Congress condemns the announcement from Royal Bank of Scotland on 5 September 2018 that 54 bank branches will close by January 2019.
With 162 closures announced in April, a total of 216 branches across England and Wales have been marked for closure in the last nine months, resulting in over 1,300 job losses.
When branch closures of the other major banks are included, high streets are losing branches at a rate of more than one a week. This leaves local communities bereft of financial access.
The impact is most keenly felt by those who rely on branches, including the elderly. Each closure erodes public trust in banks which have done little to atone for the financial crisis of 2008.
Congress notes that it has been ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, triggering the banking crisis resulting in a £130bn bailout and a decade of austerity.
Bank workers have been on the receiving end of austerity no less than any public sector worker. At RBS alone 36,000 workers have lost their jobs since 2008.
RBS is still 62 per cent owned by the taxpayer. Government should use this stake to bring boardroom scrutiny and support bank workers and communities.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
i. support trade union and community campaigns to defend local bank branches
ii. lobby the current government, and any future Labour government, to proactively use its stake in RBS as part of a strategy for transforming the banking sector into a valued community service.