OTLEY'S MP visited one of the town's banks this week.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) popped into Barclays, on Manor Street, to show his support for local branches.

He said: "It is very important for members of Parliament to engage with local bank branches.

"The move to technology and new ways of banking is inevitable in the modern age but there is still a great need for the local high street bank, particularly in places like Otley and Yeadon.

"Small Businesses depend on local banks and access to a branch is a key draw to any new start-up business that wants to invest in the local community.

"Lending in areas affected by closures have more than halved and postcodes that lose their last bank lose, on average, 1.6 million pounds in lending.

"Otley banks draw custom from rural areas - without them residents of surrounding villages and rural businesses would have to drive into Leeds and Bradford to do their banking which would have an adverse effect on Otley’s economy and the environment.

"Whilst many of us are switching to online banking we must remember there are still many people, particularly older people, who may not have or want to use a computer - a situation that has been compounded by Tory cuts to council budgets, reducing funds for computers in local libraries."

Barclays, meanwhile, is setting up a computer coding programme for young people in Otley as part of its Digital Eagles skills programme.

Mr Sobel added: "Coding is a key skill for the 21st Century workforce and I am glad that businesses like Barclays are investing in the future of our young people."