How many South Tyneside banks and cash machines have closed?
According to figures up to the end of April, four banks have been shuttered in South Shields since the start of 2015 – leaving eight remaining in the area.
In addition, two banks have been shuttered in Jarrow in that time, leaving just one in the area.
Analysis from consumer champion Which? has shown a sharp decline in the number of bank branches open across much of the UK.
Separate figures from cash machine operator LINK, show there has also been a decline in the number of free-to-use ATMs.
Since 2018 and March this year, the number of ATMs in South Shields dropped from 83 to 60 – and from 48 to 42 in Jarrow.
The increasing use of online banking and contactless payments have led to concerns some people will be left behind, or unable to access key services.
Which? chief executive, Anabel Hoult, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the move to digital payments but many are not yet ready to make that switch and ATM and bank branch closures have left the UK’s cash system at risk of collapse.”
A bill to protect access to cash was announced in the recent Queen’s Speech.
Economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups.
“We promised we would protect it, and we are delivering on that promise.”
Full details on what will be included are yet to be published.