Gordon Macdonald, MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, has called for re-assurances that local bank branches will remain open in Edinburgh, after concerns over the number of banks and building societies which have closed across the country were raised.
A Which? study revealed that 52 banks and building societies have shut their doors in Edinburgh, 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.
SNP 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.
Macdonald has consistently raised concerns about the closures and the impact that it has on a substantial number of elderly and vulnerable people, as well as small businesses and local economies. Macdonald, who sits on The Scottish Parliament’s economy committee, also wrote to Equalities and Human Rights Commission with concerns about the lack of disability access on the replacement mobile banks.
Despite repeated calls for action, and its role as majority shareholder in RBS, he feels the Tory Westminster government has failed to lift a finger to prevent the closures.
Commenting, Gordon Macdonald said : “These bank closures contribute to a lack of banking facilities, which will hit local families, small businesses, and tourism across our capital.
“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 yet another branch.
“It would be a huge loss to Edinburgh to see even more branches shut their doors – this could leave a significant number of elderly and vulnerable people without the 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.”