In a debate on the Economy in the Scottish Parliament, Colin Beattie said “The inconvenience to local businesses and personal customers, many of whom are vulnerable and elderly, was considerable. Bank closures continue the pernicious hollowing out of our communities, as libraries and other local facilities that formed the heart of communities are closed or run down.”
Commenting after the debate, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Bank closures are not just an inconvenience; they are an attack on the sustainability of our smaller towns and villages.
“Banks have not been particularly honest in their engagement on the subject. For example, RBS stated that it would never close the last bank in town, but that is exactly what it has done. Figures from 2016 suggest that that has happened 165 times in Scotland and the north of England. It has happened in communities including Kilmacolm, Gourock, Prestonpans and, more locally, Newtongrange, and Pathhead in my constituency.
“Bonnyrigg is one of the largest towns in my constituency and contains a large number of small businesses whose turnover is mostly in cash. They need to be able to bank those takings, but without a local bank or adequate arrangements through the post office, the businessman needs to take time out of his day to travel to the nearest bank branch, or instead pay for the money to be uplifted.”
“Banks need to revisit their assumptions and engage with that bigger picture, and the Scottish Government must have a role in that engagement.”