Bank of Scotland Response – Albert Drive Closure

As my constituents may be aware, the Bank of Scotland branch on Albert Drive closed on the 27th July this year. After being contacted by a number of my constituents with concerns about this closure, I was able to raise these concerns directly with Bank of Scotland.

Please find Bank of Scotland’s response to my query about the Albert Drive branch closure below:

“I understand that the closure of our Bank of Scotland branch in Pollokshields last month was disappointing for some members of the community.

“We never take the decision to close any branch lightly. In this instance, the decision, was based on careful analysis of the usage of the branch over the last few years.

“Before we made the announcement, we carefully considered the impact closing the branch would have on our customers. Our team visited the community to see for themselves the impact that closing the branch would have, looked at the alternative banking options available, and assessed the availability of public transport to get to the closest alternative branch.

“We also looked at all information available to us – including the ways customers are choosing to bank with us, the number of vulnerable people in the local area, and the accessibility of alternative banking facilities including the Post Office. After carrying out this assessment, we only went ahead once we were satisfied there are suitable alternatives and sufficient access to cash locally.

“As part of the industry-wide Cash Action Group process, LINK also independently reviewed overall cash provision in Pollokshields prior to our announcement being made. Given the alternatives available, they did not recommend any additional services.

“Over the last five years, the number of transactions in our Pollokshields branch had continued to fall. The decline in transactions reflects wider trends across the industry, as people choose to use branches less often – accessing services over the telephone or online, or via the Post Office. The majority of our customers now choose to bank with us in more than one way. For example, 83 per cent of our personal customers at Pollokshields branch were already using other branches and other ways to bank such as Internet and Telephone Banking.

“Our Bank of Scotland Glasgow Victoria Road branch is less than one mile away and there are regular direct trains to Victoria Road with a journey time of 5 minutes. Our Glasgow Shawlands branch is a little over one mile away and takes around 10 minutes to travel to on the bus. Currently both Glasgow Victoria Road branch and Glasgow Shawlands have extended opening hours in comparison to Pollokshields branch giving customers more convenience when they choose to visit the branch.

“Through our commercial arrangement with the Post Office, all Bank of Scotland customers can withdraw and deposit cash for free over the counter, and pay in cheques, at any branch of the Post Office.

“There are also other alternatives in the community including a number of free-to-use cash machines in the area, including three within 0.5 miles at Day Today, Kenmure Street, Friends Convenience Store, Pollokshaws Road, and Sainsbury’s, Darnley Road.

“People can also use telephone banking or our online services. This means that for many of the day-to-day transactions required by our customers in Pollokshields, there is no need to travel to an alternative Bank of Scotland branch. Many customers find the ease of these alternatives to be preferable to travelling to and from a branch. For those looking to open a bank account, or apply for a loan or a mortgage, applications can be made online, or by phone. For those customers wanting to talk to a mortgage adviser face to face and from a place that suits them, our video call service could be the perfect option. More details can be found on our website. 

“You can be assured that branch staff talked to customers about the service the local Post Office offers and helped those who wished to learn about how to use online and telephone banking. Prior to the closure branch staff contacted vulnerable customers to help them understand the options available to them and supported them through the transition. We understand that some older customers may have concerns about banking online, although only 7 per cent of customers who used the Pollokshields branch are aged 75 plus. We also have a ‘Digital Helpline’ which offers free one-to-one guidance over the phone to support customers using the Internet for banking. Customers with an identified need for this service were provided with contact details, enabling them to get free support if required. We will also supply a free tablet and SIM card with data in cases where people cannot afford to go online.

“Our online banking provides a variety of tools for managing a customer’s money. If customers are apprehensive about using this, we have a section on our website with a step-by-step guide, showing how they can get set up. We also have a section that explains how customers can protect themselves online. Further details can be found on our website here.

“We also try to make sure banking is easy for people of all abilities and needs. Customers who have a disability or impairment or would just like extra help can find out more information about the ways we can support them by discussing things with local branch staff or by visiting our website here.”



Alison Thewliss, Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central, has called on an urgent reconsideration of the closure of Bank of Scotland on Albert Drive following new findings on online banking.

Age UK’s new report ‘You can’t bank on it anymore’, which looks at the effect of rising online banking on older people, has found that 4 in 10 older people with a bank account in Britain are not managing their money online and could be at high risk of financial exclusion.

The polling also found that three-quarters (75 per cent) of over-65s with a bank account – equivalent to 7.86 million people – wish to undertake at least one banking task in person at a bank branch, building society or Post Office.

Nearly a third of older people with a bank account (31 per cent) – equivalent to 3.25 million people – have also been found to feel uncomfortable with online banking.

With these new findings, Alison Thewliss MP has called on an urgent review ahead of the proposed closure of Bank of Scotland’s Albert Drive branch.

The Albert Drive branch is set to close on the 27th July.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“These new findings by Age UK show the impact the closure of the Bank of Scotland branch on Albert Drive will have on older people in Pollokshields.

“In-person banking continues to be important to many of my constituents, and the removal of access to cash in their local area remains extremely unfair.

“While online banking becomes a key part of society, we must not forget those unable to participate. Those who wish to attend their local branch should have the option – instead of being completely left in limbo.

“I ask that Bank of Scotland reconsider the decision to close the Albert Drive branch to ensure that my constituents continue to have access to the full range of banking services in their own neighbourhood.”



Alison Thewliss, Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central, has condemned the decision to close the Bank of Scotland branch on Albert Drive.

The list of branches set to close across Scotland was announced on the Bank of Scotland website.

Among this list of closures includes a branch on Albert Drive in Glasgow’s Pollokshields area.

The Albert Drive branch is set to close around the 27th July.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“It is disappointing that Bank of Scotland has taken the decision to close the branch on Albert Drive. Glasgow Central constituents should not need to travel into town just to collect their money.

“Many local businesses across my constituency have often used this branch. This branch is a pillar of the community, and many will feel the deep impact of this closure.

“I ask that Bank of Scotland reconsider the decision to close this branch to ensure that my constituents continue to have access to their money in their own neighbourhood.”

Open Letter from Scottish MPs and MSPs on the UK Government’s Illegal Migration Bill

Dear Home Secretary,

We are writing to make clear our deeply held opposition to the Illegal Migration Bill, which passed its second reading earlier this month.

The Government is right to take steps to stop Channel crossings in small boats. It is an inherently risky journey for people who are already vulnerable and desperate.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that this Bill will have any impact on the number of dangerous crossings, or that a restrictive asylum policy in general acts as a deterrent. It is clear that the Home Office is aware of the limitations of these kinds of policies. In 2022, the Rwanda scheme lacked evidence to the point where the Civil Service was unable to confirm its value for public money.

It is extremely worrying to see the UK Government press ahead with policies which pose a serious and consistent threat to our international human rights obligations. It is worse still when these policies show no promise of delivering their intended consequences. This Bill will not make people safe – it will put victims of trafficking and modern slavery even more at risk, and leave refugees fleeing persecution in limbo, or offshored thousands of miles away.

Parliamentarians in both Scotland and the UK are human rights guarantors, and an important part of our role is to ensure that legislation is compliant with international obligations on human rights. The incompatibility of the Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights, the Refugee Convention, The Convention of Action Against Trafficking, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child means that we as lawmakers are obliged to vote against it.

The undermining of rights conveyed upon individuals by these agreements must be resisted by all spheres of government. This Bill will negatively impact directly on those seeking international protection in Scotland, as well as on the powers and duties of the Scottish Government, local authorities, and other public bodies under the devolution settlement. We call upon MSPs to withhold legislative consent when this legislation is put before the Scottish Parliament.

Arbitrary detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children and their families, trafficking victims, victims of torture and other vulnerable people is entirely unacceptable. You may recall that Scotland led the way in campaigning against child detention. In May 2010, Dungavel was closed to children, with detention centres elsewhere in the UK rapidly following suit. It is unthinkable that we now face a situation where these rights are being rolled back.

Scotland’s refugee and asylum-seeking community deserves better. The Home Office have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted when it comes to looking after vulnerable children and adults.

We urge all Scottish parliamentarians to take a principled stand against this pernicious legislation.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Brown MP
Alison Thewliss MP
Alasdair Allan MSP
Allan Dorans MP 
Alyn Smith MP
Amy Callaghan MP
Angela Crawley MP
Angus Brendan MacNeil MP 
Anne McLaughlin MP
Bill Kidd MSP
Bob Doris MSP
Brendan O’Hara MP 
Carol Monaghan MP 
Chris Law MP
Chris Stephens MP
Clare Adamson MSP 
Colin Beattie MSP 
Collette Stevenson MSP 
Dave Doogan MP
David Linden MP
Deidre Brock MP 
Douglas Chapman MP
Dr Lisa Cameron MP 
Dr Philippa Whitford MP
Drew Hendry MP
Emma Roddick MSP
Evelyn Tweed MSP
Fiona Hyslop MSP
Gavin Newlands MP
Gordon Macdonald MSP 
Graeme Dey MSP
Hannah Bardell MP
James Dornan MSP
Jenni Minto MSP
Joanna Cherry KC MP
John Mason MSP
John McNally MP
John Nicolson MP
Kaukab Stewart MSP
Kenny MacAskill MP
Kirsten Oswald MP
Kirsty Blackman MP
Marie McNair MSP
Marion Fellows MP
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP 
Martyn Day MP
Mhairi Black MP
Ms Anum Qaisar MP 
Owen Thompson MP
Patrick Grady MP
Patricia Gibson MP 
Paul McLennan MSP 
Pete Wishart MP 
Peter Grant MP 
Richard Thomson MP 
Rona Mackay MSP 
Ronnie Cowan MP
Rt Hon Ian Blackford MP 
Rt Hon Stewart Hosie MP 
Ruth Maguire MSP 
Siobhan Brown MSP 
Stephanie Callaghan MSP 
Stephen Flynn MP
Steven Bonnar MP
Stewart Malcolm McDonald MP 
Stuart McDonald MP
Stuart McMillan MSP
Tommy Sheppard MP

Tory cruelty will not address the chaos at the heart of the UK’s immigration system

Suella Braverman’s Illegal Migration Bill will not work. It can’t “stop the boats”, and it utterly fails to address the chaos at the heart of the Home Office and the wider immigration system. Over a decade of degradation of the Home Office under the Conservatives has brought us to where we are today. 

I watched with despair at the Conservative benches in the House of Commons, lapping up the toxic rhetoric from the Home Secretary, as she laid out the latest magical solution to resolve the so-called “invasion” of people crossing the Channel on rubber dinghies.

The Hostile Environment, with it’s “go home” vans was meant to have dissuaded people from coming to the UK. The Nationality and Borders Act, passed only last year was supposed to have a similar effect. It isn’t even fully in force, yet this next damaging piece of legislation will be the one to fix it. Third time’s the charm, so the Tories would have you believe.

The reasons people flee conflict and persecution are much more compelling than the barriers being put up by this dangerous legislation. People come to the UK for many reasons, including family links, the English language, experience of having worked for UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the long legacy of empire. 

There is no system for applying for asylum from abroad. People literally must have their feet on UK soil before they can make an application. They can’t hop on a plane, as they won’t be allowed to board without the appropriate visa. Safe and legal routes are few and far between.

The exception to this, of course, has been Ukraine. You won’t find Ukrainians amongst the Iraqis, Iranians and Afghans in rubber dinghies, because for them, there is a functioning safe and legal route. No one would grudge Ukranians this important route to safety, but having proven it works for this group of vulnerable people fleeing conflict, the UK Government really ought to establish routes for other groups who are equally at risk.

In many of the cases I have dealt with in my advice surgeries, there are long delays for decisions on their cases. Some have waited for over a year in B&B accommodation for a decision, unable to get on with their lives and contribute as they dearly wish to do.

The various schemes the UK Government have proposed to tackle the issue are costing a fortune, sending hundreds of millions of pounds to the French Government, detaining people when they arrive here, and a costly and unworkable deal with Rwanda. 

Investing more wisely in the boring work of actually processing cases would be a much better use of public funds. Allowing asylum seekers the right to work while waiting for a decision would also be better all round – for the people in the system, for the public purse, and for integration into our communities.

We can and must do better than the divisive language of the Home Secretary. The anti-racism march through the streets of Glasgow on Saturday gives me hope that there is another way of dealing with this matter, one which recognises that these are our neighbours and that refugees are welcome in Scotland.


On International Women’s Day, Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has called on the Government to take immediate action to support breastfeeding mothers.
Speaking in her capacity as the chair of the APPG on Infant Feeding, Thewliss has urged the Government to listen to the concerns of the APPG and end exploitative marketing in the UK.
Thewliss has been a champion for new policies that encourage breastfeeding, such as encouraging football clubs across Scotland to declare their stadiums breastfeeding friendly.
Thewliss recently spoke at the launch of the Lancet Series which focused on the dangers of the marketing of baby formula in the UK and around the world.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“On International Women’s Day, it is important to remember the struggles that breastfeeding mothers face across the country.
“The Lancet Series demonstrated the reach of the infant formula industry and highlighted the need for immediate action to end the harmful and exploitative marketing. Commercial milk formula is a multi-billion-dollar industry and companies spend considerable sums on marketing, with the purpose of influencing the decisions families make about infant feeding.
“The UK Government must fully implement the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes to protect our youngest citizens from rapacious marketing.”


Alison Thewliss has called on the Government to support prepayment customers following a cross-party letter to the Government urging a ban on forced installation of prepayment meters.
The cross-party letter, set up by the APPG on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, has been signed by 40 MPs across a number of parties and has expressed “deep concern” for the UK’s poorest families.
Campaign groups and charities have also called for urgent action, with Citizens Advice warning last week that 3.2 million people ran out of credit on their prepayment meter last year due to not being able to afford topping up.
The letter comes ahead of Grant Schapps, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, being questioned in the Commons on Tuesday about the meters.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“I echo the views of this letter and urge the Government to act immediately to support the most vulnerable constituents in my constituency. It is clear that this UK Tory Government are falling well short of the mark when it comes to the support being provided already.
“This is another shameful policy being introduced by the UK Tory Government, and it sickens me that this decision has been agreed on in the first place.
“Both this letter and my colleague Anne McLaughlin’s Ten-Minute Rule Bill on Pre-Payment Meters (Self-Disconnection) highlight the need for immediate action from this Tory Government.
“People across my constituency should not be forced onto these prepayment meters, particularly during this difficult cost-of-living crisis. Companies should not be granted the opportunity to put their customers in an inhumane position to choose between heating their homes or feeding their children.
“The Government must ban the forced installation of prepayment meters and move vulnerable people off these meters immediately. If the Government does not provide financial support now, then families across the country will be forced into unnecessary poverty.”


A Glasgow Central constituent has had a Universal Credit sanction rightfully overturned, after reaching out to the DWP and his local MP.
The constituent contacted the DWP in September 2022 to discuss a recent UC sanction imposed upon him, asking for this to be reviewed.
Due to being up late at night preparing for an upcoming job interview, the constituent slept in the following morning and missed a single appointment at the job centre. 
The constituent contacted the DWP one hour after the missed appointment and offered to attend later in the day however he received no response to this.
Following the missed appointment, the DWP imposed a sanction in the form of £11 a day over the course of 25 days, totalling £275.
After regular discussion between the DWP and Alison Thewliss, the decision to impose the Universal Credit sanction was overturned and the original amount paid was received.
Commenting, the Glasgow Central constituent explained:
“I am so delighted to have had this Universal Credit sanction overturned. This situation has been extremely stressful, and I am so relieved to be able to receive this money.
“After leaving university, it has been difficult enough trying to pay the rent without sanctions such as these being put upon me.
“The difficult thing for me was knowing the work and effort I was putting in to try and get a job and having all this work thrown right back in my face by an unfair sanction made the situation even worse.
“Alison and her team made the process of getting this sanction overturned as stress-free as it possibly could be, and I can’t thank them enough for this.
“I hope that others who might be in a similar situation will be able to see that there is hope and I would urge anyone to contact their local MP if they are experiencing issues of their own.”
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“When the constituent first approached my office, it was clear that the sanction imposed upon him was extremely unfair.
“My team were able to contact the DWP and received a response advising that, as expected the constituent would receive the original amount.
“If constituents have been sanctioned and feel this is unfair, they are entitled to ask the decision is looked at again. This is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration.
“Frustratingly, this very small issue caused the DWP to react disproportionately – I am glad they have accepted this was wrong.
“I also want to give a huge thanks to the constituent, who has been so patient during all of this. I can imagine this would have been a distressing time for him, and I’m so glad he was able to have the sanction overturned and receive the money he was rightfully owed.
“My team are always available for constituents to contact us, not only on DWP issues, and I urge anyone to do so on any matter during this difficult cost-of-living crisis.”



SNP MP Alison Thewliss has called on the Royal Mail to ‘stop the threats of job cuts to valued postal workers and ‘engage meaningfully’ with the Communications Worker Union to find an acceptable solution to prevent further postal strikes. 

In a joint letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Mail, Alison Thewliss MP told the Royal Mail Chief that it is “unacceptable to see the language employed by Royal Mail in threatening its workforce with job losses because they dare to ask for a fair work package.”

Postal workers across Glasgow Central are on strike again today, with several more strike days planned early next month, from the 2nd of November to the 4th of November.

Last week, the Royal Mail’s announced its intention to slash 10,000 jobs, citing the strike action and low parcel delivery sales as the reason. Thewliss has called this move a ‘tactic in the ongoing pay dispute with postal workers’ and has accused Royal Mail of ‘acting in bad faith’.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“Postal workers across Glasgow Central are struggling to make ends meet in the face of the cost-of-living crisis while Royal Mail shareholders benefited from bumper profits in the millions.

“It is understandable that postal workers find the argument that there isn’t money for them to have a fair wage unpalatable when there are millions of pounds of profit for shareholders, who should share the burden – when hard working postal staff are struggling to put food on their table this winter.

“Royal Mail staff in Glasgow Central and their families need financial security. The decision to strike will not have been easy for any of them, but this is about more than pay; it is also about protecting the universal mail service we all expect and value.

“Royal Mail need to get back to the negotiating table – in a meaningful way – and put our communities at the heart of discussions.”


Alison Thewliss MP has backed calls for the extension to the eligibility period for the £650 cost of living payment to older people entitled to Pension Credit.

The Glasgow Central MP has backed her colleague Anne McLaughlin, MP for Glasgow East who will be holding a debate in Westminster Hall on Pension Credit to all MPs on the 26th October.

Speaking about the proposals, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The eligibility period for the £650 cost of living payment for anyone receiving Pension Credit has passed – but when 40% of those entitled to Personal Credit haven’t applied to it, this is simply not good enough.

“As winter bites and energy costs rise, this £650 could prove an essential lifeline to those 40%.

“The UK must extend the deadline to 31 March 2023.”