

In Morecambe and Lunesdale, five banks have closed since the beginning of 2015, with only five left.

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Concern has been raised over the number of banks closing down.

Separate figures from LINK, a cash machine network, show there has also been a decline in the number of free to use ATMs across the UK in recent years.

Their data shows that between the start of 2018 and early March this year, the number of ATMs in Lancaster and Fleetwood dropped from 98 to 69, while in Morecambe and Lunesdale the number fell from from 63 to 48.

The increasing use of online banking and contactless payments have led to concerns some will be left behind, or unable to access key services.

Which? chief executive, Anabel Hoult, said: “While the pandemic has accelerated the move to digital payments for many consumers, many are not yet ready to make that switch and require protection from an avalanche of ATM and bank branch closures that have left the UK’s cash system at risk of collapse.”

A bill to protect access to cash was announced as part of the Queen’s Speech in May.

The Treasury says the new legislation will ensure “continued access to withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK”.

Economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups.

“We promised we would protect it, and through this bill we are delivering on that promise.”

Which? welcomed the bill but said it “must ensure that clear requirements are placed on industry to meet communities’ need for cash”.

Its data found that nearly half (48%) of bank branches across the UK have closed since the start of 2015, and seven constituencies have seen every one of their bank branches closed in recent years.