Barclays: we did it | ActionAid UK

Barclays: we did it

Eva Watkinson

Campaigns Engagement Manager

53,000 people taking action, hundreds of us writing to our MPs, thousands of passionate messages and one Father Christmas later, I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that Barclays have committed to stop promoting tax dodging through tax havens to companies investing in Africa!

Here's how you made it happen.

We launched our campaign back in November 2013, after we found out the bank had been promoting the use of tax havens to companies investing in Africa.

How you made Barclays listen

Thousands of campaigners and customers wrote to the bank’s CEO Antony Jenkins demanding that they stop being part of the system that drains billions from some of the world’s poorest countries.

Just ahead of Christmas campaigners took to the streets, handing in signed Christmas cards to local branches, asking them to be a good bank this year, and in Zambia hundreds of campaigners protested outside the bank’s Lusaka headquarters.

But it wasn’t until the bank’s shareholder AGM in April that we really got their attention – with a giant billboard paid for by campaigners, and a media stunt that was splashed across the UK press. ActionAid campaigner Will Davis also asked a question directly to Antony Jenkins, and won a promise that he would look into what we were calling for.

Barclays' commitment

We’ve been a bit quiet over the last few months but behind the scenes we’ve been keeping up the pressure on Barclays, and finally it’s borne fruit.

Barclay’s commitment means that they have made changes to their website and aren’t promoting the low tax rates that are one of the key features of tax havens.

Whilst this isn’t a total victory, it’s pretty amazing that pressure from ordinary people can influence the position of one of the world’s biggest banks.

We’ll be keeping up the pressure on politicians and companies to make sure we see an end to the tax dodging that is so damaging for developing countries.