Categories: News

Brendan O’Hara MP
“Shameful betrayal” of rural communities:

In a blistering attack on the Royal Bank of Scotland, 
Argyll & Bute MP Brendan O’Hara accused the majority state-owned bank of a “shameful betrayal” of the rural communities of Argyll & Bute, following the announcement that the RBS is to close 62 of its remaining Scottish branches, including those in Rothesay, Campbeltown and Inveraray.

A clearly furious Mr. O’Hara also accused the RBS of undermining all the hard work being done by the Scottish Government, Argyll & Bute Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in promoting his constituency as a great place to live, work, raise a family and do business.

Commenting at the launch of his three-town parliamentary petition, Brendan O’Hara said:

“It is absolutely appalling that without any consultation whatsoever, the RBS thinks it can simply walk away from the communities that helped bail it out to the tune of almost £50 billion, just a few years ago.  Given that they had to go cap-in-hand to the taxpayer, I think they should better understand their social responsibility to the people of Rothesay, Campbeltown and Inveraray. “

Promising to work with anyone and everyone to get this decision reversed, Mr O’Hara continued;

 “This is a shameful betrayal of rural Scotland and I have launched a petition; one for each town that I shall take to the floor of the House of Commons, demanding that the Chancellor intervenes on behalf of the taxpayer to halt these plans”

Immediately following the closure announcement, the Argyll & Bute MP lodged a motion at Westminster condemning the closure and will raise the matter on Monday 18th December in a debate being led by SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP, for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. 

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Speaking at the launch of the Inveraray petition on Friday 8th December 2017, Brendan O’Hara added:

“I spent most of Friday in Inveraray talking to people and business owners about the proposed closure of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the last remaining bank in the town.

I’d like to thank Donald Clark, proprietor of the George Hotel and Marian Pallister, the award winning journalist and author for being the first names on the petition.

I visited many businesses in the town and I was delighted that every single business I visited took a pile of petition forms to have on their front counters in the run up to Christmas. 

Indeed such was the demand for forms that I ran out and will have to go back up to Inveraray to deliver more.

I can honestly say I have never before experienced such widespread anger in a community and I can’t blame them.

If this ridiculous closure plan happens, then Inveraray, an internationally recognised tourism hot-spot, with a least three substantial hotels, numerous cafes, bars, gift shops, quality clothing retailers and a castle, will have absolutely no banking facilities whatsoever.

I’m sure the levels of anger among the locals wasn’t helped by an incredibly insensitive RBS advert in this morning’s Herald, with the slogan it’s our job to respond to our customers’ changing lives”.

The truth is, rather than responding to their customers’ changing lives, it’s the RBS who are imposing change on their customers’ lives.

As the motion I put down in Parliament says, this decision sends out all the wrong messages and undermines the work that has been and is being done by so many to help with the economic regeneration of Argyll & Bute.

 And I repeat the call I made for the majority state-owned RBS to better recognise its social responsibility and stop this brutal closure programme.”

Brendan O’Hara MP will be visiting Rothesay on Monday 18th December and Campbeltown on Friday 22nd December 2017 to launch petitions against the RBS decision to close its branches in those towns.

Additional information:

The text of the petition reads as follows: 

“To the House of Commons,

The petition of residents of ARGYLL & BUTE

Declares that proposed closure of the Inveraray, Campbeltown and Rothesay branches of the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland will have a detrimental effect on local communities and the local economy.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges Her Majesty’s Treasury, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Royal Bank of Scotland to take into account the concerns of petitioners and take whatever steps they can to halt the planned closure of these branches.”