Lib Dems launch rally to protect RBS branch and new banking proposals
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone has called for a public rally at Midday on Friday 23rd February in support of the Tain branch of RBS, which faces imminent closure despite widespread public outcry.
Mr Stone met with with RBS representatives to express the community’s growing anxiety at the loss of high street banking services and has called on the UK Government to intervene to prevent RBS from closing large numbers of their branches.
He has also written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggesting that in remote communities Scotland’s banks jointly set up a wholly-owned subsidiary company which would offer banking services to the general public regardless of which individual bank they have their account with.
Mr Stone said:
“Losing the local RBS branch will be a major blow to people and businesses. Our local economy remains reliant on cash transactions, and the loss of another high street bank will make it increasingly difficult for businesses and organisations to deposit and withdraw the cash they need.
“The loss of over the counter banking is a serious threat to rural and ageing populations who do not have access to suitable broadband for digital banking. Downgrading existing bank branches to mobile branches won’t offer people the full range of banking services that they rely upon.
“We need to show RBS and the government how deeply upset and worried we are about losing yet another bank branch. The dreary and dispiriting rounds of high street closures are continually sapping the lifeblood out of towns and communities. The future of our local communities depends on us taking a stand now.”
Speaking about the proposals he has put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Stone said:
“When we use ATMs we don’t necessarily notice which bank owns the ATM – we are just interested in whether we can get money out of it and whether that withdrawal is free. The same approach can be applied to other banking transactions. For instance across the counter human-face enquiries about overdraft facilities, standing orders and the like – and most importantly cash deposits both large and small.”
"A responsible UK government has a role in making sure that suggestions such as this are seriously considered. I very much look forward to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's response."