The decision by the TSB to close a further 70 of its branches has renewed calls by Unite the union today (Tuesday 30 November)  for the government to step in to ensure that access to  cash’ is readily available to the millions who either dont have a bank account and/or rely on cash on a daily basis.

Unite’s General Secretary Sharon Graham branded the latest retreat by the bank from the high street "a bitter blow." The long-term trend has seen two thirds of the UKs bank branches closing in the past 30 years. 4,200 have shut their doors since 2015.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “TSB axing a quarter of its branches in 2022, on top of the numbers already closed, is a bitter blow for many communities.  Unite has consistently argued that local banking and access to cash is essential especially for those on lower incomes.

“Unite remains very concerned by the drastic cuts in the numbers of branches across the whole banking sector, and we call on the government and the banking regulators to step in urgently to ensure cash remains readily available in all communities.”

Unite believes there should be a Guarantee to Cash Access’ for all, including those in remote and rural areas. Ministers must recognize that the banking sector is a vital public service and as such has wider a social responsibility.  Bank branch closure decisions must be influenced by the public impact assessments, taking into account the needs of the communities and businesses who will be hit hard by such actions.

TSB, owned by the Spanish banking group Sabadell, said that it will have only 220 branches remaining, following the latest closure proposals.

Unite national officer for finance Dominic Hook said: “One million people in the UK do not have a bank account and about 17 per cent of the UK population – more than eight million adults – would struggle to cope in a cashless society. An estimated 2.2 million people – disproportionately the elderly and vulnerable – are entirely reliant on cash on a daily basis. Their access had already been adversely affected by the closure of bank branches and ATMs before the changes in the sector wrought by Covid.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.