MPs call on RBS to halt branch closures

Inveraray businesses protest after the announcement of the closure in December last year.

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Following an inquiry’s damning report, Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has urged the UK Government to force the Royal Bank of Scotland to abandon its plans to close 62 Scottish branches.

Mr MacNeil said the report ‘shows how badly RBS has dealt with the situation and taken no account of the communities, many in remote areas, that will be affected’.

MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee concluded: ‘If RBS truly wants to meet the needs of its customers, it should respond to this overwhelming evidence – which shows that there continues to be a strong demand for in-branch services – and halt its closure programme. Given the recent profits reported by RBS, this is a cost it can easily afford to bear.

‘We recommend that the government use any influence that its majority shareholding provides to apply pressure on RBS to reconsider the closure programme.’

RBS reprieved 10 branches, including Castlebay, Lochboisdale and Inveraray, until the end of 2018, but the MPs called on the taxpayer-controlled bank to postpone this for six months for an independent review to ‘ensure they are not being set up to fail’.