MP’s column - Concern over bank closure

Access to services can be more difficult for us in rural areas, which is why I have been greatly troubled by the closure of bank branches in our constituency.

When a bank branch in London shuts you can barely swing a cat for the availability of other branches or other banks, but in Lincolnshire we are not so well provided for.

The recent announcement from Santander that they will be closing their bank branch in Gainsborough is a cause for concern.

I have written to the Chief Executive Officer of Santander UK voicing my strenuous objection to this planned closure.

The fact remains that bank branches are incredibly useful institutions.

Despite the increase in being able to do all kinds of business online, there is still a great value in face-to-face encounters, and as I have pointed out ad infinitum to BT and other entities, access to broadband internet of sufficient quality is far from universal in many parts of our county.

Even when we do have good internet, there is a value in doing business face-to-face that is unquantifiable.

This is even more the case given the sharp rise in the scamming of bank customers by fraudsters who “phish” for sensitive information via telephone or email.

I have pointed all this out to the CEO of Santander UK and asked him to revisit the planned closure of the Santander branch in Gainsborough, given the value it provides both to his company and to our community.

RAF Scampton is again in the news thanks to the strong campaign to keep it open.

I secured a debate here in the Commons to force ministers to hear the case for keeping it open.

History fans like me, love that Scampton has been at the heart of the RAF, having been home to the famous Dambusters squadron.

But Scampton still has defence potential today.

The Red Arrows make good use of our uncrowded Lincolnshire skies, and the base has already been shut and reopened once already, because once they moved the Red Arrows they realised what a mistake it was.

In all my speeches and representations regarding defence more broadly, I point out that we mustn’t forget that what we don’t need right now, we might need in ten years, a year, or even five minutes time. Given the poor state of UK-Russia relations, for example, it is not inconceivable that things may heat up over the North Sea. If so, it is much easier to move a fighter squadron or two up to Scampton if the base remains open.

If the base is sold off and redeveloped it would be impossible.

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Gainsborough Constituency