Proposed closure of Newport NatWest Branch by RBS -Letter to MP

Dear Mr Pritchard,

To introduce myself, I was appointed Chairman of Newport and District Civic Society in September this year.
I am writing to you about the announcement by RBS on 1st December 2017, of the proposed closure of the NatWest branch in Newport in 2018.
I fully understand that the government takes the position that it does not comment on branch closures as this is a commercial decision for the banking sector.
However, I believe that we as taxpayers have over a 70% shareholding in RBS. We bailed out RBS since 2008 with somewhere between £40 –50 bn i.e. the bank would not be in business if it was not for the ordinary people of this country.
While the Chancellor announced in his recent budget his intentions to sell circa £15 bn of shares over the next 5 years (which means we do not get back anywhere near the funds given to bailout RBS at current share values), we the tax payers remain the majority shareholders. Now that the final shareholding in Lloyds was disposed of earlier this year, RBS is the only ‘High Street’ bank in which we hold the majority shareholding.
The age demographic information that T&W regularly issues, identifies Newport has having the largest proportion of older people within T&W. Many of these older people do not have the IT skills to do on-line banking and rely on help within the branch.
Small businesses both on the High Street and rural communities rely on the branch. In addition, with approval this week for the Lidl scheme and 3 other retail units plus a BP PFS next to Aldi on the edge-of –town, the existence of the High Street will be put under pressure which will not be helped with the closure of NatWest.
As you will be aware, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays are all looking to close branches so we could in the near future be left with only a NatWest on the High Street if we can keep it open.
The above is only a short summary of our position and I would be pleased to meet with you when you are next in Newport to discus in more detail.
We are not the only community in the country to be potentially affected by a proposed closure and I am sure others across the country will be contacting MPs in a similar manner with the possibility of a national campaign.
David Griffin
Newport and District Civic Society

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