The announcement that Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 62 branches across the UK, including three – Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane – in the Stirling area, is particularly unwelcome.
The reaction of the UK Government, which owns a 73 percent stake in the bank bought with taxpayers’ money, is simply unacceptable.
Here’s why : many of the same taxpayers who were obliged to step in and save this corporate leviathan from collapse after it bit off more toxic debt than it could chew are the same taxpayers who rely on high street banking services on their own high streets. It is because many of the people who use these banking services are those who do not use the internet, who do not have smartphones and thus do not have any alternative but to travel greater distances to access high street banks.
And it is because the people own RBS, and the people are saying no to these closures.
Take the spontaneous grassroots campaign against the closure of the Bannockburn RBS branch, which has been able to generate over 2,700 signatures on a petition against the proposed closure through having volunteers including local SNP Councillor Alasdair MacPherson and MSP Bruce Crawford manning a table on the street outside the branch to gather signatures from people passing by.
By Steven Paterson, Former MP for Stirling
The minority Tory Government at Westminster has survived another week, but the sense of utter shambles and paralysis at the heart of Whitehall has only been reinforced.
The week started with the news strategically leaked to the media that the Government was prepared to up its divorce offer to the EU to €50 billion. This vast sum is to cover existing financial commitments entered into by the UK as a current member of the EU, a pre-requisite for the EU 27 before any detailed trade negotiations can take place.
By leaking it (and therefore having plausible deniability), the Government was subsequently able to dispute the veracity of the story in order to allow it to better manage some of the more rabid and frothing anti-EU MPs marauding the Tory backbenches who think that walking over the abyss with no deal makes any kind of sense. It says it all about this ludicrous process that the Government is intent on paying out this colossal sum to leave the world’s largest trading bloc in order then to be able to negotiate terms to retain maximum access to the very same trading bloc at significantly inferior terms.
Steven Paterson “My successor as Member of Parliament for the Stirling Constituency, Tory Stephen Kerr, distinguished himself in Parliament this week, but not in the way he intended.”
SNP MP Tommy Sheppard took part in a Westminster Hall debate this week (Tuesday) on Devolution in Scotland.
The Edinburgh MP – who is the SNP Spokesperson on the Cabinet Office, Scotland Office, and House of Lords – took part in the debate and highlighted how the Stirling Constituency had specifically benefitted from Scottish Government policies what did not exist in the rest of the UK.
Stirling SNP has called on Stirling’s Tory MP, Stephen Kerr, to support its calls to abandon the current UK Government policy of reducing the number of MPs that Scotland elects to Westminster.
The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ has been heavily criticised as a ‘Westminster Power Grab’ as it offers no further powers to the Scottish Parliament.
The rollout of Universal Credit to the Stirling area took place last month.
Whilst the SNP Government here in Scotland is working to deliver fair pay to the public sector on limited resources, our local Tory Member of Parliament is using his time in the Commons to block fair pay for nurses.