Scottish Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesperson and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart, has today highlighted the impact of Bank of Scotland’s decision to end the mobile branch service on rural and island communities during a member’s business debate. She echoed calls from across the chamber for the bank to reconsider its decision.
Ms Wishart made the wider point that island and rural communities rely on such services to provide basic access to banking and cuts have a deep impact. She stated that investment in services and connectivity could help reverse depopulation.
During the debate Ms Wishart said:
“It seems to me that it is always the most vulnerable and those living on the peripheries that are the first to get the chop from services like these yet the impact is significant.
“Accessing a bank is a basic necessity and this should not be merely a case of putting profit before service.
“Communities can only survive where viable services exist to support them.
“If we continue with the narrative that a decreased population is ripe for service cuts, we will reap what we sow, and so the vicious cycle will continue on a downward spiral.”
After the debate Ms Wishart said:
“I hope that the Bank of Scotland will listen to what was said in the chamber and run its services on a needs basis, not merely based on profits.
“We have seen how populations can decline when services are cut or relocated, and should do all we can to preserve services which support communities.
“Not everyone wants to bank online, even when they have the technology to do so.”
Notes to Editors:
You can watch Ms Wishart’s full speech here.