Myth-busting: UK Uncut Actions in Support of Public Libraries Prove that the Arguments for Public Sector Cuts are a Nonsense
UKuncut has grown rapidly over the last few weeks. The group was conceived as a way of highlighting the weakness of the arguments advocating the necessity for huge spending cuts to reduce the national deficit. The group decided to do this by drawing attention to the huge amount lost through tax evasion and tax avoidance each year. According to HMRC’s own estimate £42 billion each year is lost to non-payment of tax by the very wealthiest in society (although it is believed this figure could be as much as £120 billion). So according to the government’s own (conservative) estimate over the four years of the proposed spending cuts the total figure amounts to £168 billion. That’s £168 billion lost in tax evasion/avoidance compared with £83 billion of public spending cuts. And while the government insist that they will crack down on tax cheats, the fact is HMRC, the department responsible for reclaiming this money, has been amongst the worst hit by the cuts with at least 13,000 jobs being cut. The government clearly has neither the desire nor the will to reclaim this money, yet these figures alone make a mockery of the idea that these cuts are either necessary or inevitable.
UK uncut should be commended for their innovative and refreshing approach to protest (one woman in particularly showed great imagination in embarking on her very own solo protest). The groups’ website provides advice and guidance as well as encouraging activists to post details of events happening in their town or city, but this is far from centrally controlled. The emphasis is on encouraging supporters to organise events themselves if there is nothing already going on in their area. The result has been a hugely effective campaign with great media coverage and support from the most unlikely places
Perhaps the most exciting news of all is that UK uncut have proposed a ‘read-in’ to take place this Saturday in Vodafone’s flagship store in London in order to highlight the government’s proposed cuts to local budgets and the direct impact this will have on local public libraries up and down the country.
At exactly 1.04pm, on the librarian’s signal, everyone will sit down, take out a book and begin reading. If you want to join Library Bloc bring flyers, banners and a book. And remember…shhhhh!
There will be similar actions in Sheffield, keep an eye on UK uncut’s website for updates.