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Scots Tory MPs urged to 'start acting' over RBS closures 

The RBS group plans to shut branches in Scotland and NatWest branches south of the border.

Economy: RBS bosses have granted a reprieve to 10 closure-threatened banks in rural Scotland.
Economy: RBS bosses have granted a reprieve to 10 closure-threatened banks in rural Scotland. Yui Mok / PA

The SNP has called on Scottish Tory MPs to pile pressure on the UK Government over RBS bank closures.

In a letter the party's consumer affairs spokeswoman Patricia Gibson MP urged the 13-strong Scottish Conservative group at Westminster to "start acting" on the issue.

RBS bosses have granted a reprieve to 10 closure-threatened banks in rural Scotland, allowing them to remain open until the end of 2018, with an independent review on their long-term future.

The RBS group plans to shut a further 52 branches in Scotland and 197 NatWest branches south of the border.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford - who held talks with RBS and has repeatedly raised the issue at Prime Ministers Questions - hailed the reprieve for the 10 rural banks as a victory for his party's campaign.

But Mr Blackford has faced some criticism from political opponents, who accused him of taking credit for the announcement and bypassing the cross-party Scottish Affairs Committee.

The SNP has pledged to continue campaigning to save the remaining 52 under-threat branches.

Ms Gibson said: "The Tory government has the power and responsibility to intervene, and prevent these vital local banks from closing.

"They are letting Scotland down by repeatedly refusing to do anything.

"After huge pressure from the SNP and community campaigners, RBS announced a reprieve for 10 branches - but the fight to save the remaining banks continues.

"It is time for the Scottish Tories to stop whingeing and start acting.

"So far their actions have not matched their words - they complain that banks are being closed but they have failed to put any serious pressure on their own Tory government to act."

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "The idiocy of the SNP group in Westminster almost derailed what little concessions RBS were making.

"In contrast, the Scottish Conservatives will continue to work constructively and effectively behind the scenes to get a good deal for customers."

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