BANKS closing in rural areas could see villages and towns become “empty shells” warns UKIP’s Neil Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton, AM for Mid-And West Wales and UKIPs group leader in the Welsh Assembly is calling on the government to set up a Rural Summit to provide solutions to the crisis.

This follows and announcement by Barclays bank to close seven branches in Wales, including Llanidloes

Mr Hamilton AM, said: “The Welsh Government needs to take the initiative and call a Rural Summit to come up with a co-operative solution.

“We need to bring together the clearing banks, in conjunction with the Post Office and small shops' organisations, to produce a plan to integrate essential financial services like cash withdrawals, and other limited simple services through single local outlets.

“We cannot allow rural towns and villages to become empty shells and just dormitory communities.

Ensuring basic financial services are available is an essential part of the fight back.”

Mr Hamilton will be contacting Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, “demanding” that Welsh Government accepts this is a serious problem.

Barclays announced that a total of 54 branches were set to close across the UK following growing demand for online services and fewer people going to branches in person.