Members of Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance met from 10am on Saturday morning outside the HSBC bank to protest against the recent news that bankers have awarded themselves £14billion in bonuses this year. This is despite receiving £850billion of public money to bail them out since the start of the economic crisis and the massive cuts to public services made to pay for it.
Protesters highlighted the fact that £14billion could pay for 140,000 nurses, 116,000 teachers, 120 new hospitals and 350 schools. Over 100 people signed a letter to the new CEO of Lloyds Bank, Antonio Horta-Osorio, who enjoys a salary of £1.06m, £4.5m in share options in his first year and bonuses of up to 300 per cent, demanding that top bankers pay be cut rather than public services. The outgoing CEO, Eric Daniels, received a £2.5million payout, more than half in bonuses.
Activists gave out more than a thousand leaflets in the form of £14billion notes to illustrate how the money could be better spent. The action was very well received by locals and holiday-makers alike, who expressed anger at the greed of the banks at a time of so-called austerity.
Alana Bates, from Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance said, “The government claim we are ‘all in it together’ but the actions of the banks show that the rich are not affected by the cuts and demonstrate a callous disregard for ordinary people. The government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility has reported that the richest 10% of the population have seen their share of Britain’s total income rise by 6%. This is disgraceful when the poorest and most vulnerable in society are suffering.”
Members of Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance will be meeting at 7pm on 2 August at the Crown pub at the bottom of Bread Street in Penzance to plan their next action. All are welcome.