Local Bank Closures — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 2:30 pm, 12th June 2019

I totally agree with my hon. Friend. As he mentioned Coldstream and Hawick, I am sure he will get two press releases out of that intervention—something he always does well in debates such as this. Our high streets are vital to our communities, but we have seen a reduction in the number of shops on them. If that continues, we will really suffer.

I will briefly mention banking hubs. They are an idea that we have to consider, and I want to hear what the Minister has to say about them. The idea is not a new one; I know that it was suggested as far back as 2002. Last year, I wrote to every bank operating in Scotland about the suggestion of looking further at banking hubs—I know it has been made by several politicians from different parties—and I have to say that the response was disappointing. Some of the banks ignored the suggestion, and others said that hubs were not right for them. Nationwide said that it did not believe it was in the interests of its members to enter into a branch-sharing scheme. Such a scheme might not be in the interests of Nationwide’s members, but it might be in the interests of our constituents and its customers.

We have to do far more to get the banks to work together. They may have some concerns, but if we cannot have the four branches that we used to have in Lossiemouth, let us at least have one hub where the banks can work together to ensure there is still a banking presence.