Press release: NHS Direct Action and UK Uncut protest at HSBC AGM over NHS profiteering

Press release: NHS Direct Action and UK Uncut protest at HSBC AGM over NHS profiteering

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This morning, at 10.00am, 15 NHS Direct Action [1] and UK Uncut [2] activists dressed in medical scrubs staged a protest outside HSBC’s AGM over the bank’s NHS profiteering.

A recent BBC investigation found that HSBC used a tax loophole to divert millions of pounds of NHS money into a Guernsey ‘tax haven’. In 2010, a company set up by HSBC made more than £38 million from its 33 PFI hospital-building schemes and paid £100,000 in UK tax – less than half of 1% of the profits [3]. Describing such practices as ‘scandalous’, former Oxford MP Dr Evan Harris called for new rules to stop NHS money being sent to tax havens [4].

Stuart Gulliver, the new chief executive of HSBC, recently received a bonus of £9million- which could pay for the annual salary of over 400 nurses [5].

The protest comes the day before UK Uncut and NHS Direct Action are due to hold their first full day of action over the government’s proposed NHS cuts. Over 35 groups around the country are planning to turn banks into hospitals to highlight alternatives to cuts that could result in 50,000 NHS staff losing their jobs.

Marion Davies, a medical student, said “HSBC are making millions in profit from NHS hospitals and their use of tax havens is a scandal that must end. Doctors and nurses are the ones who deserve a bonus – not the bankers that caused the financial crisis.”.


[1] NHS Direct Action is a protest group of students, health workers and patients organising creative direct actions against the privatisation of the NHS. Companies and think-tanks such as Care UK and the Policy Exchange have been previously targeted with auctions, die-ins and impromptu occupations.

[2] UK Uncut have creatively occupied hundreds of banks and retail shops belonging to tax-avoiding corporations over the last 8 months. It is a direct action network with a national reach, and 30,000 followers on twitter.