A petition is available throughout the Western Isles for people to sign in protest against the Royal Bank of Scotland’s plans to close its branch in Castlebay, Isle of Barra – and reduce opening hours at its branch in Lochboisdale.

The newly announced plans for a revised service in Lochboisdale and Castlebay are ‘ill-conceived and not thought through,’ says Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil.

He is calling for people to sign the petition and make your views known to Government – it is available from SNP councilors throughout the Islands or from the MP’s constituency office in Bayhead, Stornoway.

Angus MacNeil said: “A petition is circulating in all constituencies targeted by RBS and I encourage all constituents to sign this and make their view on this closure clear to RBS. I will be delivering the petition to the House of Commons in early January.”

On Wednesday morning (December 20th) Mr MacNeil received the “staggering information” that RBS will be reducing the opening hours of the Lochboisdale Branch in order to provide a mobile bank service to Barra and communities in Uist.

“This is an ill-conceived plan which has not been thought through. First, they said Castlebay customers could go to Lochboisdale but turns out now that this will be closed half the time and searching for a bank van across the countryside is not realistic at all” said Mr MacNeil.

“Servicing Barra from South Uist is not sensible and will be subject to weather conditions, availability of ferries and, of course, will be placing an increasing burden on the remaining staff.

“RBS say that they will be informing customers – why not consult with customers who are also taxpayers and therefore shareholders in this largely Government owned Bank.

“This is not good enough and again I am calling on the Government to intervene. Collectively, we own RBS. Above all else, RBS was saved to provide banking services to our communities. It’s time for the Government to take action.”