PROTESTS by direct action group UK Uncut forced the closure of a number of HSBC branches today, including the group’s Buchanan Street bank.
UK Uncut targeted branches in 13 locations and have succeeded in shutting branches in Glasgow and Sheffield, as well as at Brixton and Regent Street in London.
Customers at the Glasgow branch were met with a notice in the window reading: “Due to unforeseen circumstances this branch of HSBC will remain closed today.”
The campaigners aimed to “transform” the branches into food banks, setting up outside their doors and distributing food as well as handing out material highlighting research showing that 500,000 people now rely on food banks on a regular basis.
The group of around 50 to 100 protesters at the central London branch accused HSBC of making matters worse by “dodging tax”.
Earlier, an HSBC spokesman said: “Our branches will be open as usual this Saturday; however our clear priority is the safety of our customers and staff.
“We are aware that our branches are a focus of UK Uncut for the day and we will take any precautions necessary.”
Murray Worthy, a spokesman for UK Uncut taking part in the protest on Regent Street, said: “We came here to shut it down and it’s shut down.
“We can’t go on with business as usual with the big banks dodging tax, while hundreds of thousands of people go hungry.
HSBC said: “HSBC takes tax transparency very seriously.
“Globally, HSBC paid 9.3 billion dollars (£6.1 billion) in tax last year, up from 8 billion dollars (£5.2 billion) in 2011, and just in the UK the bank paid a total of 1.6 billion dollars (£1.1 billion) in taxes.”