Protecting Rural Services
Our rural communities form the bedrock of Scotland. They are responsible for preserving our environment, ensuring food security, and maintaining our cultural heritage. Yet, these communities are often sidelined, left grappling with dwindling essential services. The UK Government’s inaction in addressing these issues has left our rural communities floundering. It is imperative that we take proactive steps to tackle this issue.
One of the most prominent problems, one I’m sure you’ll be all too familiar with, is that of essential services, such as banks and post offices, being closed down or restricting their services in such areas. For example, the last high street bank in Badenoch and Strathspey, an area which covers a huge area of land, is due to close in the spring of 2024.
Whilst I understand some of the business pressures that operators face, it seems unthinkable for folk who cannot use their digital equivalents (or simply don’t want to) to lose access to the most basic and important services in any modern civilisation.
People are increasingly being left behind through no fault of their own. Pensioners who traditionally relied on the Post Office to withdraw their pension every week are no longer able to do so. Parents with young children are now longer able to take them into their local bank branch to help them set up their first bank account because these facilities no longer exist.
These are just a couple of examples, and the reach of the impacts of dwindling essential services in our rural communities goes far further than I can explain here. Simply put, it’s just not good enough.
Work I am doing:
Whilst this issue has been one I’ve long campaigned on throughout my time as an MP (and indeed as a councillor), the situation is becoming ever more urgent. To that end, I presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons, calling for minimum service standards for the provision of banking and postal services in rural areas, including for the provision of services through physical outlets; and for connected purposes.
Access to cash is another vital resource that banks and Post Offices have provided for decades, even longer. Cash is crucial in our rural communities where many outlets don’t have the facilities to take card payments and even if they do, there should still be a steady stream of cash due to the benefits of physical money over tapping plastic. I spoke about this in a Westminster Hall debate which you can see in the video below.
I’ll continue to stand up for our rural communities in Parliament and at every opportunity outwith to ensure we dont leave these fantastic communities behind.
Share Your Views:
I have only grown fonder of our rural communities since representing them as a councillor and an MP, and I wish to represent those who live here at every opportunity.
If you have anything to add to the conversation, please do share your thoughts here: https://us13.list-manage.com/survey?u=79400f257882be15026d47c7a&id=aaae50e454&attribution=false
As you may know, I have presented the Banking and Postal Services (Rural Areas) Bill, an essential piece of legislation designed to protect the services
What are people to make of the banks? The TSB’s announcement that it intends to close 73 branches, including Nairn and Grantown-on-Spey, is a low
Highland MP, Drew Hendry has presented three separate petitions against RBS bank closures to Parliament, on behalf of residents of Grantown, Aviemore and Nairn, in
Drew Hendry has called on the Royal Bank of Scotland to reverse its decision on branch closures and has told Senior Management at RBS not
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