Around 8 members of South Lakes World Development Movement yesterday held a demo outside the Kendal branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to highlight their involvement in the Canadian tar sands – the most environmentally destructive and polluting project on the planet.
Tar sands footsteps were stuck on the pavement leading into RBS and volunteers handed out leaflets to passers by raising awareness of what RBS is up to.
RBS was bailed out during the financial crisis with billions of pounds of public money and is now 84% owned by the British public. RBS has used our money to get involved in finance worth £10 billion for projects and companies linked to human rights abuses and climate change. These include the devastating tar sands oil extraction projects in western Canada, labelled ‘blood oil’ by the region’s indigenous communities (see blog below for more details).
Despite being propped up by the public, RBS’ top executives are still being rewarded with bonuses for financing deals that destroy lives. Incredibly, the Treasury’s response thus far has been to turn a blind eye. As public anger grows, the Chancellor must now demand that RBS puts taxpayers’ mone into socially useful investments, instead of dirty and destructive schemes like tar sands.