The announced closure of 62 RBS branches across Scotland in the last week has kicked off debate from village shops to Holyrood and was also raised at Prime Ministers Questions in Westminster.
The Holyrood debate saw cross-party support for calls for a re-think and larger impact assessments. There were even calls for an introduction of legislation to stop the closure of the ‘last bank in town’ without consultation by the independent Financial Conduct Authority.
Scottish Rural Action is undertaking this research to find out what the impacts will be on our rural communities and their high streets. Some suggest it may be a good thing as it will free up shop units for other types of businesses, whilst others argue it will drive away business. We expect the survey to show complex results with a range of impacts.
Scottish Rural Action will take full range of views collected to an evidence session at Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster on 17 January 2018, so it is important we are able to fully represent rural Scotland.
We know anecdotally impacts of these planned branch closures will hit rural communities the hardest, and it will be the elderly and those who rely on public transport that will be disproportionately affected. Island communities and villages in the Highlands and Borders may have to do round trips of several hours to do their cash banking. We know that many rural communities do not have reliable high speed broadband or mobile signal to use the digital solutions on offer for a limited number of services.
Once you have taken the survey, please share it with people in your community.