Letter: Robbed of a bank

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The Independent Culture
Sir: We urge Barclays to reconsider its plans to close down more than 200 branches next year and replace them with more cash machines. ("Barclays to cut 500 jobs and 200 more branches", 15 November). Barclays have a good record on promoting positive practice on disability but this announcement could leave hundreds of disabled customers excluded from basic financial services.

Wheelchair users and visually impaired people in particular often have problems using automated machines. Internet banking may be far cheaper to administer but the majority of disabled people are on low incomes and not all are likely to have Internet access at home.

Barclays are taking a number of progressive steps to meet the needs of disabled customers. It is developing a network of accessible branches featuring low-level counters, but this good practice will be undermined if widespread branch closures go ahead.

Everyone has a right to banking services in the local community. It is vital to independence, something so many of the 8 million disabled people in Britain are still often denied.



London N7