Angus and Perthshire MPs in Treasury talks on RBS closures

© Paul Reid
Angus MP Kirstene Hair.

Angus and Perthshire MPs will meet senior Treasury figures in January to raise concerns about the Royal Bank of Scotland’s planned closure programme.

Angus Conservative MP Kirstene Hair and her Ochil and South Perthshire colleague Luke Graham have already held talks with RBS following the announcement that 62 branches, including several in Courier Country, are to go.

Following the meeting, they and 10 other backbench Tories wrote to Treasury Minister Stephen Barclay seeking further discussions on the move by the bank, which is 72% owned by taxpayers.

The pair also plan to raise the wider issue of access to branches in rural areas.

Ms Hair said she and fellow North East MPs were not reassured by the bank’s rationale for the closures.

She said: “The RBS closure in Montrose has the potential to impact a large number of customers as well as the staff who work in these branches.

“Banks are supposed to carry out a full community impact assessment when considering a branch closure or a significant reduction in opening hours.

“As far as RBS could tell us, this was not done.

“I told the executives how important local banking is to businesses and charities.

“Angus is already losing out to centralisation of public services and not everyone can travel to another community simply to bank.”

The letter from the Tory MPs to Mr Barclay also notes that in many rural constituencies the broadband connection required for internet banking is insufficient.

It adds that Post Office branches, which can provide some banking services, have also closed in many areas and mobile van banks might only visit a town or village once or twice a week.

The letter, written by Mr Graham and signed by the other MPs, states: “Access to banking is a necessity, wherever someone lives.

“If commercial banks are no longer intending to serve rural communities, then we have a duty to understand the needs of these communities and how we can use the levels we control to ensure they can be met.”

More than 100 bank branches are to close in Scotland next summer – 62 belonging to RBS and another 49 at Bank of Scotland.

The planned closures – 10 of which are in Tayside – has prompted The Courier to start a Save Our Banks campaign.