The proposed closure of 19 Bank of Scotland branches will mark the loss of the last bank in town in Dunblane and many other communities. As a result, vulnerable people in Dunblane who do not have access to digital banking would need to make a 12-mile round trip to the nearest branch.
Does the First Minister agree that the proposed move is clearly out of step with our ambition to build 20-minute neighbourhoods, regenerate our high streets and connect communities to lifeline services?
I share those concerns and those sentiments. We all understand that the way in which people access banking services has changed—in some respects, quite fundamentally—and that banks must respond to that and make sure that the services that they provide are reflective of that.
However, the physical presence of banks and other facilities can be very important in sustaining access and the life of local communities, so it is really important that banks try to find the right balance. I personally and the Government generally have communicated those views to the banking sector and will continue to do so.