John Lamont MP recently participated in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament about maintaining access to cash, highlighting the closures of the TSB Banks in Hawick and Kelso, and the planned closure of Virgin Money in Galashiels.
The local picture in the Borders mirrors a national trend of banking firms closing high street branches. Between 1986 and 2014, the number of bank branches in the UK roughly halved.
These closures will leave many residents unable to readily access the face-to-face services provided by their local bank branches.
Individuals and business owners can access some financial services at their local Post Office branch, of which there are 11,000 across the UK. However, Post Offices are unable to completely replace the physical services offered by high street bank branches.
Commenting, Scottish Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk John Lamont said:
“I was pleased to be able to speak in the debate as it is a topic that comes up regularly in conversations with local residents here in the Borders.
“In a rural area like ours, closures of the TSB Banks in Hawick and Kelso, and the planned closure of Virgin Money in Galashiels will mean that for some residents, the nearest physical branch is over 50 miles away in Edinburgh.
“I know first-hand that many local residents and businesses in the Borders still rely on bank branches and the vital services they offer. That is why bank closures are always such a blow to these communities.
“Whilst it is understandable that cash use has decreased during the pandemic, I am clear that this should not be a reason to move away from cash completely.
“In the debate, I called on the UK Government to ensure that suitable alternatives must exist. In areas like the Borders, access to financial services should be maintained and the availability of cash must not be reduced any further.”