More than 2.2million people live in constituencies with ZERO bank branches | The Sun

MILLIONS of people are living in constituencies without a single bank branch as thousands of sites are axed across the country.

More than 2.2million customers have to travel miles for face-to-face services, with many more only having access to one local branch.

Britain is now nicknamed a "banking desert", as 23 constituencies have had all of their bank branches closed down.

The closures come as big banks look to move more of their services online.

Data from the UK's largest cash machine network, LINK, keeps track of any planned branch closures across the UK.

A number of banks are set to close their branch doors for the final time this month.

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Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Halifax are among those impacted across locations such as London, Suffolk and Newcastle.

Barclays closed four branches earlier this month.

The nationwide closures have been blasted by campaigners, who say that the elderly have been left "high and dry".

They say older people are less likely to bank online due to a lack of confidence and fears of being scammed.

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Some major UK banks have axed more than 80 per cent of their branches in the last eight years, says consumer group Which?

"It is a banking desert in many ways," said former NatWest executive and banking campaigner Derek French.

"People now must go to a city or a large town.

"That used to be a reasonable mileage away, but now the large town might have lost its banks and people have to go 20 or 30 miles or more to their nearest branch."

Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, labelled the decline in bank branches in recent years as a "serious blow" to elderly customers.

"The rapid decline in bank branches in the last few years has been a serious blow for millions of older people, particularly those who are not online or confident with mobile banking," Caroline said.

"These new figures reveal how big the problem is and mean many will have to travel even further to access another branch, while for others it will be nearly impossible to secure a face-to-face banking service close enough to home.

"The banks continue to encourage us all to manage our money online, but they seem to forget millions of older people don't use computers so are potentially high and dry when their local branch shuts."

A further 3.6 million people live in 37 parliamentary constituencies with just one bank, MailOnline reports.

Barnsley East, Bradford South, Glasgow North East, Sheffield Hallam, Mid-Derbyshire, Mid-Bedfordshire, York Outer, Reading West, St Helens North and Swansea East are some of the constituencies with no banks.

Even in constituencies clinging on to a final branch, that may only benefit residents who bank with it.

"Bank closures have a devastating ripple effect, leaving high streets to struggle and businesses having to travel miles to make deposits," Federation of Small Businesses policy chairman Tina McKenzie said.

Cash machine network Link said 636 sites will be gone by the end of December, with a further 42 banks being earmarked for closure next year.

Adam Afriyie, Tory MP for Windsor, with one branch left, said: "The lack of banks also causes problems for many of our hospitality businesses.

"They don't want to take cash from customers because they cannot bank it securely nearby."

James Gray, Tory MP for North Wiltshire, which also has one bank, added: "I'm very concerned. People in rural areas rely heavily on banks."

Treasury Committee chairman Harriett Baldwin, Tory MP for West Worcestershire, said: "The committee regularly raises this issue with banks and regulators.

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"It's important people can access cash. That means local access to bank branches and free cashpoints."

It comes after Barclays, which has 1,500 branches, pulled the plug on more locations as they disappear from the high street for good.

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