I spent most of today 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 was also there to launch a formal Parliamentary petition which will run over Christmas and the New Year and which I will present to parliament, on the floor of the House of Commons early in 2018.
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, a 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 help 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 their customers’ lives.
As the motion I put down in Parliament yesterday 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.
I plan to be in Rothesay and Campbeltown in the near future to launch similar campaigns over the RBS decision to close the branches there too.