Press release: UK Uncut to transform banks in protest at NHS plans

Posted on Tue 10th May 2011, 5:18pm
For immediate release
07415063231 / ukuncut@gmail.com
www.ukuncut.org.uk

UK Uncut targets banks in 'emergency operation' against NHS shakeup

UK Uncut, the anti-austerity action group, today announced plans to transform banks nationwide into hospitals, operating theatres and GPs surgeries on May 28th to demand that the government focus on reform of the banks rather than of the NHS.

The day of action, happening under the banner 'UK Uncut: Emergency Operation', will see banks up and down the country transformed to draw attention to the continuing state subsidy of the banking sector of up to £100bn/year [14] [1] and NHS reform plans predicted to have "catastrophic consequences" for patient care [2]. Activists hope to confirm the support of rapper MC NxtGen, whose 'Andrew Lansley Rap' has had over 368,000 views on YouTube [3], stars from medical TV dramas and doctors and nurses unions.

Despite a pre-election promise by David Cameron to 'cut the deficit, not the NHS', 50,000 NHS jobs will be lost over the next five years including thousands of doctors, nurses and midwives in a £20bn 'efficiency drive' [4] [5]. The Royal College of General Practitioners has warned that the Government's NHS reform plans jeopardise the principle of universal healthcare, saying that "we are moving headlong into an insurance-type model" [8]. Meanwhile, taxpayers continue to subsidise the banking sector by up to £100bn/year, equivalent to the entire NHS budget [1] [6] [7].

The last nationwide day of action at the end of February saw high-street branches of bailed-out banks turned into crèches, libraries and hospitals in 40 different towns and cities across the UK [10]. The Uncut movement continues to spread around the globe, with US Uncut staging hundreds of occupations of tax dodging corporations across a four-day period in April [11] and Portugal Uncut holding its first actions [12].

"The banks are paying lavish bonuses and raking in billions in profit off the back of taxpayer subsidies yet the government tell us 'there is no alternative' to unprecedented public sector cuts. That includes the cuts to the NHS that Cameron promised would never happen," said healthcare worker and UK Uncut supporter Jack Davies, 27. "The government should be cutting benefits to banks, not the NHS and other essential public services."

UK Uncut supporter Sophie Healey, 33, said: "Whilst NHS satisfaction is at a record high, the banks are still costing us billions each year. It shows the government's true colours that they would rather privatise the NHS than fix the broken banking system."

[1] http://treasureislands.org/uks-implicit-bank-subsidy-cost-of-nhs/
[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8441391/Half-of-NHS-cuts-in-frontline-posts-nursing-leaders-claim.html
[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl1jPqqTdNo
[4] http://www.channel4.com/news/50-000-nhs-job-cuts-hit-mental-health-services
[5] http://www.channel4.com/news/nhs-being-attacked-from-all-sides-says-nurse-leader
[6] http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/12/how_to_curb_bonuses.html
[7] http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2011-04-20/uk-banks-still-too-big-to-fail?mod=sectionheadlines-home-IB
[8] http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/41884
[9] http://www.neweconomics.org/press-releases/response-vickers-commission-a-promising-start-but-fails-acid-test-say-nef-and-compass
[10] http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/actions/list?d=2011-02-26
[11] http://www.usuncut.org/
[12] www.facebook.com/portugaluncut
[13] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/lawyers-back-uk-uncut-on-taxes-2280762.html
[14] http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/12/how_to_curb_bonuses.html

Art Uncut and UK Uncut present: Unlucky for Some, an event in support of the Fortnum 145

Posted on Fri 6th May 2011, 12:36pm
Big Society Entertainments presents:

"Unlucky For Some"

An evening of music, comedy and short talks in support of the Fortnum 145, presented by Art Uncut and UK Uncut

Friday 13th May, 7pm, Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, London NW5

Following on from the sell-out show on March 18th, Art Uncut and UK Uncut have got together to present another fabulous not-for-profit night of stand-up comedy, music and speakers united in opposition to the economic and social folly of the Conservative-led government’s austerity measures.

Speakers: Laurie Penny (New Statesman), Robin Hood Tax Campaign, UK Uncut
Comedy: Andy Zaltzman, Javier Costales
Music: Fold, The Magic Lantern, Chris T-T, The Temp and the Tycoon
Video messages: Mark Thomas, Polly Toynbee, Nicholas Shaxson, Richard Murphy

Tickets

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About Art Uncut: To complement the UK Uncut actions, Art Uncut is planning a series of creative events aimed at opening up the anti-cuts movement to a wider audience. It hopes to build a broad, sustained coalition of opposition to the cuts, with the potential for real political influence. For more information: artuncut.org.uk

About the Fortnum 145: The ‘Fortnum 145’ are the protestors who, on the weekend of March 26th 2011, were arrested after an occupation of the department store Fortnum & Mason in London. The occupation raised awareness of a £40million tax dodge by F&M’s parent company, Wittington Investments. A police spokesperson inside the building was filmed saying the demonstration was “sensible” and “non-violent” and shopper Joan Higgins from Liverpool described the protester’s theatrical show as “the perfect accompaniment to my tea and scones”. The ‘Fortnum 145’ campaign is being run by the friends and family of those protesters. For more information: ukuncut.org.uk/about/fortnum

We need your help to challenge press lies

Posted on Tue 3rd May 2011, 10:27am


On March 26th, UK Uncut took to the streets of London and occupied dozens of stores including Fortnum & Mason. The hundreds of UK Uncut actions up and down the country before to the 26th set a clear precedent of inspiring, creative action, and we were available for media calls throughout the day. Despite this, many media outlets, whether through deliberate malice or lazy journalism, completely misrepresented what UK Uncut did on the day. Similar nonsense was repeated in the run up to the Royal Wedding. We need your help to make sure this stuff doesn’t go unchallenged.

The PCC is an imperfect recourse for this sort of thing – but it can force media outlets to make an apology and to think again before publishing lies about us.

How you can help:

Locate articles in which a newspaper lies about UK Uncut, then go to the PCC website and make a complaint.

It's best to remain civil and be very clear about your ask: an apology or removal from their website is good. Don’t settle for a letter. Please forward any correspondence to us in an email marked ‘PCC Complaint’.

Once having had their wrists slapped by the PCC, media outlets are less likely to repeat the same slurs, so there's a lasting benefit.

(Of course, sometimes the media do get it right: in the case of the Fortnum & Mason occupation, we've collected together some of the better coverage).
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