Mobile banks will serve communities

It was great to have the opportunity to welcome students from Berwickshire High School to the Scottish Parliament to take part in a Question and Answer session with the Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP

Senior 5 & 6 modern studies students from the High School made the trip to Holyrood to ask the Presiding Officer about her role, and the implications of Scotland separating from the rest of the UK.

To have the chance to quiz the Presiding Officer was a brilliant opportunity, and one that the group enjoyed. The questions they had to ask were all well thought through and showed a lot of insight into not only devolution in Scotland, but also the potential implications of independence.

I know that Tricia Marwick was very impressed with their level of understanding, and the pupils undoubtedly acted as great ambassadors for the Borders. It was great to meet a group of young people who are so passionate about current affairs and I am sure many of them could have promising careers in politics ahead of them

I recently met with senior management from RBS to discuss their decision to close three branches in the Borders. The bank announced last week that the branches in Chirnside, Greenlaw and Newtown St. Boswells would all be closing in June. It was a constructive meeting, and I stressed to them just how much these branches are cherished by the customers who live in and around these communities.

While it would obviously be preferable to keep all of the branches open, if they are to close then RBS need to ensure that their customers do not experience a drop off in service. Businesses and vulnerable customers need to be consulted about what alternatives will be agreed so that any new arrangements suit them.

It is also vital that if mobile banking vans are to be used that they serve not only the communities with branches shutting down, but also the surrounding areas where customers are based. The branches that are closing offered a lot of convenience for customers and it must not be made harder for them to carry out their banking. I know that RBS are keen to hear from customers affected by the closures, and as such I would encourage anyone who wants to have their views taken into consideration to either contact myself or RBS as soon as possible.

I hold surgeries every week throughout my constituency. To find out when I will next be holding one near you please visit my website www.johnlamont.org. No appointment is necessary so please come along if you have a problem which you think that I might be able to help with. Alternatively, please call my constituency office on 01450 375 948.