Oxford’s branch of Extinction Rebellion occupied both Barclays and the town hall as part of a national day of action.

The environmentalist group picketed outside the bank in Cornmarket before marching to the town hall where they occupied the staircase on Monday (November 14)

Extinction Rebellion Oxford held banners and placards whilst occupying the staircase which read “Our council declared a climate emergency but still banks with Barclays” and “Barclays funds famine in Africa”.

READ MORE: Police hunting men after Mercedes stolen from Oxford driveway

Oxford Mail:

The demonstration was part of a national day of action by the group, which took place at 100 Barclays branches in the UK.

It has been widely documented that Barclays has invested billions of pounds into the fossil fuel industry, despite warnings from climate scientists that continued investment would have a huge impact on the environment.

The protest also formed part of two weeks of action by Extinction Rebellion Oxford to draw attention to the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – which is taking place until Friday (November 18).

Oxford Mail:

Clive Gillam of Extinction Rebellion Oxford delivered a letter to councillor Susan Brown, the leader of Oxford City Council, demanding they cease banking with Barclays.

Mr Gillam said: “It makes no sense for the City Council to use this fossil fuel bank, in contradiction with their commendable declaration of a climate emergency three years ago. We are urging the Council to switch their accounts over to an ethical bank, away from Barclays.

"The Council cannot be supporting the activities of a bank that is not only the largest funder of polluting and climate-destroying fossil fuel extraction in Europe, but is also intending to fund new extraction of oil and gas.”

A spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion said:

“We are campaigning to force Barclays Bank to stop funding fossil fuel investments. 

"It is aiding exploration for new oil and gas – activities condemned by Climate scientists as creating the potential for adding to already worsening global warming.

"This is also being assisted by the UK Government which has granted over 100 new licenses for fossil fuel exploration.”

Oxford City Council said: "Historically Oxford City Council held its current account with the Co-Operative Bank, but when the bank decided to withdraw from the local authority market, the Council was forced to procure a replacement banker. 

"Of the bidding tenderers, Barclays scored joint highest in relation to social and ethical policies – the other two bidders were also major high-street banks. 

"This is about our current account, not our investments. We would obviously have welcomed a wider choice of bank and hope one will be available in the future, but we cannot function without a current account.

The Council engages with Barclays on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) matters; it is a subject at each of the account manager meetings. 

"We also ask for ESG information from all of our other counterparties and challenge them on this area as well.

"Oxford City Council takes climate change and the efforts to combat it very seriously. We will continue to undertake our own measures towards change and work with suppliers, and customers, towards a sustainable future."


Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

A message from our Editor

Thank you for reading this story and supporting the Oxford Mail.

If you like what we do please consider getting a subscription for the Oxford Mail and in return we’ll give you unrestricted access with less adverts across our website from the latest news, investigations, features, and sport.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok for more. 

You can also join the conversation in our Facebook groups: stay ahead of traffic alerts here, keep up to date with the latest from court here, share your favourite memories of Oxford here, get your daily dose of celebrity news here and take some time out with news that will make you smile. 

If you’ve got a story for our reporters, send us your news here. You can also list an event for free here.