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Day of action arranged to persuade RBS to abandon bank closure plans

Ian Blackford
Ian Blackford

Campaigners have pledged to hold a day of action across the country as they battle to stop RBS from axing 62 branches.

The SNP’s MPs, MSPs and activists will collect signatures for a petition in a bid to force the bank to abandon plans to close 52 sites.

Earlier this month, bank bosses U-turned on plans to close 10 of its outlets – including Castlebay in Barra and Beauly – until at least the end of the year following pressure from the Press and Journal’s Save Our Banks campaign.

However opponents of the plan, including  the SNP’s Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford, have promised to fight the other 52 closures.

Among the outlets which will be shut are Barra, Wick, Aviemore, Nairn, Grantown on Spey, Banff, Turriff, Dyce, Bridge of Don, Ellon and Huntly.

Mr Blackford insisted the battle to save these branches was not over.

He said: “The SNP national day of action is aimed at keeping the pressure up on RBS.

“They have shown they were willing to listen, but their damaging and misguided plans to continue with the closure of 52 branches across Scotland are completely unacceptable and must be challenged.

“As a majority shareholder, the Tory UK Government has the power and responsibility to intervene and prevent these local banks from closing.

“They are letting Scotland down by refusing to do anything.”

Meanwhile, Labour has argued the deal brokered by the Nationalists has sealed the fate of the 52 branches.

Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird claimed that Mr Blackford’s intervention had “undermined” an inquiry by Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee, which is chaired by his party colleague Pete Wishart.

She has expressed concern that the short-term reprieve has been given at the expense of the majority of the threatened outlets.

RBS will monitor use of the branches, and will then carry out an independent review to determine their long-term future.

The bank has previously said the raft of closures was due to more people banking online.

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