Oxfam ban Somerset's Robin Hood row banker
Oxfam is seeking court action to ban a pensioner from one of its shops, and is asking him to pay a £10,000 legal bill.
But Barry Nowlan, 63, of Taunton, says he has a legitimate complaint about Oxfam’s “political campaigning.”
The charity banned the retired bank clerk and Lloyds shareholder from its shop at The Bridge in Taunton after he complained about a poster which highlighted Oxfam’s call for a “Robin Hood” tax of banks and financial institutions.
The charity accuses Mr Nowlan of causing: “great distress” and “harassing volunteers”.
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He denies the claims but admits entering the building since Oxfam banned him by letter.
Oxfam says seeking an injunction at county court is a “last resort.”
Mr Nowlan said on Friday: “Oxfam claims its Robin Hood Tax will come from bank profits and bankers’ bonuses, not from the ordinary people”. But banks are owned by shareholders.
“They are pension funds and ordinary people like me.
“I retired at 49 through ill-health. My pensions are small but I had the benefit of dividends (mainly from my Lloyds Bank shares) until the last few years.
“As you know, Lloyds' share value fell from a peak of £11 to barely 30p. now. The dividends represented about one-third of my income. So I was not best pleased to see Oxfam's window display deceiving people.
“I have continued to go into the shop to show I am not cowed.
“I am not causing a problem, and have bought one or two books. All this has racked up a legal bill of nearly £10,000 which I am expected to pay.”
Oxfam says it is campaigning for a financial transaction tax on banks, because the global economic crisis has pushed 50 million more people into extreme poverty.
It says the Robin Hood tax is a tiny tax that would have a massive impact on the world’s poorest people.
A spokeswoman for the charity said: “Oxfam has made the decision to apply for an injunction against a member of the public who we feel has been harassing the manager and volunteers at our Oxfam shop in Taunton.
“The nature of the visits to the shop from this member of the public are far beyond what any staff have a right to expect while working for Oxfam.
“The decision to apply for the injunction is very much a last resort.
“It is a time consuming and costly process but it is our duty to provide a safe working environment for our staff.
“Oxfam has made every effort to resolve the situation but, despite our best efforts to reason with the member of the public, his behaviour has been such that we now feel there is no other choice but to apply to take out an injunction.
“Oxfam has engaged the services of Wragge & Co LLP to apply for this injunction, and they have kindly offered to share the burden of half of the costs on a pro bono basis.”