Oxfam settle Somerset ‘Robin Hood’ row in court
A retired bank clerk’s disagreement with Oxfam, which saw him banned from one of the charity’s shops has ended amicably, in court.
Barry Nowlan, 63, of Taunton, was banned from Oxfam’s shop at The Bridge, after he complained about a poster which highlighted the charity’s call for a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on banks and financial institutions.
Earlier this month Oxfam said Mr Nowlan had caused: “great distress” and accused him of “harassing volunteers.”
He denied the claims but admitted that he had entered the shop after being sent a letter banning him.
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Mr Nowlan argued that Oxfam’s campaign was political, and that an extra tax on banks would hit ordinary shareholders and bank pensioners. Oxfam said it was seeking an injunction against Mr Nowlan as a “last resort” to keep him away from the shop. He denied that he had harassed anyone or been discourteous.
A hearing was held in private at Taunton County Court on Wednesday.
Afterwards Mr Nowlan said: “The matter has been settled between Oxfam and myself on a mutually satisfactory basis.”
Oxfam declined to comment on the court case, saying simply: “It is a private matter.”
Mr Nowlan was shocked when he saw the original poster in the charity’s shop window.
He and other Lloyds Bank employees had received shares in the company in the past which had fallen from a peak of £11 to 35p now.
The share dividends represented about one-third of his income and he was annoyed to see the charity call for action which could cause them to fall in future.
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.
Its website states: “It’s simply not fair for poor people to pay the price of mistakes made by rich bankers, to die for lack of medicines or for their children to be forced out of school because of an economic crisis they did nothing to cause.
“That’s why Oxfam is campaigning for a financial transaction tax on banks.
“The ‘Robin Hood Tax’ is a tiny tax that would have a massive impact.
“It would raise enough money to help poor people, protect public services and tackle climate change at home and abroad.
“Oxfam, along with many partners, is working to make this tax happen. Politicians around the world are already beginning to consider it as a serious possibility, but we need to make sure the possibility becomes a reality.”