Blaenau’s mining community left without a banking establishment
Two Blaenau Ffestiniog County Councillors Mandy Williams-Davies and Annwen Daniels are gravely concerned at the news announced this week that HSBC bank is to close its doors leaving the Gwynedd town with no banking establishment. The economical and community knock is made even worse as no consultation has been held with any businesses in the town.
Organisations such as the Chamber of Trade in Blaenau, the Town Council nor Gwynedd Council have received any communication from HSBC bank officials saying it was considering leaving the town without a bank.
Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies who represents Diffwys and Maenofferen Ward said on Monday (20 June) as she joined MP Liz Saville-Roberts and community members outside the bank: “This is a tragic day for Blaenau Ffestiniog. This is a town that has a thriving and entrepreneurial tourism sector, second to none in north Wales. A traditional mining town that is vibrant in its social community enterprising. A town that has received inward investment of £3.1 million from the European Union funding in recent years. And today, the finance sector has officially announced it is leaving the town.
Councillor Annwen Daniels who represents Bowydd a Rhiw residents said: “Blaenau Ffestiniog is being let down by the financial sector, and being left without a banking establishment. What message does that relay to any individual, business or company thinking of investing or setting up a new business here in Blaenau Ffestiniog?
“In the last century alone, Blaenau has seen some hard and troubled times - we have struggled economically as the mining industry diminishes and we have experienced real poverty. But through it all, there is the greatest sense of community spirit here in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies said: “Today we will unite, as the banking establishment leaves this hard working determined mining community – we will come together and unite. We will fight on another day, and we will continue to be innovative as a community.
“Blaenau Ffestiniog will survive this mule’s kick whether or not Barclays, Nat West or even HSBC bank stay or go. We will fight on, because we can. The people of Blaenau Ffestiniog and the surrounding area will survive and continue to work together to the benefit of local people and the next generation of young people.”
Another concern again raised by Plaid Cymru members at Blaenau Ffestiniog is that the Welsh language service provided by HSBC bank will also diminish with the closure of the branch.
Councillor Annwen Daniels said: “There is talk time and time again from the banks that people can access on-line banking as branches across Wales shut their doors. If you are fortunate enough to be able to operate adequate broadband services in some of our rural locations, not one word on HSBC on-line banking service is available to customers in Welsh.”
“As a largely Welsh speaking community, we are losing, not only local jobs for local people, we also lose the local customer service provided by these professional people. Importantly we also lose our right to communicate and carry out our business with the bank in our preferred language, Welsh,” Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies concluded.