Labour's parliamentary candidate, Catherine Fookes, has pledged to tackle the decline of banking services in Monmouthshire; calling for improved community banking in towns and better access to cash for residents in rural villages.

Kicking off her campaign, Ms Fookes has launched a survey asking residents in Monmouthshire how bank closures and reduced cash access are affecting them. 

It comes after the news that Barclays in Abergavenny is shutting its doors in March next year, which will make it the seventh bank to close in Monmouthshire in less than two years, according to data from Which?. 

Ms Fookes said: "I have been contacted by many residents across Monmouthshire who are worried about the closure of branches in our towns and the reduction to cash services in rural villages, and rightly so.

"With the rise of online scams, many people rely on face-to-face services within their bank branches, especially our most vulnerable. And many businesses rely on cash and banking services in town to deposit money and get change. Not only is this devastating for service users, but people are losing their jobs." 

"We need better community banking in Monmouthshire, where people can safely access cash instead of a decline in these services. This, in turn, will improve the economic and social well-being of people here."

Earlier this month, the Labour Party pledged to bring banks back to British high streets. The Party announced an ambitious new policy to roll out 'banking hubs', which help people deposit and take out cash, get support, and help with broader banking services. 

Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves commented, "Labour's plan will bring banking services back to communities who have seen them disappear over recent years, meaning more people across the country will be able to access the services they need closer to home." 

"Labour will tackle ghost high streets and ensure that every community has access to high street banking services."

Supporting the policy, Ms Fookes added, "It would be great to see a community banking hub in Monmouthshire. If this is something that you would be interested in seeing in our towns, please get in touch and take part in my survey:"