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An anti-cuts direct action group is staging a protest [#47] outside a north London branch of Barclays bank.

UK Uncut is highlighting cuts in public services such as libraries while banks announce huge profits at the event in Islington.

One of the activists, Toni Palmer, said [#10]: "The banks caused this economic crisis because of their greed and reckless gambling, but ordinary people are really being made to pay for it.

"Our lives are being devastated by the billion-pound cuts to essential services that we all depend on - but Barclays is paying out bonuses of £2 billion, which shows that we are not all in this together."

Anna Williams, a supporter of UK Uncut, said [#10]: "The Government is barely lifting a finger to stand up to the banks or to clamp down on tax avoidance to make big business pay their fair share.

"Instead, they are making a political choice to privatise and slash spending on the NHS, libraries, day care for the elderly and people with disabilities and free school meals. The banks are holding the Government and country to ransom."

The protest was held on the day the banking giant revealed that staff costs jumped by a fifth to almost £12 billion last year, despite a 12% cut in the bonus pool for its investment bankers. In a year when pre-tax profits rose 32% to £6.1 billion, Barclays added the group-wide pot for performance-related awards fell 7% to £3.4 billion.

Gee, it's almost like the banksters are using the same playbook everywhere, isn't it? And the political system they own, too.