British banks faced fresh criticism on Monday for the savings rates they offer to cash-strapped customers, in the latest intervention by parliament's influential Treasury Select Committee.

The Treasury committee said it had written to the country's 'Big Four' banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest - asking if the banks believed their savings rates provided "fair value" and if customer inertia was being exploited.

"With interest rates on the rise and our constituents feeling squeezed by rising prices, it is only right that the UK's biggest banks step up their measly easy access savings rates. The time for action is now," said Harriett Baldwin, chair of the committee.

Baldwin added that she believed banks were failing in their "social duty" to encourage customers to save.

The four banks did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The committee said it had also written to regulator the Financial Conduct Authority asking if banks had responded to the pressure applied upon them and what enforcement action could be taken under a 'consumer duty' coming into force later this month.

(Reporting by Iain Withers; editing by Jason Neely)