The Liberal Democrat Conference has today voted in favour of exploring opportunities to set up shared banking hubs in smaller communities so that people in remote and rural areas can preserve previous access to face-to-face financial services.
RBS has capitalised on the support of the tax payer and must take a more community-orientated approach.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats voted in favour of establishing a rapid-reaction service, similar to the Partnership for Continuing Employment initiative, to bring together public agencies to ensure they can all retain a presence at local level.
This mechanism would allow communities, through their local authorities, to have the ability to activate the service if they felt crucial local services were in jeopardy.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched a petition on these proposals.
Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, commented:
“Losing local RBS branches is a major blow to people and businesses across Scotland. It’s an easy cost-saving strategy for banks but it’s devastating for rural communities.
“Our local economies deserve busy high streets and face-to-face reliable banking. Peeling services back to their bare bones and making people rely on ever reducing mobile services, which are vulnerable to the elements, is simply not good enough.
“That’s why setting up banking hubs, where banks could pool resources to ensure at least one shop can stay open, is an innovative solution to the daunting programme of closures on the horizon.
“The UK Government must give these proposals serious consideration. There should be a mechanism for people to intervene when services in their towns are threatened.”