Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Bank Branch Closures

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:50 pm on 18th March 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 4:50 pm, 18th March 2020

I agree 100%. The banks are forcing a change in behaviour. In Galston, Bank of Scotland also highlighted that businesses are now using the cash machine to lodge more money. Why is that? It is because the staff have advised businesses to do that. Guess what? It is now taking away that cash machine anyway, so that argument is completely undermined.

It is really frustrating for people when they get a letter with fancy pie charts and statistics that are frankly meaningless. I believe that I have got some analytical skills, so as an MP I contacted the bank to ask a number of questions about the statistics it provided on changing behaviour. I got the most ridiculous, bland response, all dressed up in woolly words and ignoring my questions. I call on the Bank of Scotland at the very least to up its game, increase engagement and answer questions that come from the likes of me and the members of the community who are lobbying hard.

In concluding, I would like to raise another issue that is pertinent to people who have worked for Royal Bank of Scotland. Many women who worked in banks were part-time workers who had less wages. They had to suffer redundancies through bank closures. Some of them might be WASPI women—Women Against State Pension Inequality—who will have to wait longer before they access their state pension. Those who were RBS employees discover that, once they access their state pension, RBS initiates a clawback on their private pension. I met constituents on Friday, and one of them loses up to 25% of her pension. It turns out that is legal—it goes back to an agreement that RBS put in place—but it is also immoral.

Royal Bank of Scotland is part of the NatWest group—that is how it is to be rebranded—and NatWest does not employ such a clawback. I urge the Minister to think about that and the impact it is having on people. Given that the Government are the major shareholder in Royal Bank of Scotland, and it is now returning a profit of billions of pounds, the very least they could do is look after those workers who were loyal to Royal Bank of Scotland but got a kick in the teeth when bank closures were implemented.