MPs sitting on the Scottish Affairs Committee have called the Royal Bank of Scotland’s planned closure of 62 of its branches across the country “a devastating blow to the affected communities, removing vital services relied upon by businesses”.

In a report released last week, it urged the bank to “respond to overwhelming evidence, which shows that there continues to be a strong demand for in-branch services, and halt its closure programme.”

Retailer Ferhan Ashiq, who runs two stores in Prestonpans and Musselburgh, previously gave evidence to the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee after his remaining bank branch closed.

He told RN: “The local bank closure already happened to me, and it was a very painful transition. I need change every week, and there’s no way around it. I now get all my change from the Post Office and I do most of my business online. I only go to the branch now to cash cheques.”

RBS has denied the closures are part of a cost-cutting measure.