ANGUS MACDONALD MSP REACTS TO ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND CLOSURES IN GRANGEMOUTH AND STENHOUSEMUIR

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The Royal Bank of Scotland has today, 23rd March 2017, announced that they are to close the local branches in Grangemouth and Stenhousemuir in October of this year.

Reacting to this announcement, Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald said:

“This announcement to close both the Grangemouth and Stenhousemuir branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland is deeply regrettable, and will clearly have an impact on customers who regularly rely on the services these local branches provide.

“Although unfortunate, it is difficult not to understand the reasons why we are seeing an increase in these closures. The impact of telephone and online banking is clear to see, with more and more customers preferring to do their banking using these methods. In turn, the move to an online 24/7 service is having an impact on the viability of local branches.

“Royal Bank of Scotland will have to ensure that their customers are given every opportunity to seek to move their accounts, should they chose to do so, but also to reach out to those customers unable to access online banking in order to meet their concerns and provide an alternative service in the time between now and these closures. I am, therefore, pleased to hear that the bank is communicating with their customers in a very pro-active way, and are deploying a team of experts across their network to give regular customers the opportunity to experience online banking, and allow time to decide upon the correct option to suit their own needs when it comes to banking, before the branches close in October.”

A spokesperson for the Royal Bank of Scotland said:

“Our world is changing rapidly, with people relying more and more on technology in all aspects of their life. Shopping and booking a holiday online has become the norm for many; banking is no different and many of our customers are looking for and using more convenient ways to bank.

“As a result of this change, since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Grangemouth branch decline by 31%. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 56% of customers choosing to use our digital banking. The number of transactions in the Stenhousemuir branch declined by 26%. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 63% of customers choosing to use our digital banking options.

“We are following the Access to Banking protocol and we have made the decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors, including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us. We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives.”

ANGUS MACDONALD MSP THROWS HIS SUPPORT BEHIND CONSUMER CHAMPION CAMPAIGN, KEEP ME POSTED

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Local MSP, Angus MacDonald has thrown his support behind leading consumer rights campaign, Keep Me Posted after meeting the campaign’s chair, Judith Donovan CBE, at Scottish Parliament this week.

The MSP praised the campaign’s efforts to ensure that service providers offer consumers the choice of how they receive bills and statements.

Keep Me Posted is a partnership of leading charities, consumer organisations, trade unions and businesses. It believes that every consumer has the right to choose, without disadvantage, how they are contacted by banks, utility companies and other service providers.

Angus MacDonald MSP met the campaign’s chair, Judith Donovan CBE, in the Holyrood to discuss the campaign and the importance of consumer choice.

Commenting after the meeting, Angus MacDonald, MSP for Falkirk East, said:

“Those who have the greatest need for paper statements and bills are not limited to the older generation, but include those that are disabled, and those that lack access to the internet or have basic digital skills.

“There are currently 506,000 people living in Scotland who don’t have access to the internet. These people run the risk of being financially penalised or losing track of their budget. The UK’s consumers deserve the right to choose how they receive communications from businesses so I fully support the Keep Me Posted campaign in its fight to make sure companies honour this.”

Research conducted by the campaign has found that consumers do believe that they should have the right to choose how they are communicated with (81 per cent) while a further half (41 per cent) worry that they might miss a payment without a reminder through the post.

Judith Donovan CBE, Chair of the Keep Me Posted campaign, said:

“Since the launch of Keep Me Posted four years ago, 95 organisations have pledged their support in ensuring that consumers retain the right to receive paper statements without penalties.

"We want this to be the year that consumers’ rights are honoured by companies. If the organisations that are failing to give consumers real choice are left unchallenged, it will be too late to get back what we have lost. However, with the backing of Angus MacDonald we are one step closer to making sure that the people of Falkirk East keep their right to choose.”

ANGUS MACDONALD MSP SHARES CONCERNS OVER RISE IN STILLBIRTH RATES AT NHS FORTH VALLEY

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Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald, has questioned the Scottish Government on the recent findings that stillbirths in the NHS Forth Valley area had risen above the national average in the first half of 2016.

NHS Forth Valley has announced that they are to review the uncharacteristic rise in stillbirths over the first half of 2016.

Questioning the Scottish Government, Angus MacDonald MSP, Falkirk East, submitted this written question:

“To ask the Scottish Government when it will receive the findings of NHS Forth Valley’s internal inquiry into the increase in the number of stillborn babies in the area in 2016?”

Minster for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell MSP, answered saying:

“NHS Forth Valley has taken action locally to internally review all of their cases of stillbirth. The Board has also commissioned an independent external review to look into their 2016 stillbirths.

The Scottish Government supports the action that NHS Forth Valley is taking to understand and learn from this unexpected rise in the number of stillbirths locally, and expects them to act on the findings of the reviews. The Board has agreed to share the outcomes of both internal and external reviews, when complete, with the expert Scottish Government Stillbirth Group, to ensure that learning is shared across Scotland to improve outcomes and help drive down stillbirth rates.”

Welcoming the answer from the Scottish Government, Angus MacDonald commented:

“Clearly this is a very upsetting issue for everyone involved, and it is right that the findings of the internal inquiry, and any external review, are considered by NHS Forth Valley, and any recommendations forthcoming are implemented, so that anything which can be done will be done, to prevent this situation from happening again.

“I welcome the answer from Aileen Campbell MSP, and it is encouraging to see that the Scottish Government are committed to working with the board of NHS Forth Valley to share any findings with the Scottish Government Stillbirth Group in order improve outcomes and drive down rates of stillbirths across Scotland.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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