Bank Charges

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3 March 1993.

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Photo of Mr Eric Clarke Mr Eric Clarke , Midlothian 12:00, 3 March 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what meetings he has held with banks in Scotland about bank charges and the effect of changes in the charges on the viability of Scottish businesses, jobs and individuals with low fixed incomes.

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

My right hon. Friend and I have frequent contacts with the Scottish banks which enable matters of this kind to be discussed as necessary. The levels of charges that the banks apply for particular services are, however, a matter for their commercial judgment.

Photo of Mr Eric Clarke Mr Eric Clarke , Midlothian

Is the Minister aware that thousands of people are suffering from high bank charges? I give him one example, that of Mrs. Margaret Reid who lives at Easthouses in my constituency. A miner's widow, she is being charged £3 by the Royal Bank of Scotland for every transaction, for which she must pay out of her small pension. When she told the bank that she wanted to withdraw her account, she was told that she would be charged £10 to do that. Does he believe that people on such low incomes should be fleeced by the greedy banks?

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

I cannot comment on the case which the hon. Gentleman raises. I am surprised that, as the lady's constituency hon. Member, he has not taken the opportunity to raise the matter with the Royal Bank. In general terms, I refer him to a recent survey by the Forum of Private Business, which concluded: In almost every aspect, the Scottish banks were perceived in a superior light to the English banks, including bank charges, interest rates, collateral, indices of quality and banking relationships. I should have thought that, in the light of that, hon. Members might praise the Scottish financial community.