Taking it to the streets

Our nation could learn a thing or two about independence from these Brits:

Britain’s fastest-growing protest movement is to target scores of high street banks in the next stage of its campaign against government cuts and corporate tax avoidance.

Activists from UK Uncut have, over the past five months, caused the temporary closure of more than 100 branches of high street stores accused of avoiding millions of pounds in tax.

The group will stage its first national day of action against UK banks on 19 February.

“The idea this time is not to shut these places down but to open up high street banks, occupying them and using them for things that may be more useful for the community,” said Daniel Garvin from the group.

He and other protesters have mobilised thousands of activists using the Twitter hashtag #UKuncut since the group was formed in October.

The protests, which come as banks reveal multimillion-pound bonus packages over the next few weeks, will involve a range of peaceful – and creative – direct actions.

“If libraries are being closed in their area, people may decide to stage a read-in in the bank,” said Garvin.

“The housing benefit cap means people are losing their homes, so some groups may opt for a sleep-in. Theatres are being shut, so others have talked about staging a play.

“Health provision is being cut, so what about setting up a walk-in clinic? Education funding is being savaged so how about holding a lecture series?”

Garvin said one local group concerned that a swimming pool was under threat was going to set up a paddling pool in a local bank.

The National Audit Office calculated in 2009 that the taxpayer spent £131bn supporting the banking system and the government is facing growing criticism over its failure to tax the banks, rein in excessive bonuses or enforce lending to businesses.

Government efforts to draw a line under the row over bankers suffered another blow on Wednesday when Vince Cable, the business secretary, said he was still determined to end “unjustified and outrageous” salaries in the sector and his Liberal Democrat ally Lord Oakeshott left the frontbench after damning the government’s attempts to curb bonuses.

Garvin said the growing anger over banks was fuelling support for UK Uncut‘s new campaign.

4 thoughts on “Taking it to the streets

Comments are closed.