This Saturday 20 July, HSBC branches across the country will be transformed into food banks in protest at the impact of the government's welfare spending cuts on food poverty by UK Uncut, the anti-cuts direct action network.
Actions are already planned for 12 towns and cities across the UK including London, Glasgow, Manchester, Oxford and Shrewsbury.  Activists have billed the day as a day of 'creative civil disobedience', occupying and shutting down bank branches, distributing food to the public and collecting food for distribution to local food banks.
Campaigners have highlighted research which has shown that 500,000 people now rely on food banks on a regular basis.  The number of people relying on food banks has risen by 170% in the last year alone. Nearly half of those relying on food banks did so because of cuts or delays in benefit payments, while one in five turned to food banks due to low pay. 
HSBC, the UK's largest bank, has been targeted primarily for its links to tax havens and its role in facilitating tax avoidance. Recent research has shown that HSBC uses tax havens more than any other UK bank, with 496 subsidiaries in tax havens.  Only two other companies on the FTSE 100 have more links to tax havens. The bank has also been rocked by major tax avoidance scandals, with a Swiss subsidiary alleged to have helped UK tax payers evade £200 million as well as running thousands of offshore accounts in the tax haven of Jersey. 
After UK Uncut's plans were announced the bank offered to meet to discuss activists' concerns.  However despite repeated offers from UK Uncut the bank has so far rejected offers to hold a public discussion on 20 July.
Naomi Rogers, a spokesperson for UK Uncut said “Half a million people now rely on food banks and it's the government’s decision to slash benefits that's forcing that number up. The benefit cap, bedroom tax, the scrapping of crisis loans and attacks on disability living allowance and job seekers allowance are driving people into shocking levels of poverty.”
Sam McCarthy, an activist from Manchester said “We're targeting HSBC because a cabinet of millionaires are making a political choice to cut meagre benefits rather than collect billions of pounds avoided through tax havens. HSBC uses tax havens more than any other UK bank, allowing it and its rich clients to avoid paying their fair share of tax – leaving the rest of us picking up the bill.”
firstname.lastname@example.org | 07543 261 621 | 07415 063 231 | @ukuncut
NOTES TO EDITORS
1 – Actions are planned to take place in Bristol, Brixton, Exeter, Glasgow, Grimsby, Manchester, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield and Shrewsbury. For further details and locations see http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/actions?n=&m=1&d=20+Jul+2013
3 - http://www.trusselltrust.org/stats
4 - http://www.actionaid.org.uk/tax-justice-campaign/ftse-100-tax-haven-tracker-the-data
5 - http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/29/lord-green-hsbc-tax & http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2230349/HSBC-accused-setting-thousands-tax-evading-accounts-...
6 - https://twitter.com/HSBC_Press/status/354193653377413120
There are now over half a million people in the UK going hungry, forced by our government to make the choice between paying the bills or eating, feeding themselves or feeding their children.
That’s why on Saturday 20th July UK Uncut will be setting up our own UK Uncut style food banks inside branches of HSBC – shutting down the UK’s biggest, bonus-munching, crisis-causing, tax-dodging bank. Our taxes bailed them out, but they won’t pay their fair share and the government continues to let them get away with it.
As banker's continue to be rewarded with bonuses and subsidies, and tax dodging is rife (£25 billion is lost annually), there’s been a 170% increase in the number of people relying on food banks in the UK. We need to demand that the government stop propping up the people who caused this crisis and put an end to the need for food banks.
The government try and cover it up by saying food banks are ‘the Big Society in action’. But Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Co. have made a political choice to attack the poorest in our society. Cuts to jobs, wages and benefits are forcing families to choose between a roof over their head or putting food on the table.
The banks got us into this mess, but this cabinet of millionaire men are forcing us to pay the price. And that’s not all – banks are some of the biggest tax dodgers out there. HSBC uses more tax havens than any another UK bank. HSBC – the world’s local tax dodger! Last year they helped some of the richest people in Britain dodge hundreds of millions of pounds in tax in Switzerland and Jersey – once again showing we are not all in this together.
The government tell us there is no alternative, that public services and the welfare system are too expensive. This is a lie. They tell us the only way to deal with the deficit is to slash public spending. This is also a lie. There are alternatives to these cruel, devastating and unnecessary cuts.
Don’t just sit at home getting angry. Join UK Uncut’s national day of action on Saturday 20th July, where we’ll be occupying and transforming HSBC branches across the country into our own UK Uncut-style food banks, because it’s the banks that should be targeted, not ordinary people. Let’s show the government and tax-dodging fat cats we know there are alternatives to the cuts. Make the banks pay, stop the tax-dodgers and hands off our public services and welfare state.
So don your UK Uncut apron, put together your food packages, whether that’s real food or not and let’s show HSBC what’s really going on out there. This isn’t about setting up real food banks, but highlighting the divide between rich and poor through creative civil disobedience.
Now’s the time to get talking to your mates and people in your community, find your nearest HSBC branch, list an action on our website and get planning. If you need any help, drop us an email on email@example.com
We are the big society. Let’s show them how big we are, by stopping business as usual and continuing our creative resistance to the cuts.
See you on the streets!
“Offering to pay some tax if and when it suits you doesn’t stop you being a tax dodger. This is just a PR stunt- who is to say these funds won't come straight out of Starbuck's marketing budget? Such desperate attempts by Starbucks to deflect public pressure will get them nowhere. The government must force Starbucks and every other tax dodging company to pay their fair share, instead of inflicting brutal cuts on those least able to shoulder the burden of austerity."