Barclays, quite rightly, is facing a tide of criticism for opting out of part of the agreement banks have with post offices to allow customers to withdraw cash.

The decision has been slammed by Natalie Ceeney, chairwoman of the Access to Cash Review, which was carried out earlier this year.

She has said: “Barclays customers make 1.2 million cash withdrawals from Post Offices every month.

“The cash system that supports them must be cherished, not undermined.”

And she is absolutely right.

It can’t be underestimated how important having access to cash is for residents in the rural communities across Northumberland, and the valued custom for small businesses who rely on residents having easy access to their money.

Around 15 million transactions were carried out last year – 41,000 a day – yet the bank still sees fit to call time on the vital service from January.

This will leave its customers with longer journeys to access their savings at fast-disappearing cash machines and high street branches.

Bosses at Barclays have shut 481 branches since 2015, leaving many communities reliant on post offices.

Barclays will reportedly save only £7m a year from the decision. This compares with a £3.5bn profit last year.

Hexham’s MP, Guy Opperman, commented: “What is particularly galling is that, in October last year, the Barclays executives were lauding their relationship with the Post Office as a way of ensuring rural communities have access to financial services. An approach like this does not reflect well on the social responsibility of Barclays.”

There seems to be no doubt that, in a great many cases, there simply will be no alternative solution for customers living in the Tyne Valley and Ponteland.

It is not too late for Barclays to reverse the decision before they see an exodus of customers.