Labour plans to open 350 banking hubs across Britain

Rain in Sidmouth outside the new Banking Hub, operated by the Post Office. All the remaining banks have now closed.
Banking hubs allow staff from several banks to share the same space.

Labour has unveiled plans to open 350 banking hubs in towns and villages throughout Britain over the next five years, if it wins the general election.

The initiative aims to revitalise Britain's high streets by introducing these banking hubs, where staff from various banks share the same space to mitigate the impact of branch closures. These hubs offer counter services operated by the Post Office, enabling customers to perform routine banking transactions.

A report by consumer group Which? revealed that over 6,000 bank branches have closed since 2015.

Cash Access UK, an organisation dedicated to preserving access to cash, recently celebrated the opening of its 50th banking hub, with a target of 100 hubs by year-end.

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Cash Access UK, a not-for-profit entity funded by major banks, relies on recommendations from cash access and ATM network Link. Link assesses communities based on factors such as the number of shops, transport links, and levels of deprivation. So far, Link has recommended 132 hubs, with 56 completed and 76 in progress.

Here’s a list of the hubs currently open in England:

Open for business

Acton (London)

Axminster (Devon)

Barnoldswick (Lancashire)

Barton-upon-Humber (North Lincolnshire)

Belper (Derbyshire)

Bramhall (Greater Manchester)

Brixham (Devon)

Buckingham

Bury Park (Bedfordshire)

Cheadle (Staffordshire)

Clay Cross (Derbyshire)

Cottingham (East Riding of Yorkshire)

Downham Market (Norfolk)

Harleston (Norfolk)

Haslemere (Surrey)

Helston (Cornwall)

Hornsea (East Riding of Yorkshire)

Horwich (Greater Manchester)

Knaresborough (North Yorkshire)

Looe (Cornwall)

Lutterworth (Leicestershire)

Mablethorpe (Lincolnshire)

Maryport (Cumbria)

Newton Aycliffe (County Durham)

Oakham (Rutland)

Otley (West Yorkshire)

Pershore (Worcestershire)

Rochford (Essex)

Royal Wootton Bassett (Wiltshire)

Shirebrook (Derbyshire)

Shoreham-by-Sea (West Sussex)

Sidmouth (Devon)

Stapleford (Nottinghamshire)

Syston (Leicestershire)

Ware (Hertfordshire)

Watton (Norfolk)

Welling (Greater London)

Withernsea (East Riding of Yorkshire)

Typically, it takes around 12 months to open a hub, though temporary hubs can be set up in challenging locations to provide immediate services.

John Howells, CEO of Link, said: "Link has recommended 132 banking hubs across the UK, which have become popular for providing access to cash and essential banking services for consumers and businesses relying on high street branches. We anticipate many more to open in the coming years, boosting high streets nationwide."

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Each banking hub features a private area for customers to consult with bank staff for complex matters, with different banks rotating their presence on various days.

Here’s a list of banking hubs in England where a search for a space is currently underway or building work is already happening.

Acomb (York)

Alnwick (Northumberland)

Amble (Northumberland)

Ampthill (Bedfordshire)

Bacup (Lancashire)

Batley (West Yorkshire)

Bodmin (Cornwall)

Bordon (Hampshire)

Calne (Wiltshire)

Chingford, Waltham Forrest

Coulsdon, Croydon

Crook (County Durham)

Dartmouth (Devon)

Darwen (Lancashire)

Dawlish (Devon)

Dinnington (South Yorkshire)

Earlestown (Merseyside)

Elland (West Yorkshire)

Enfield North (Middlesex)

Ferryhill (County Durham)

Filey (North Yorkshire)

Great Harwood (Lancashire)

Hatfield (Hertfordshire)

Haverhill (Suffolk)

Hessle (East Riding of Yorkshire)

Heywood (Greater Manchester)

Holt (Norfolk)

Keynsham (Somerset)

Kirkby In Ashfield (Nottinghamshire)

Kirkham (Lancashire)

Leiston (Suffolk)

Market Rasen (Lincolnshire)

Market Weighton, Yorkshire

Mildenhall (Suffolk)

Moreton, Wirral

Nailsea (Somerset)

New Ollerton (Nottinghamshire)

New Rossington (South Yorkshire)

Newland (Hull)

Ossett (West Yorkshire)

Prescot (Merseyside)

Ramsbottom (Greater Manchester)

Richmond (North Yorkshire)

Royston (Hertfordshire)

Saltash (Cornwall)

Seaham (Durham)

Sherborne (Dorset)

South Elmsall (West Yorkshire)

Stalybridge (Greater Manchester)

Stone (Staffordshire)

Teignmouth (Devon)

Thorne (South Yorkshire)

Ulverston (Cumbria)

Wath Upon Dearne (South Yorkshire)

West Drayton (Middlesex)

West Kirby (Wirral)

Westbury (Wiltshire)

Westhoughton (Greater Manchester)

Wetherby (West Yorkshire)

Whitby (North Yorkshire)

Whitchurch (Shropshire)

Willesden Green (North West London)

 

Labour's proposal includes updating the criteria for creating banking hubs and exploring how these hubs can enhance financial inclusion through digital training and debt advice. The party plans to empower the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with new regulatory powers to support Link in identifying locations for new hubs proactively.

This banking hub initiative is part of Labour's broader strategy to rejuvenate high streets, which also involves tackling anti-social behaviour and supporting local businesses and communities.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves highlighted the need to tackle the decline of Britain’s high streets, stating: "Labour's growth plan involves reintroducing banking to high streets with hundreds of new hubs to support local communities and businesses."

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow Housing secretary, added: "Our plan to reinstate high street banking, reform business rates, and permanently reduce energy bills will reinvigorate Britain’s high streets."

In contrast, Bim Afolami, financial secretary to the Treasury, highlighted the Conservative Party's commitment to protecting access to cash.

"We have a clear plan and are taking bold action to ensure the delivery of 225 more banking hubs, providing financial security and peace of mind for the public,” he said.

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