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Politicians representing communities across Perth & Kinross are demanding that the Royal Bank of Scotland reconsiders plans to close branches in Perth & Kinross, after a shock announcement that the bank plans a series of closures across the country.

Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP said:

“This is very disappointing news for customers and particularly for staff who will now be worried about their future so close to Christmas.

“Local banking services are vital to communities in Perth & Kinross and many people are still dependent on high street services – this is a lifeline service for some.   The closures announced by RBS in this area go way beyond even the level of closures that are taking place right across the country.

“Across Perth & Kinross we are going from seven branches down to just two in the whole area.  Branches will have disappeared entirely from South Perthshire and from Kinross-shire and will be particularly sorely felt given the age demographics in the communities affected. 

“Given the distances that will now be involved in finding the nearest RBS Branch, I imagine many customers will be seriously considering moving their accounts because other banks are, after all, available.”

Mr John Swinney MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the North Perthshire constituency, added:

“These proposed branch closures from RBS let down communities, disadvantage small businesses and will have an impact on tourism.

“This is not a decision that can be made simply on a commercial basis and the quoting of statistics about the number of customers who use online or other forms of banking.

“It  does nothing to assist those customers who do use their local branch, nor indeed those who are happy to bank online but only because they are safe in the knowledge that there is a local bank handy to help sort out any problems that arise.

“Residents of Highland Perthshire will feel particularly let down by these proposals as they could now face 60 mile round trips if they need to use their nearest bank branch, should these closures go ahead.

“I welcome the steps taken by the Scottish Government with Paul Wheelhouse, the Business Minister, calling on the UK Government to establish and enforce a guaranteed minimum level of service provision for essential banking services, recognising the importance of continued access to banking for communities across Scotland, and across the UK.

“The Scottish Government has also said that they will continue to engage closely with banks and with senior representatives from all major companies in the financial services industry.”

Mr Pete Wishart MP, Member of Parliament for Perth & North Perthshire, concluded:

“The SNP Group of MPs in Westminster will also be raising the matter in the House of Commons and pressing the UK Government to step in and use its influence to change this devastating decision.

““RBS is not just any old bank.  The UK Government remains a significant shareholder in the bank and they should be using that influence to ensure that this is a bank that serves communities right across the country. 

“If they are not prepared to do so then any Tory politician expressing dismay at this decision is doing nothing more than weeping crocodile tears and should be held to account.

“It is extremely important that the banks listen to the needs of customers and recognise that there is a continued need for face-to-face provision as well as cash withdrawal and deposit machines.

“Along with John and Roseanna, I am seeking an urgent meeting on the future of these local services and urge them to think again on these closure decisions.”

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 63 Glasgow Road, Perth PH2 0PE  •  01738 620540   •   Website designed & hosted by Craig Mackay Design