Government refuse MP's request for a debate on bank closures
In the House of Commons today, far north MP Jamie Stone asked the Government to set aside time for a debate on bank closures following the shock news that the Clydesdale branch in Brora will be shutting.
But he was disappointed with the reply he received.
Clydesdale Bank announced yesterday that "customers can do all of their straightforward day-to-day banking at the Post Office", ignoring the fact that the Brora Post Office branch closed some time ago.
It has left the county of Sutherland with only one bank – the Bank of Scotland at Golspie
Speaking in the Commons this morning, Mr Stone said: “Yesterday I received an email from the Clydesdale Bank telling me that they are going to shut the branch in Brora in Sutherland which is just another addition to a sickening litany of bank closures we have seen across the Highlands. We cannot go on with this.
“Could I ask the Leader of the House to consider a debate on this issue in this Chamber because for us not to do something is to let down constituents in every part of the UK.”
Responding Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons, said: “It is an issue for many people, but he will also appreciate that banks are commercial businesses and the way people manage their financial affairs is changing.
“One step that the Government has taken is the access to banking protocol where banks will consult broadly but also really importantly is the work the Government has done in investing in the Post Office network which has resulted in 99.7 per cent of the UK population now living within 3 miles of a Post Office branch.”
After receiving the reply, Mr Stone said: “The Government do not take the issue of bank closures seriously and rejecting a debate on this matter highlights their lack of concern for the constituents that will be affected.
“The Leader of the House has some nerve to refuse the debate on the basis that 99.7 per cent of people live within three miles of a Post Office, as for many of my constituents this is simply not true. She speaks of ‘investment’ into the Post Office network but all people in the Highlands have seen are closures and many communities are left with neither a bank branch nor a Post Office.
“I will continue to fight these closures and will be encouraging Ministers to travel to my constituency to see first-hand the difficulties they create for people living in rural areas.”