Action demanded on bank closures in Midlothian

Wednesday April 24th 2019

Clydesdale-Bank-Dalkeith

Written by Luke Jackson

Midlothian MSP Colin Beattie has called for re-assurances that local bank branches will remain open in Midlothian, after concerns over the number of banks and building societies which have closed across the country were raised.

A Which? study revealed that 5 banks and building societies have shut their doors in Midlothian, and almost 400 banks and building societies have closed across Scotland since 2015.

Communities across Scotland are rightly concerned about the impact of the decision to close will have on local businesses, employees, the elderly and vulnerable and all those who need access to banking services.

MSPs and MPs have been arguing for the reversal of hundreds of bank branch closures across Scotland, and a Holyrood committee urged that banks should be required to consult with customers, businesses and the wider community before closing local branches.

Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:

“These bank closures contribute to a lack of banking facilities, which will hit local families, small businesses, and tourism in Midlothian.

“More and more of us do our banking on the internet or by phone, but that simply isn’t an option for everyone. A face-to-face banking service is indispensable for many people, and banks must engage with people and businesses on their needs before deciding to close a branch.

“It would be a huge loss to Midlothian to see any more branches shut their doors – this could leave a significant number of elderly and vulnerable people without the preferred or necessary level of face-to-face service.

“My SNP colleagues and I will continue to fight for urgent action to ensure our communities have full access to adequate banking facilities.”

New information released by TSB suggests that the bank is reducing hours at around 70 branches in Scotland, while closing two premises in Edinburgh, one in Keith and one in Aberdeen.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said:

“This looks like TSB is reducing opening hours in branches up and down Scotland before closing their doors for good.

“In scores of communities these changes will reduce local footfall, hurting the vibrancy of many of our high streets. It will make it more difficult to run a business, especially if you operate in our cash-dependent retail and hospitality industries.

“UK Ministers must stop sitting on their hands when it comes to bank branch closures and uncertainty over our ATM network. We need to see policymakers look at the impact of these sorts of closures on the economic health of local communities.”

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