BARCLAYS has announced it will be ending the option for customers to withdraw cash from Post Offices.

The bank is opting out of part of an agreement, which 28 other banks have signed up to, to ensure there is free access to everyday banking services from PO branches.

While customers will still be able to pay in cash and cheques and check their balances at POs, Barclays says over-the-counter cash withdrawals using a debit card will end from January, 2020.

Cash withdrawal by cheque will still be available, subject to arrangement.

The bank has been widely criticised for the move and MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West), fearful of its impact in places like Otley - which lost its Barclays branch in 2018 - is urging a re-think.

His letter to the company says: “This news comes soon after the closure of two Barclays branches in my constituency as well as a reduction of free to use cash machines available locally.

“Providing access to money, particularly for older and more vulnerable people is a responsibility for all high street banks.”

Barclays, meanwhile, this week also issued a pledge to not close any branches in remote areas, or where it is the last bank in town, for the next two years.

And it is exploring ways to boost demand in branches by introducing measures like flexible opening hours and video banking which will be trialled in 12 areas - including Guiseley.

Managing director of branch-based banking at Barclays, Adam Rowse, said: “By maintaining last-in-town or remote branches over the next two years and working with the community we hope to increase demand and keep these branches viable.

We also recognise there are opportunities to support customers with access to cash where there is no branch or ATM nearby.

“We are launching a cashback offering working with merchants to give customers access to cash over the counter.”

The cashback scheme is set to launch in more than 200 locations from next January.