THE Royal Bank of Scotland will be in breach of the UK Equality Act if it goes ahead with plans to close branches and replace some with mobile banking vans with no disability access, it has been claimed.

Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, called on Theresa May to meet with RBS and make the case to keep the bank branches open as he raised the issue of closures across Scotland once again during Prime Minister's Questions.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber argued one wheelchair user had described her experience of banking outside as "degrading", as he asked: "Does the Prime Minister agree that RBS has a legal responsibility to offer equality of services to disabled customers and will she hold RBS to account on this issue?"

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Mrs May responded that such closures were commercial decisions for the banks involved, adding: "Of course we all want to be able to see that all customers are able to access the services that they need, that is both customers who are disabled and customers who live in remote areas."

Mr Blackford said: "Earlier this week, the Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive officer Ross McEwan admitted in a leaked memo that closing 22 local branches would be painful for customers.

"Thirteen towns are to lose their last bank in Scotland. Prime Minister I will give you one other opportunity, as the majority shareholder, will you meet with RBS and make the case to keep the bank branches open?"

Mrs May replied that the Government had established the Access to Banking Standard that committed banks to carry out a certain number of steps before closing a branch and welcomed the Post Office reaching agreement with the banks to allow "more customers than ever before to use Post Office services".

She added: "So around 99% of personal customers are able to carry out their day-to-day banking at a Post Office as a result of that new agreement, that's the Government making sure that people are covered by the services they need."

Mr Blackford responded: "I would simply say to the Prime Minister we own RBS, it's time that you took your own responsibilities. By closing these branches and replacing some with mobile banking vans which do not provide disability access, the RBS appears to be in breach of the UK Equality Act."

Mrs May replied: "Other banks are closing branches because what they see is actually less use being made of those branches, but as he has been talking about matters financial, I'm sorry that he wasn't able to stand up and welcome the fact that today's trade figures for Scotland show that their biggest export market remains the rest of the UK."