The recent spate of bank closures across rural areas was raised in the Scottish Parliament chamber today (5 December) by Kate Forbes MSP.

In a Topical Question, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch highlighted the impact this will have on communities across Scotland and also asked the Scottish Government to raise the matter with the UK Government.

The prospect of RBS closures in Aviemore, Beauly, Kyle and Mallaig come less than a year after the Bank of Scotland shut its premises in Beauly, Broadford, Fortrose and Kingussie.

Speaking afterwards, Kate Forbes MSP said: “In light of the news that Royal Bank of Scotland intends to close 62 branches across Scotland, I thought it was vital that constituents’ concerns were raised in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

“The state owns a 71 per cent stake in RBS on behalf of taxpayers, like those most affected by this news.

“In my own constituency of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, there will be closures in Kyle, Mallaig, Beauly and Aviemore.

“As banks abandon the Highlands, this will have an adverse impact on elderly customers, cash-based businesses and rural communities.”

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch added: “I heard of one person who travels an hour from Applecross to the branch in Kyle.

“Now that RBS intends to close the RBS branch in Kyle, he will have to travel a further hour to Portree or two hours to Dingwall or Inverness. That could mean hours of travel.

“These closures come hot on the heels of Bank of Scotland closing banks in Fortrose, Kingussie, Broadford and Beauly and rural customers, who are more loyal and dependent due to lack of choice, will be hit hard.”