THE Wee County's MP last week took the first step toward amending rural and small community banking laws.

Ochil and South Perthshire representative Luke Graham said banks, especially the RBS which was bailed out by the taxpayer, have not been treating rural communities right.

Highlighting branches earmarked for closure, he explained financial institutions that were helped by the taxpayer after the financial crash and are the last remaining bank in town should have a legal responsibility to ensure provision.

In essence, the Banking and Post Services (rural areas and small communities) Bill will look to place the Access to Banking Standard onto statutory footing with a duty on a closing bank to provide a community investment fund.

The Bill, which passed first stage, will seek to establish a community fund of £100,000 for each branch closure of a taxpayer-owned bank to support customers.

MP Graham said: "The treatment of our rural communities by our banks, especially those, such as RBS, that have been bailed out by the British tax payer, just isn't right.

"In some parts of my constituency, those with no access to their own vehicle are expected to make a 50-plus-mile, two-hour round trip by bus to access their bank.

"This is hardly going to become more bearable as we head into the cold months of winter.

"For any further closures, a rural weighting should be added to ensure the local Post Office has the resources to cope, and that local geography, weather patterns, public transport, broadband and mobile coverage is considered.

"It would give additional heft to hold the banks to account and rural communities are not abandoned.

"I am delighted the Bill has passed its first stage, it is one step closer to securing the banking network in these rural areas."