Jo picks bank battle as first political fight

From the Evening Times

BRITAIN’S youngest MP Jo Swinson is using her might as a politician for the first time – to fight bank closures.

In her first Parliamentary act as the new LibDem MP for East Dunbartonshire, the 25 year old is calling for action to save local post offices and banks.

Ms Swinson, who was elected the UK’s youngest MP last month, has tabled a House of Commons motion warning of the disastrous consequences that could hit towns in her constituency.

She says the economy of communities and local high streets would be ruined if the axe fell on more banks.

Her motion follows both the recent closures of local post offices and the announcement that Clydesdale bank branches could be closed in East Dunbartonshire.

Branches under threat include Bishopbriggs, Bearsden, Milngavie and Kirkintilloch.

Already post offices – where some bank customers can do their business – have been closed in Kessington, Killermont, Auchinairn, Courthill and Westerton.

She is also lending her weight to save Bishopbriggs Post Office which is under threat of closure.

Ms Swinson said: “Businesses and older people rely on local branches for their banking services.

“It is deeply worrying that the continuing loss of financial services in our communities could lead to the disintegration of the local economy and the decimation of our local high streets.

“With the closure of so many post offices in East Dunbartonshire and now the threat of our banking services being axed, there is a real danger our high streets could become ghost towns.

“It is time ministers had an urgent root and branch investigation of the impact these closures will have on our economy and what can be done to reduce the impact on local pensioners and traders.”

The Evening Times reported last week that the first wave of Clydesdale Bank branches to close in the west of Scotland will shut on or around September 20.

The bank is axing 850 jobs and closing 60 branches all over Scotland.

Staff at four branches in Glasgow have learned they will close, two in the east end – Dennistoun and the combined Calton and Bridgeton branch – one in Govan and one in Pollokshields.

Clydesdale branches will also be shut in Stewarton, Newmilns and Dunlop, all Ayrshire, leaving Dunlop without a bank.

Jo swept into office with 19,533 votes – taking the seat from Labour’s John Lyons by a 4061 majority.

She graduated from the London School of Economics with a first-class honours degree in management, then moved to Yorkshire to work for a radio station.

She then took on a job as development officer for the UK Public Health Association.

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