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Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2018

Royal Bank of Scotland closure in Beauly

May I remind the House that, in 2008, United Kingdom taxpayers supported the Royal Bank of Scotland with an injection of £45 billion? We own the Royal Bank of Scotland—we own 73% of it—and our communities have stood by this long-standing institution. What is the repayment from RBS? It wishes to close 62 branches in Scotland, 13 of which are the last bank in town, and that will have a devastating effect on local communities.

RBS tells us that only 27 customers regularly use the branch in Beauly in my constituency of Ross, Skye and Lochaber, yet I was able to determine that there are actually 3,439 customers and 29,000 transactions annually. The Royal Bank of Scotland has been at the very least economical with the truth.

My constituents are alarmed at this potential closure. This is one of the branches that was given a reprieve, and I call on the Royal Bank of Scotland to make sure that the people of Beauly can continue to use banking services for the long term.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of Ross, Skye & Lochaber,

Declares that the proposed closure of the following branches of the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland in the areas of Kyle of Lochlash, Beauly & Mallaig, will have a detrimental effect on the 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.

And the petitioners remain, etc.


Proposed Closure of Accrington Victoria NHS walk-in centre

Accrington Victoria NHS walk-in centre, which has had 42,000 patient visits in the last 12 months and which offers 88 hours per week of GP service, is being replaced by an out-of-hours GP service, with just 19 hours available. When the walk-in centre closes, many people will simply go to the A&E at Royal Blackburn—one of the busiest A&Es in the country. That seems ridiculous, particularly when a patient visit to the A&E costs £120 on average but just £60 to the walk-in centre.

The people of Accrington and Hyndburn have spoken today. This petition has 10,000 written signatures and 14,000 online signatures—24,000 signatures in total. The Government must now listen to local people, show some common sense, step in and save this valuable service.

I would particularly like to thank Chris Reid and Kimberley Whitehead for helping with this campaign. I would also like to thank all the volunteers involved.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of Hyndburn,

Declares that the petitioners are committed to defending NHS services in Hyndburn; and further that the walk-in service based at Accrington Victoria Hospital is a vital community health resource which must remain open, and that other NHS services in the area are being run down.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that arrangements are put in place for the NHS in East Lancashire to ensure that the Accrington Victoria Hospital walk-in service remains open and that the closure of other NHS services in the area are halted.

And the petitioners remain, etc.