The Rural Shops Alliance (RSA) has urged the government to provide more support for village shops and post offices as the number of bank closures rise.

Earlier this week, Lloyds Bank announced it will close 200 branches over the next three years. The bank had previously pledged to not to shut branches where it was the “last bank in town”.

Chief executive of the RSA Ken Parsons said the announced closures reinforced the importance of the rural post office network in providing financial services in the increasing number of locations without a bank branch.

“Almost all rural Post Office branches are sited within a convenience store,” he said. “In the past, there has been modest but very important support from government to keep these vital local services alive.”

Parsons said that although post offices can carry out many types of transactions for customers of Lloyds and other high street banks, support is needed for them to survive and continue serving these communities.

“The long-term reduction in the number of rural bank branches means that it is more important than ever for the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and other government departments to make sure that village shops and the Post Office counters they sustain remain viable and are thus available to fill the gap as the number of bank branches continues to decline,” he said.