Scottish Affairs Committee

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 14th July 2022.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 1:30 pm, 14th July 2022

It is fair to say that the Chair and I do not always agree in the Scottish Affairs Committee—indeed, outwith the Committee, we almost never agree—but I pay tribute to the way that he has led this inquiry to the conclusion where we unanimously agreed the content of the report with no changes. That is also credit to our Clerks and it is right to thank them for their work in evidence gathering and report writing.

Does the Chair of the Select Committee agree that it was clear from a number of the evidence sessions that many of the banks are frankly morally bankrupt in the way that they treat their loyal and dedicated customers with contempt? In Forres, we have seen all four of the bank branches close in recent years. Just this week, the final bank—the Bank of Scotland—closed its branch. I held a meeting with my right hon. Friend the Minister and senior managers to discuss the issue, but they refused to come to Forres and speak directly to the customers they were leaving. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there should be far more engagement between the banks and their customers? Does he also agree that there is an opportunity to have banking hubs? If individual banks do not believe that they have the customers to keep a branch open, they should work together so that a town the size of Forres can still have a banking footprint.