Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has accused the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks of turning its back on communities in England and Scotland with the closure of 28 bank branches.

The company has used the opportunity to pull out of a number of local communities in Scotland and England by utilising lease breaks. The retail network currently comprises 320 branches, of which 176 belong to the Yorkshire bank and 144 to Clydesdale.

The bank is also creating six new flagship branches which will contain a large amount of automated machines but a recent poll for Unite by independent pollsters Survation showed that people still have reservations about automation in bank branches, and almost three quarters (72%) of people want the human touch as well as a machine.

Unite national officer Rob Macgregor said: “The bank is cutting costs and eroding community banking which we believe leaves customers with less choice .

“Customers are being short changed by high street banks replacing counter staff with machines, yet according to our own poll which showed nearly three quarters of people want the human touch, not just a machine in their local bank branch.”