THE Scottish Labour leader and North Ayrshire Council leader joined Unite Scotland members to protest at the closure of Kilwinning’s Royal Bank last week.

Richard Leonard and Kilwinning Councillor Joe Cullinane joined a demonstration in the town’s Main Street as part of Unite Scotland’s ‘day of action’ at under-threat branches across the country on Friday last week.

This came as the bank announced they had made a £752 million profit in 2017, following the planned closure of Kilwinning’s branch.

Unite Scotland Deputy Scottish Secretary Mary Alexander said: “We think RBS has to do its sums again on its closure programme.

“We need the actual figures they have used to decide where the axe is to fall on branches.

“They’ve said closing 62 branches – 10 have a stay of execution at present – will cost £9.5 million.

“That’s a drop in the ocean on the real operating profits they are now making. How can they justify taking the wrecking ball to communities all over Scotland?”

The bank, which is still majority owned by the taxpayer following the bailout of 2008, announced an annual profit of £752 million. Earlier this month RBS announced a temporary reprieve for 10 branches but 52 others still face imminent closure, including branches in Kilbirnie, Kilwinning, and Saltcoats.

The Federation of Small Businesses said companies using the branches still slated for closure would take “little comfort” from the announcement that 10 branches will be saved pending review at the end of the year.

North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson said: “There is simply no justification for withdrawing these lifeline banking facilities from communities across Scotland.

“The supposed £9 million which will be saved by closing dozens of Scottish branches if their sale is realised – by no means a certainty – is a drop in the ocean compared to profits made this past year.

“The decision to press ahead with closures would be bad enough from any high street bank, but is even more galling coming from RBS, which is 72.9 per cent owned by the UK taxpayer.

“I urge the UK Government to exercise its majority shareholding to encourage RBS to save these branches.”