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Leaders meet with bank officials as Barclays Uppingham looks set to close

Town leaders have met with Barclays ahead of the closure of the final bank in Uppingham.

They are also demanding Prime Minister Theresa May takes a break from Brexit and intervenes.

Both Rutland Council leader Oliver Helmsley and Uppingham town councillor Daive Ainslie held meetings with bank officials on Wednesday.

Barclays closing in Deeping and Uppingham (6727432)
Barclays closing in Deeping and Uppingham (6727432)

Coun Helmsley said the meeting was ‘constructive’ and Barclays took on board his concerns and told him they are looking at solutions to “make sure our communities are not disadvantaged.”

Coun Ainslie, who used to work in banking, also reported a ‘constructive’ meeting: “The bank has agreed to look into our suggestions and we intend to hold a further meeting in the near future,” he said.

He hopes Barclays can mitigate the harmful effects of their branch’s closure, due on April 26.

He says many people are wary of online banking due to cyber security risks, and many firms still need to deposit cash or cheques.

Without any banking provision in town, people may have to drive or take the bus to use a branch in Oakham or Corby.

Measures to lessen the impact of the closure of Uppingham’s final bank branch could include providing office space and offering a face-to-face service with a bank employee once a week. The bank could also work with the Post office on maintaining financial services.

Ron Simpson, chairman of Uppingham Business Forum and director of Uppingham First, told Theresa May that this last bank in town provides essential local, national and international banking services that were critical to Uppingham and rural Rutland.

Mr Simpson, who also co-ordinates Uppingham Neighbourhood Forum, said with more than 100 local businesses, Uppingham needed “a financial transaction centre of some kind” because it was “vital to the town’s economy and future way of life.”

Rutland MP Sir Alan Duncan, who received a copy of Mr Simpson’s letter to the PM, said he is disappointed with the lack of consultation over the closure.

He has written to Barclays asking how many businesses and people would be affected.

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