Scots MPs issue ultimatum to RBS boss over branch closures

Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
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RBS chief executive Ross McEwan will appear before a parliamentary committee over controversial branch closures after he was issued with an ultimatum by Scottish MPs threatening a formal summons.

In a letter to the RBS chief, Commons Scottish affairs committee chairman Pete Wishart said he was “disappointed” by Mr McEwan’s failure to set a date to give evidence, and warned he would have “no alternative” but to use parliamentary powers if arrangements were not made voluntarily.

RBS said last night that Mr McEwan would appear once a date is agreed.

The publicly-owned bank is under pressure over the planned closure of 62 branches across Scotland, many of them in isolated rural communities. RBS has offered a reprieve until the end of the year for ten of the branches.

The committee has exchanged letters with another RBS executive, Les Matheson, who has already appeared before MPs to give evidence.

“While the committee appreciates the information that has been provided in the recent letters from Les Matheson, we do not feel that they have adequately addressed these issues,” Mr Wishart says in his letter. “These are issues that the committee wishes to explore, in person, with you, as the individual ultimately responsible for decisions made by RBS. The committee is disappointed that you have not engaged meaningfully with previous requests to find a suitable time for you appear... I am writing to offer you a final opportunity to find a mutually convenient time for you to appear before the committee.

“Should you not respond positively to this letter the committee will have no alternative but to consider using its formal powers to summon you to appear before it.”

An RBS spokeswoman said: “We have engaged fully with the committee and provided very detailed responses both in person and in writing. We look forward to continuing a positive dialogue with the committee and providing further answers as required.”