July 17, 2020

Demands for the UK to Build Back Better projected onto London landmarks

17 July, London, UK — Last night the UK Youth Climate Strikers projected demands for urgent action onto the walls of the Bank of England and the Treasury. Climate strikers holding placards and reading messages in their homes called for urgent measures to combat economic injustices exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

In the video projection they demand that the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and Chancellor Rishi Sunak use public money to prioritise a transition to a fairer, greener economy and support the British public through this pandemic, instead of bailing out polluting companies and big corporations.

The demo took place as Central Bankers and Finance Ministers representing the wealthiest G20 countries prepare to meet on July 18 to “discuss and take urgent actions needed to address the global challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sophia Coningham, 15 year-old member of the UK Youth Climate Network said:

“We wanted to let the Bank of England and the Treasury know that we’re watching them. We won’t stand by whilst they focus on bailing out polluting companies at the same time that workers are losing their jobs and people are forced to choose between food and rent. Public money should be invested in building back better for people and not corporate profit”.

In May the Bank of England announced 18.8 billion in support for companies including airlines, car manufacturers and fossil fuel corporations. This announcement signalled a delay in the previously promised review into climate considerations, with Governor Andrew Bailey suggesting that the immediate priority had to be jobs and livelihood. But campaigners have responded with criticism after the companies supported by the bank of England’s economic support packages laid off thousands of jobs.

Anna Vickerstaff, UK Campaigner for 350.org said:

“The Bank of England has said it’s not focussing on climate right now because it wants to prioritise jobs and livelihoods, but with 34,000 jobs being lost in companies being bailed out by the Bank of England it’s clear it’s current measures aren’t sufficient for addressing either crisis. At a bare minimum the Bank of England should be adding conditions that protect workers of the companies it’s supporting, but what we really need is a complete review that means investment is prioritised for industries who can support a flourishing economy, climate and society”.

The action comes after research shows that just 6% of British public want to go back to pre-pandemic economy. With campaigners suggesting this shows that normal was already a crisis.

Lola Fayokun, an 18 year old youth striker said:

“The inequalities and injustices exposed by the coronavirus pandemic aren’t new and they don’t exist in isolation. Covid-19 and the climate crisis are global pandemics, and the same people bearing the weight in this pandemic were already bearing the weight in the climate crisis too. The Bank of England and the Treasury must prioritise climate in their spending decisions and begin a genuine green transition, or these injustices will only worsen.”

Around the world simultaneous actions involved activists creating a human chain in Bangladesh, dropping banners across South Africa, and projecting demands on public buildings in Brazil calling for a Just Recovery.

Useful links

Media contact

Mark Raven, Europe communications at 350.org 

[email protected] +442070973819