MSP contacts TSB chief executive after closure and reduced hours released

 

MSP David Stewart has called for the UK Government to take action to stem the flow of bank closures and the pattern of reduced banking hours following the announcement that the TSB is to close a Moray branch and cut hours at other branches across the Highlands.

Mr Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands, which includes Moray, has been told that TSB is to close its Keith branch because “it is no longer financially viable due to lower footfall”.

The bank is also reducing the opening hours of eight branches in the region – Dunoon, Forres, Nairn, Wick, Tain, Thurso, Grantown-on-Spey and Dingwall. Customers will be receiving letters this week.

TSB says all eight have “reduced customer usage over time and low usage overall”.

“This is another body blow for rural areas which have already suffered from other banks closing and reducing their hours,” said Mr Stewart.

“I’ve written to TSB’s Chief Executive, Debbie Crosbie, to ask if Keith can be saved and to try to get some reassures that the other eight branches will not see closure in the future.

“While I understand that banking patterns have changed, branches provide a much-needed service and not everyone can use internet banking, especially where internet coverage is patchy, and where customers are wary of on-line systems.

“Businesses and tourists also need a High Street presence. TSB has said in order that branches are viable in the longer-term it needs to see customers choosing to bank at them, highlighting a use-it or lose-it message, especially for the Highlands.

The UK Government has responsibility for banking and Mr Stewart believes more could be done to help maintain banks on our High Streets.

The next Labour government will set up almost 300 publicly owned Post Banks in Scotland to ensure every community has face-to-face banking. By utilising the extensive network of Post Office branches, Labour’s Post Bank would have by far the largest branch network of all UK banks,” he said.

Mr Stewart added that a network of Post Bank branches would help stem the tide of post office closures, uniting important banking, business and community services under one roof and creating skilled jobs within one of the country’s most trusted brands.

 

Research by Which? has revealed that Scotland has lost more than a third of its bank and building society branches in just eight years, with 610 branches closing down between 2010 and 2018, and more than 200 ATMs in the past year alone.

Job Vacancy: Office Manager

Rhoda Grant MSP and David Stewart MSP (Highlands & Islands) are looking for an enthusiastic and highly organised individual to join their team as an Office Manager based in Inverness.
This is a full-time position based in Inverness with some travel required.
Hours: 35 per week
Salary: £32,000 – £34,000

To read the job description and to apply please click here:

Cross-party group meeting on Diabetes held in Inverness

Delighted to chair the cross-party group meeting on Diabetes in Inverness Townhouse. This is the first time in Scottish Parliament history that the cross-party group meeting on diabetes has been held outwith the Scottish Parliament. Fantastic that it was held in my region and there was an excellent turn out.
Below is (left to right) Prof Sandra MacRury, Rupurt Pigot and Victoria Reetie who attended the meeting.

Shared Space

Subject: Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road safety campaigner, David Stewart gets answer at last from Government on shared space – cyclists/pedestrians

 

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart, gets answer at last from Government on shared space – cyclists/pedestrians

 

David Stewart said ” I wrote to the Government back in September last year, highlighting that I was becoming aware of incidents of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on cycle path/footways. At that time, I suggested improved signage and consideration of a national shared space colour coded surface, whereby for example, cycle sections were painted green or blue and pedestrian sections left the normal colour. Even if we had signage that advised pedestrians to keep to the left and cyclists the right or whatever that would address the problem.

 

” Eventually I received a full response from the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson, advising me that the Active Travel Task Force in a recent report, recommended formally approved overarching walking and cycling design guidance for Scotland be produced for local and trunk roads. Update signage will also be considered.

 

“As part of this package a Working Group is being set up that will include Local Authorities, Sustrans, Regional Transport Partnerships and Transport Scotland.

 

” If Local Authorities wished to embark on an educational campaign they could apply to the Smarter Choices Smarter Place programme.

 

David concluded ” This is good, positive news which will address some of the confusion that currently exists on shared space areas and I look forward to seeing what the Working Group come up with.

 

 

 

 

Drivers and roundabouts

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart highlights that the number of drivers who are confused with negotiating roundabouts is worrying.

“It is a real worry that many drivers on our roads today are unsure as to how to negotiate a roundabout”, said David Stewart, “ which as a result can cause collisions and serious injury.

“In short a roundabout is a hazard and like any hazard you should approach it at an appropriate speed, make sure you are in the proper lane and remember Mirror, Signal, Manouvre.(MSM).

David Stewart said “ I have been contacted by constituents, the latest being yesterday,(11/3/19) raising this very issue. What we need to do here is to highlight how drivers should negotiate this particular hazard by means of education.

“There are three simple actions to remember:

1)” If you are following the road ahead on a main route (eg dual carriageway) you can often go ahead in either lane. If you approach on the left then you should stay to the left in new road, if you take the right hand lane on approach stay on the inside of the roundabout and exit in the right hand lane in new road.(See last graphic attached)

2)” When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise: signal right and approach in the right-hand lane. keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout. signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.(See attached)

3) “Some people think you should give way to vehicles approaching from the right on a roundabout. You must give way to any vehicles already on the roundabout before you enter.(See attached)

Highlands and Islands residents urged to respond to the Good Food Nation Consultation

The launch of the Scottish Government’s consultation on Good Food Nation legislation is being welcomed by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart.

Due to close on the 29th of March, the consultation seeks public views on what should be included in a new law for Scotland’s food system.

Scottish Labour have called on the Scottish Government to include a statutory right to food in the Good Food Nation bill.

Mr Stewart said:

“Reformation of our food system is long overdue. We advertise Scotland as a nation of food and drink, yet over a third of Scots worry about putting food on the table.

“An ever-increasing number of people continue to be priced out of a decent diet, forced to rely on food banks and suffering from poor nutrition. We undervalue the people who work to produce and process food, the wildlife, natural resources and farm animals that all form part of our food system. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“Scottish Labour believes there should be a statutory right to food which joins up all policies related to food and has the power to measure the government’s success in feeding its people.

“We need to work together to push for change. I urge all of my constituents in the Highlands and Islands to respond to the consultation and make their voice known.”

Those wishing to respond to the consultation can do so online by visiting https://consult.gov.scot/food-and-drink/good-food-nation/ or by writing to:
Good Food Nation,
Scottish Government,
Food and Drink Division,
Saughton House,
Broomhouse Drive,
Edinburgh
EH11 3XD

  • Photo by Matthias Wilke from Pexels

 

Scottish Food Coalition
http://www.foodcoalition.scot

CAS Report:
https://www.cas.org.uk/system/files/bringing_food_to_the_table_071212.pdf

Good Food Nation Consultation
https://www.gov.scot/publications/good-food-nation-proposals-legislation/pages/6/