Dalkeith branch closure a blow to Midlothian economy, says FSB

Thursday January 19th 2017

Clydesdale Bank Branch Dalkeith

The Clydesdale bank branch at 102 High Street, Dalkeith

Responding to the announcement of the widespread closure of Clydesdale branches, including the Dalkeith branch, Gordon Henderson, Senior Development Manager at FSB, said:

“These closures come at a time when small firms across Scotland are already struggling to access banking services. Increased reliance on limited Post Office facilities and poor broadband connectivity have seriously impacted the ability of small businesses to bank effectively. This hurts their productivity and, ultimately, their bottom line.

“While we welcome Clydesdale’s commitment to investing in digital innovation in light of the closures, our research shows that small businesses feel there is no substitute for in-person advice when tackling complex financial matters. Physical branches are also a critical resource for our many members who deal heavily in cash, and therefore need regular access to over-the-counter banking facilities.

“FSB research from last year revealed that bank branches are closing faster in Scotland than in any other UK nation. The Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) estimated that there were 1037 bank branches in Scotland at the end of 2014 – with these 40 closures, that brings the number of active branches in Scotland to fewer than 1000.

“Faced with competition from out of town retail parks at Straiton and Fort Kinnaird, the many large supermarkets in the area, and the growing trend to shop online, Dalkeith’s town centre has been struggling and this is yet another blow. Not only does the Dalkeith branch support a great many local small business owners, it supports local jobs and so the Midlothian economy.”

Colin Beattie, MSP for the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency, today condemned the forthcoming closure of the Clydesdale Bank branch in Dalkeith. The Clydesdale Bank has announced that the Dalkeith branch, along with 39 other of their branches, will be closing due to a transformation in their banking practices.

The bank has stated that customers will now have to either travel to the Musselburgh branch, use online banking, or go to the local post office.

Concerned with this news, Mr. Beattie said:

“It is unacceptable that the closest branch will now be Musselburgh. This will be an inconvenience to customers, particularly elderly ones. A trip to Musselburgh would cause real problems to customers of the bank who have mobility issues or who do not have access to transportation.

“I understand that customers can now go to the local post office, but that’s simply not the same as a bank. Online banking is all fine and well, but people need to have confidence in the system. Further, many people still do not have a PC, let alone internet access.

“Additionally, what about the staff of the Dalkeith branch. With this closure, some people may find themselves without a job, creating issues not only for those who frequent the bank, but for those working there as well.

“I strongly urge Clydesdale Bank to reconsider the effect that this closure will have on the town and encourage them to rethink its decision.”

Mr. Beattie has launched a motion at the Scottish Parliament highlighting this issue.”

Motion Number: S5M-03513 – Nationwide Closure of Clydesdale Bank Branches

“That the Parliament notes with concern the forthcoming closures of 40 Clydesdale Bank branches across Scotland; understands that the closure of the Dalkeith branch will result in Dalkeith customers having to travel to Musselburgh for their nearest Clydesdale Bank branch; considers that this situation will be similar for several other parliamentary constituencies across Scotland; considers that this decision will have an impact on older people, those with mobility issues, and those without regular internet access to use online banking facilities; further notes with concern that approximately 200 staff members will be adversely affected by this decision, and urges the Clydesdale Bank to reconsider its decision.”

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