Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tax avoidance protesters turn their attention to Britain's banks

In a recent post entitled The Start of Something Beautiful we said that the time has come for the British public, who have largely turned a blind eye to the monkey business of the bankers and lawyers of the City of London for decades, square up to the players in this sector.

As reported here in The Guardian, UK Uncut will be targeting scores of high street banks in the next stage of its campaign against government cuts and corporate tax avoidance, staging its first national day of action against UK banks on 19 February.

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. [Daniel Garvin of UK Uncut].

"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 banks caused the financial crisis in the first place - with offshore dealings playing a pivotal role as the true extent of liabilities was obscured. Banks dodge their own corporate taxes through offshore subsidiaries, and they enable wealthy people, via their private banking divisions, to hide taxable money in secrecy jurisdictions. And the City of London has the government in its grip.

Some of us blogging for TJN have first-hand experience of both the privileged life of bankers and the sharp end of life at the other end of the economic spectrum. How hard-working, diligent, caring and conscientious people suffer inordinately when public services are unavailable for support in challenging life circumstances. We also know that many bank workers are caring and conscientious. Maybe they should speak up against their senior employers, (the ones getting the fatter bonuses), and demand ethics and justice. The tide is turning towards a strengthening business case - not only a warm and fuzzy feeling of doing-good - for change to a fairer way of operating.

UK Uncut's actions are witty and fun, moving and inspiring, and superbly effective: "People are starting to listen to us" - borne out by a Financial Times poll showing growing hostility towards big business over tax avoidance. Meanwhile, across the pond, the call is growing: Time for a USA Uncut II - In the Nation


Blogger Robin Smith said...

I can show an idea that identifies banks not so much as tax avoiders. But more "rent seekers". They are collecting rents and paying no tax on them in the end. A double whammy.

See here for our evidence submitted to the High Pay Commission

The Cause of High Pay: the role of land value

7:01 am  

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