Leanne Wood has called for the post office network to be strengthened in the wake of a series of bank closures in the Rhondda.
The Rhondda AM said the post office was the only way many communities in the constituency could access financial services following the mass bank branch closure programme. As a result, Ms Wood called on the Welsh Government to make funds available to help post offices protect and strengthen their business viability.
During a plenary session this week, Ms Wood said: “In the last month, we've lost three bank branches in the Rhondda.
“Barclays announced that they're closing their branches in Tonypandy and Ferndale, and more recently, Santander have announced that they are going to close their branch in Tonypandy as well.
“This now means that there is not a single bank branch in the Rhondda Fach. Now, it's clear to me that in the wake of this callous closure programme from the corporate banks, the post office network is going to take on an extra level of importance.
“In the past, we had the post office diversification fund. That was a key component of the Plaid Cymru-Labour One Wales Government that awarded grants to post offices to make those businesses more sustainable.
“If we could protect and strengthen the post office network, it could ensure that people and communities do not become completely cut off from financial services. So, in the light of this, will you consider making funds available to reactivate such a fund?”
In reply Minister for Finance and Trefnydd Rebecca Evans said in the current climate the Welsh Government would not be funding such a scheme.
On a more positive note, Leanne welcomed confirmation that Tonypandy Post Office has reopened this week after being closed for several months. She also welcomed efforts by the Post Office to advertise Ferndale Post Office to prospective postmasters in light of the incumbent’s retirement plans.
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