BORDERS high streets have been dealt a major blow with the announcement that six branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland are to close in the new year.

Melrose, Selkirk, Hawick, Jedburgh, Duns and Eyemouth are all included in the RBS hitlist.

The news has been met by anger.

Local MP John Lamont told us: "I’ve spoken to senior management to express my deep disappointment about this news.

"It is hard not to come to the conclusion that RBS simply does not care about its customers in rural Scotland.

“We’ve now had nine RBS branches close in recent years and many people will be asking when this will stop.

"These plans effectively mean RBS is set to withdraw from the Scottish Borders."

It is believed between 25 and 30 staff will be affected by the closures in the Borders.

And it will mean only Kelso, Galashiels and Peebles will have RBS branches in the region for local customers to use.

Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “This is a hugely disappointing news and will hit high streets in the Borders hard.

“This will damage footfall and put extra strain on local business as a result, let alone RBS customers who will now have to face significant journeys to Kelso or Galashiels if they want to visit their nearest branch.

“I hope RBS will reconsider these closures, and are not left bemoaning its decision when further investment comes to the Borders.”