(Bloomberg) -- The volume of complaints in the UK about debanking increased by almost half in the last tax year, underscoring the interest Nigel Farage has drawn to the topic through his furious public response to the closing of his accounts.

There were 3,858 new account closure complaints in the year through March, up 44% from the previous year, according to figures provided to the UK’s Treasury Committee by the Financial Ombudsman Service, which settles complaints between consumers and lenders.

There was a particular increase in the volume of complaints made by small businesses.

“It’s clear there is evidence that some legally operating businesses are being unfairly debanked,” Harriett Baldwin, chair of the Treasury Committee, said in the statement. “Banks should be doing all they can to support small business in this country, not pulling the rug out from beneath them with little warning.”

Debanking has become a hot political topic after Farage protested the closure of his account with NatWest Group Plc’s upmarket Coutts unit, saying his political views were a factor in the bank’s decision. The subsequent row led to the resignation of the bosses of NatWest and Coutts, while Farage has vowed to campaign for others who have been “debanked” on questionable grounds.

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