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Bank closures will unfairly affect towns with poorest broadband

7th December 2017

The Highland Council expresses its deep disappointment at the news of further branch closures by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson said: "This will cause real difficulties for many customers and small businesses.

"While acknowledging the changing nature of banking and the rapid growth of digital banking services, there are many for whom this is neither a practical option, nor one they are comfortable with. So it is vital that they have access to physical face-to-face banking services.

“The Council is therefore calling on the UK Government to ensure communities, particularly vulnerable customers and small businesses, have access to day to day banking services by establishing and enforcing a guaranteed minimum level of service provision for essential banking services, including access to free to use cash machines."

Yesterday, 5 December, the Press and Journal published a table of towns threatened by RBS bank closures showing that many of these have some of the worst broadband speeds, the majority of them being in Highland. It reveals that Aviemore, Grantown on Spey, Tain, and Mallaig are in the worst 20% of speeds, while Kyle, Tongue, and Beauly are amongst the worst 10%.

Internet speeds this low makes access to online banking and other services extremely difficult if not impossible. Without high speed and quality, it results in frustration and failure to complete specific online tasks.

Cllr Davidson continued: “The excellent article in the Press and Journal yesterday clearly illustrated the fact that many communities losing their local bank branches, have the poorest levels of broadband coverage. So to tell people they can bank on line is just not practical. Nor is it practical for businesses to travel for miles on a daily basis to bank their cash and access change.

“I intend to raise this matter at the next Highland Council meeting."

 

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