Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed the reversal of a decision by Barclays to scrap post office cash withdrawals.
Earlier this month, the bank announced plans to stop free cash withdrawals at post offices from January 2020, focusing instead on more ATMs and cheque cashing services.
Mr Herbert had condemned the move, describing it as 'completely unacceptable' and called for a House of Commons debate after raising the issue with the bank and ministers.
After meeting with MPs and business leaders, the bank said it had reversed its decision.
A Barclays spokesman said the ‘great deal of public and private debate’ influenced the reversal.
“Ultimately we have been persuaded to rethink our proposals by the argument that our full participation in the Post Office Banking Framework is crucial at this point to the viability of the post office network,” the spokesman said.
“Whilst we have concerns regarding the sustainability of relying on this model in the longer term, and want to work with Government and others to address the problems inherent in it, we recognise that the Post Office is a network valued by many communities in the UK today.”
The company pledged to maintain full post office services, including cash withdrawals, for three years.
Mr Herbert’s Arundel and South Downs constituency has had one of the highest rates of bank closures, with just one bank branch remaining in the whole constituency, in Storrington. All the other villages are now reliant on post office services.
Mr Herbert said: “After taking up this issue with ministers I was delighted to see Barclays reverse its decision. With so many bank branch closures, it was essential to protect the ability of post offices to provide banking services. Barclays’ plans threatened to undermine that, so I am grateful to the Government for stepping in."
In a tweet following Barclays’ decision, Hexham MP Guy Opperman, Minister for Financial Inclusion, singled out Mr Herbert as one of the people who deserved credit for the reversal.
John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: "It is vitally important that we have a model for the Post Office Banking Framework which is sustainable, now and in the future. We welcome Barclays' commitment to engage constructively on this so we can safeguard access to cash for everyone who needs it."