It borders on unbelievable that Inveraray, a town with a booming tourist industry, a town with three good-sized hotels, a town boasting numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, and various high-quality clothing outlets, a town that has an estate and a hugely popular castle, could be left without a single bank. Yet that is exactly what the Royal Bank of Scotland plans to do, without any prior consultation with the people of Inveraray.
This is the thanks the people of Inveraray get for, along with taxpayers across the United Kingdom, bailing out the Royal Bank to the tune of almost £50 billion. Just before Christmas, I launched a petition in the town opposing the branch closure, and I am delighted that that petition, which I present to the House today, has gathered hundreds of signatures.
It has indeed, and that is in itself a highly impressive feat, but I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, in presenting his petition, will not accidentally elide into the delivery of a speech, which is not apposite on these occasions.
Moving on swiftly, Mr Speaker.
The petition states:
The Petition of residents of Argyll & Bute,
Declares that the proposed closure of the Inveraray branch of the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland will have a detrimental effect on local community 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 this branch.
And the petitioners remain, etc.