RBS have been blasted after announcing "savage" branch closures in Perthshire this morning.

Sites in Comrie, Perth, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry and Kinross will all shut as of May and June next year.

The bank has cited the fact that customers are switching to online banking as one of the main reasons for the move.

However, politicians and unions have led a stern castigation of the plan, highlighting that it was members of the public who helped rebuild RBS in recent years.

Murdo Fraser, Tory MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “I fully understand that more banking services are being accessed online and to a lesser extent over the phone, but there is no substitute for having a physical presence on the high street.

“Elderly and vulnerable residents, those most at risk to online and over the phone scams, value the ability to go in branch and speak to an advisor face to face. The loss of this service is highly damaging.

"This latest round of proposed closures from RBS, will hit small communities particularly hard and I am calling on bank bosses to think again.

“Both Pitlochry and Aberfeldy are busy tourist destinations and closing these branches seems particularly short sighted.

“RBS are not the only culprit when it comes to shutting high street branches, but this current pattern of closures cannot continue as it threatens to rip the heart out of small communities.”

A spokesperson for Unite added: "The news today by RBS is totally shocking and represents a change in how the banking sector conducts its affairs.

"The sheer scale of this latest round of branch closures is savage. How can a UK taxpayer backed organisation devastate local communities by disenfranchising them of the ability to bank at their local branch?

"Once again loyal staff, that have helped to rebuild RBS over the last decade, will be rewarded with the prospect of an uncertain future and a bleak Christmas."

The first bank in Perthshire to go will be Pitlochry, with a date set down for May 31, followed by Aberfeldy on June 7.

The Comrie RBS will close its doors on June 13, while the Kinross branch shuts on June 25.

Perth South Street is to close on June 27.

In an attempted to defend the move, an RBS spokesperson said: "More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.

"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period.

"Over five million customers now use our mobile banking app and one in five only bank with us digitally.

"We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected."