Following the finding from Which? that a third of Scottish banks have closed since 2010, and a dedicated evidence session on ever-reducing access to cash in Scotland, Pete Wishart MP comments on the effects on rural businesses and communities and the need for tighter regulation.
Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Pete Wishart MP said:
“It is abundantly clear that regulations have not been strong enough to maintain the ATMs and banks throughout rural Scotland that communities and businesses rely on. Which? told us this morning that a third of Scottish banks have closed since 2010. Banks are using provision of mobile branches as a ‘get out of jail free card’, but these services are clearly insufficient. We heard that strong regulation is essential and that it should be on a statutory footing.
We were particularly concerned to hear the difficulties that vulnerable groups experience from a lack of face-to-face bank contact. We also heard that the future of Scotland’s tourism industry depends on reversing the trend of ever-reducing access to cash. Banks continue to turn a blind eye to these very worrying consequences of their insistence on closing banking facilities. They must halt these closures or risk the suffering of Scotland’s rural businesses and tourism industry being on their watch.”
The Scottish Affairs Committee began its inquiry into access to financial services in Scotland today with an evidence session featuring representative of Which?, Citizens Advice, and Scottish Rural Action as well as a member of the Access to Cash Review. The Committee focused on the impact these closures are having on communities and businesses across Scotland, and which areas have been most affected.