North Ayrshire & Arran MP, Patricia Gibson, collected over 1,000 signatures whilst was out last Saturday with local SNP Councillor Scott Davidson - SNP for Kilwinning, Councillor Jean McClung SNP, Councillor Davina McTiernan SNP and Scottish National Party (SNP) activists, asking local people to sign a Parliamentary Petition against the closure of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branches in Kilwinning, Saltcoats and Kilbirnie.
RBS plans to shut 259 branches across the UK in June, including 62 in Scotland. A total of 680 people will lose their jobs. All affected branches are scheduled to close in June.
“The number of signatures gathered on a cold, wet and miserable day was astonishing and shows the anger and frustration local people feel at the decision.
“Since these closures were announced last November, I have sought answers on this decision, writing to RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan, lodging an Early Day Motion and I am tabling for a debate at Westminster, specifically on how North Ayrshire communities will be affected by these closures. The petition is the latest step in the campaign to save our banks.
“I am hugely disappointed by the disregard shown to the people of North Ayrshire. RBS is letting down local communities and it is disgraceful that this bank, which is 72.9% owned by taxpayers has failed to engage with its own customers, or consult with the communities they are purport to serve. If it was not for the taxpayer bailing them out, RBS would not even exist!
“These closures represent a serious loss of valuable local facilities that will penalise poor, elderly and disabled customers the most. In addition, many companies who bank with RBS as well as the Federation of Small Businesses insisted the closures would make it more difficult to run a business. Customers feel let down by banks whose digital focus is at the expense of the face to face contact that so many people value. It is high time that changed.
“To add insult to injury, £16 million was paid in bonuses to RBS executives last year, which could keep a fair few branches open.
“The petition allows local people to demonstrate the sense of betrayal and abandonment felt by our communities, as well as voice their concerns over branch and job losses. It urges the Bank to think again and pushes for the UK Government to bring its influence to bear on this disgraceful situation and RBS boss Ross McEwan should be summoned by the Prime Minister and told that these closures are unacceptable.
“We will continue to give people in the towns affected further opportunities to sign this petition over the coming weeks after which I will present the petition in the Commons.”