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Banks (Closing Days)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1949

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40.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will permit branch banks in England and Wales to be closed to the public on 1st July next and 2nd January, 1950, to enable the staffs to deal with the balancing of books and the heavy dividend and interest load and to ensure smoother working and greater efficiency of service to the public on succeeding days.

No, Sir, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 18th November, 1947, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the hon. and learned Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe) and the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. H. Hynd). My right hon. and learned Friend has recently reviewed the question but sees no reason to alter his opinion that it would not be in the public interest to close the doors of the banks to the public on the days mentioned.

As there is considerable evidence that it would be both in the public interest and in the interests of the staff that this heavy burden should be relieved by closing the banks to the public on those days, could the matter be considered, especially in view of the fact that this practice was followed during the war and was found of great benefit?

They certainly were closed during the war, but it was because of the shortage of staff. I understand that the banks now have their staffs back and it does not, therefore, appear reasonable that the banks should be closed for these two extra days and that the public should be robbed of the facilities which otherwise would be provided.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in any event at the end of this year the banks will be closed to the public for one-and-a-half days?