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

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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.”