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Craig Mackinlay ‘appalled’ by plans to close four Lloyds Bank branches across Kent

PUBLISHED: 14:08 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:17 05 April 2017

Lloyds is closing four branches across the county. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Lloyds is closing four branches across the county. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

High street branches in Broadstairs, Hawkhurst, New Ash Green and Tenterden are all set to shut

Plans to close four branches of Lloyds Bank across Kent have left a county MP “appalled”.

The banking giant is set to shut 100 branches of Lloyds, Halifax and Royal Bank of Scotland, including high street premises in Broadstairs, Hawkhurst, New Ash Green and Tenterden.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has hit out against the closure in his constituency, which comes barely four months after Natwest bosses announced its branch in Broadstairs would close this year.

He tweeted: “Appalled [Lloyds] is planning to close Broadstairs in July. Time for different banks to utilise single premises?”

Speaking to Kent News last year, the Conservative said: “It is simply unreasonable and disrespectful to expect these residents, many of whom cannot drive, to travel so far to visit what is supposed to be their local branch.”

Mr Mackinlay has also voiced concerns about the impact on local firms, which was echoed by the Federation for Small Businesses today.

Chairman Mike Cherry 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 firms 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.”

A Lloyds spokesman said the group’s retail division was cutting 325 jobs as part of previously announced reductions under a management restructuring, while 96 new roles will be created.

The 100 branches will close between July and October, part of some 200 closures announced last summer.

“These branch closures - previously announced in July 2016 - are in response to changing customer behaviour, and the reduced number of transactions being made in branches,” said the spokesman.

“Our branches will continue to play a vital role in our multi-channel approach to meeting the full range of customer needs, and we expect to continue to have the biggest branch network in the UK.

“As we continue to make investment in our network, we will further expand the mobile branch fleet across Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, with the addition of nine new mobile branches.

“This will provide continuity of services in some of those areas affected by branch closures, alongside other ways to access banking locally.

“We are committed to working through the changes announced today in a careful and sensitive way.

“All affected employees have been briefed this morning, and our recognised unions were consulted in advance and will continue to be consulted throughout the process.

“The group’s policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy employees wherever possible. Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, wherever possible, this is achieved through offering voluntary redundancy.

“Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort.”

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