The UK Government has rejected a call from Scottish MPs to use its majority stake in RBS to stop banks closures.
The Scottish Affairs Committee urged the Westminster Government use its influence to turn the screws on the taxpayer-owned bank, which is shutting up to 62 of its retail sites in its latest cull north of the border.
But in an official response to the committee’s bank closures inquiry, the Tory administration said governments should not intervene in commercial decisions.
Peter Wishart, the chairman of the Westminster group of Scots MPs, condemned the failure to act on the committee’s recommendations.
“The fact that nothing has been done to reverse the swathe of bank closures further demonstrates the indifference on the part of the UK Government and RBS when it comes to those most affected by their decisions,” the Perthshire SNP MP said.
“Rural areas of Scotland, where the loss of a local bank branch is compounded by broadband access issues and lengthy journey times to alternative facilities, deserve better.”
Kirstene Hair, the Scottish Conservative MP, said she fought hard to retain services in her Angus constituency.
She said those closures were an “extremely disappointing move taken for commercial reasons.” adding: “I have left RBS executives in no doubt that any further erosion of Angus services would be completely unacceptable.”
Scottish Labour’s Danielle Rowley said: “It’s really disappointing that the government continues to wash its hands of branch closures.”
The RBS branches that have closed this year include Montrose, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy, Dundee Stobswell, Bridge of Allan, Perth South Street and Dunblane.
Comrie has been given a reprieve so footfall can be independently examined.
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The Courier has campaigned against the closures.
Rebuffing the committee’s call, the UK Government said: “The government does not intervene in any commercial, management or operational decisions relating to RBS, including on the future of the branch network.
“Due to the nature of these governance arrangements, it would be inappropriate for government to seek to influence the day-to-day management of the bank branch network.”
However, the government said maintaining access to services is “regularly discussed” in meetings between ministers and financial services firms.