Scottish Affairs Committee

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

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 1:30 pm, 14th July 2022

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks—I am sure we will be back to business as normal on Monday, when the Committee meets again.

The hon. Gentleman’s substantive points were very useful. I agree that banks need to properly explain to local communities the reasons behind closures. I remember a protest in Aberfeldy. It takes a lot to get people protesting in Aberfeldy, but they protested in large numbers about the closure of the Royal Bank of Scotland branch there. Communities get very upset about this issue, and they look for reasons and answers. They want to understand why banks in the heart of the community have been closed, and more could be done to explain that.

There is, of course, a code of conduct that the banks are expected to fall in line with, but I think most people find that insufficient. Again, there may be a role for the Government to intervene and to make sure that we have proper thresholds and guidelines for where banks are to be closed. The previous Government had legislation about the last branch in town, but that seems to have gone and is no longer a feature of the Government’s thinking about this issue. The Minister is listening, and that may be something that he might want to think about as we look forward to the Bill being introduced.