Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Feminist 'Big Bank Bail In'

On Saturday morning, NatWest in Camden Town became a crèche, as part of nation-wide protests organised by campaign group UK Uncut. Parents and children swooped on the branches of the bank across the UK, and Camden Town saw a large gathering of parents, armed with craft materials and musical instruments.

I was there with Clementine, my 4 year old. In Camden, nursery provision will be cut from 25 hours a week to just 15 hours a week as a result of Government cuts. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the UK loses over £25 billion a year in tax avoidance. If even a quarter of that could be clawed back we would be able to avoid these huge, devastating cuts which will impact on every single child in the UK.

Bank staff and customers looked on as the children indulged in homemade cakes, sang songs (accompanied by a guitarist, as pictured above) and enjoyed craft activities (glitter featured heavily) - oh, as well as causing much pandemonium (at one point some boys decided to see what would happen if they poured a pot of glue into a toy trumpet...).

Parents handed out leaflets to explain that there was a serious reason behind the fun event.

We cannot underestimate the loss of these services for local families. Universal, affordable childcare is a lifeline for low and middle-income families. People are justifiably angry that whilst the Government cuts are impacting on normal people, the banks are seemingly getting away scot free.

Take, for example, the CEO of Barclays, Bob Diamond, who will be awarded an £8 million bonus this year. That would be enough to cover both Camden and Haringey’s childcare costs!

After a rousing final number we left peacefully, point made. The press were there in force (I was interviewed by Sky News, for example), so the message we were there to promote was hopefully spread far and wide. And NatWest will be vacuuming glitter out of their carpet for some time yet (I speak from bitter (glitter!) experience...).

No comments:

Post a Comment