Local chairman of Federation of Small Businesses slams decision to close Barclays bank in Burwell

The Burwell branch of Barclays is to close on November 10.

The Burwell branch of Barclays is to close on November 10. - Credit: Archant

A group that represents small businesses has criticised Barclays for closing its Burwell branch.

Alan Todd, chairman of the Greater Cambridge branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has voiced his concerns in a letter to SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer.

The Parsonage Lane, Burwell, branch is set to close on November 10 and Mr Todd, who lives in the area, has penned a letter to Ms Frazer expressing his concerns.

He said: “It is very worrying to see yet more local bank branches being shut down, leaving small business customers without the services they rely on.

“Cash still remains an important element of many small businesses and it needs to be banked at the end of the day.

“For some small businesses online banking is not always a viable substitute, not least because of poor broadband coverage in many rural areas.

“While there are moves by some banks to allow basic services to be accessed in post office branches, the Post Office is not yet able to step in as an alternative with full business services.

Most Read

“The onus is now on Barclays to take steps to ensure access to banking is being protected under the terms of the access to banking protocol.

“Whilst I appreciate that banks are businesses, access to their services has become a necessity for many people including small businesses and they should be very careful before taking these vital services away.”

The East Cambs branch is one of 54 to close before the end of the year.

A Barclays spokesman said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, we are finding that fewer customers are using the branch to do their everyday banking.

“Taking into account the alternative ways to bank that are available in the area we have made the decision to close the branch.”

The nearest branch to Burwell is Newmarket (five miles) or Soham (six miles).

Two years ago Barclays closed their Littleport branch after pointing out it had experienced a 63 per cent drop in customers since 2008, primarily due to people shifting their banking online.

At the time the bank said it had to “evolve” the shape of its business to suit the changing habits of customers.