Hundreds more jobs will be lost in Royal Bank of Scotland’s cull of branches than its bosses have admitted, says a whistleblower.
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford told MPs of a leaked document suggesting that full-time staff cuts from the closure programme in Scotland will be 321 – double the number published by the taxpayer-owned bank.
Eight of the RBS branches set to shut next year are in Tayside and Fife, while the Bank of Scotland is closing a further two.
It follows a flurry of the branch closures in the region.
The Courier is campaigning against the cuts, which will hit vulnerable people and small businesses the hardest.
Flanked by SNP MPs as he led an adjournment debate on the closures in rural areas in the Commons on Monday night, he said: “I am indebted to an RBS whistleblower who has contacted me in the light of public statements that RBS has made.
“It is claimed by RBS that the full-time equivalent job losses in Scotland are 165 – I am informed that the actual number of workers being cut is 321.
“I am told that the UK-wide figure is 1,446 jobs, against the 685 on a full-time equivalent basis that have been published.
“The expected redundancies across the UK are a worst case scenario, are 971, and includes 97% of the 216 customer service officers in the branches affected, 86% of the 246 associate personal bankers, 84% of the 126 customer service managers and 49% of the personal bankers.”
Mr Blackford continued: “It is clear that the chances of redeployment within the RBS network are slim for a lot of staff members.
“These figures are in a paper forwarded to me in a document about the restructuring of the branch network – I have told RBS I have been given details of the figures contained within this report.
“RBS are not only turning their back on their customers, they are turning their backs on their staff members.”
Treasury minister Steve Barclay said RBS will have noted the staffing concerns raised by Mr Blackford, adding: “He will be well aware RBS has a duty to consult its staff and I expect they will be keen to respond to him on the specific allegation he made in the House this evening.”
He added RBS’s decision was independent of the Government and also noted the banking market is changing, with the use of cash and branch visits decreasing.
Mr Barclay concluded: “It’s important we use the time we now have in the six months between this announcement and branches closing in order to ensure customers are able to use other services or to use the post office as an alternative.”
Conservative MP Luke Graham (Ochil and South Perthshire) earlier told the debate: “We don’t believe the Royal Bank of Scotland is serving our constituents or customers appropriately.
“Furthermore, the mitigating factors they’re putting forward in terms of offering digital online services and post office services doesn’t work in our communities where broadband is poor and the post offices are too small or insufficient for our local populations.”
RBS has been contacted for comment.