Moray MP calls out banks in Westminster debate

Moray MP Douglas Ross has highlighted concerns about the impact to businesses in towns and high streets in Moray if cashpoints are lost when Bank of Scotland branches in Lossiemouth and Keith close next year.

Speaking during a debate held in Parliament’s Westminster Hall this morning (Tuesday), Douglas said closing banks and ATMs was having a disastrous effect.

He said: “This debate in Parliament came at a crucial time as we discuss banking in Moray, particularly in Lossiemouth and Keith who face losing their Bank of Scotland branches. The availability of ATMs is of huge importance to our rural communities and I was pleased to make Moray’s voice heard during this debate.

“The Bank of Scotland is closing eight branches across Scotland and 25% of those are here in Moray. It came across loud and clear at both public meetings I held on this issue that people don’t think these closures would have happened in the central belt, where loss of a branch in an area such as Edinburgh, would have far less impact than closing one in Moray where we have a more rural community who rely on these facilities.

“The impact on businesses, individuals and tourists could be catastrophic for our towns and would be particularly short-sighted of the bank in an expanding town like Lossiemouth where the RAF are due to send hundreds of service personnel and their families, who need access to a bank.

“I share the concerns voiced by Moray Councillor James Allan who is campaigning to fight these latest bank closures. It’s ridiculous in a town the size of Lossiemouth which is set to expand significantly that it could be down to just one cash-point in the future.

“In towns like Keith and Lossiemouth, it’s not just residents who will be left without access to a cash-point. Moray is a beacon for tourism and what happens if visitors want to spend money in one of our towns on a souvenir or a memento and they can’t get access to a cashpoint? Chances are they will go somewhere else.

“Banks need to understand what impact their decisions will have. The message is clear, don’t take away our branches or ATMs, they are part of our communities, we need them, and we need them to be accessible and free to use. By closing them, banks are letting down our area and they should have a moral obligation to serve their customers and local communities.”