23
Mar
2017
0

Fife Council’s role in safeguarding business infrastructure

Sir,

Yesterday’s news that RBS intends to close its branch at Anstruther is a hammer blow for residents and businesses who will now have no banking facility at all in the East Neuk.
Like post offices and pharmacies, banks offer a crucial amenity in rural communities and a lifeline for those with limited access to transport and the internet. These are not just businesses but public services with key social and economic functions.

As ever, communities and politicians have been caught on the hop. Despite the distraction of local elections, I hope our councillors are doing all they can to get RBS to reconsider its closures in Anstruther and elsewhere in north-east Fife.

However, in the longer term, Fife Council could be much more pro-active about supporting crucial local facilities like banking, post offices and pharmacies. It could, for example, ask them to sign a voluntary undertaking that affected communities and the Council will be consulted well before any decision to close a service is made so that avenues for retaining it in some form can be explored. Fife Council could also look at incentives such as business rate reductions or offers of subsidized space in Council estate to make these facilities more sustainable.

Either way, Fife Council needs a more pro-active economic and community strategy for safeguarding and growing the East Neuk’s business infrastructure.

Yours etc
Linda Holt

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