A flash mob outside the Virgin Mobile store on Brixton High Street today were protesting against Sir Richard Branson’s alleged plans to privatise the NHS.
Members of Lambeth group, ‘Keep Our NHS Public’ and ‘Flash Mob for the NHS’ chanted: “Branson pays no taxes but he wants to get rich off our taxes.”
Virgin Care Limited already provides over 270 health services in the UK and is part-owned by Sir Branson’s Virgin Group. Campaigners argue firms running the NHS are funded with taxpayers money, but don’t even pay tax in the UK.
The government contracts several companies to run care services as part of reforms introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Gay Lee, 64, a protestor who has worked in health services for over 30 years, said the demonstration aimed to inform the public privatisation is happening.
She said: “There’s got to be a conflict of interest if a GP is caring for a patient at the same time as representing Virgin.”
She added: “We need to tell Virgin there is a problem and they should stick to what they are good at and not interfere with something else.”
Protestors arrived at 2pm to sing ‘We Will Defend our NHS’ and hand out leaflets to pedestrians. Virgin Media staff at the Brixton High Road store looked on as custom slowed to a trickle.
One sales assistant said: “It’s nothing to do with us. Richard Branson doesn’t run Virgin Media anymore.”
Mrs Lee said the “ridiculous” row of mobile phone shops on Brixton High Road was another indicator of pervasive privatisation in our society, pushing out independent retailers. Campaigners hope their demonstration will be rolled out across the country.
The protest was organised by The People’s Assembly; an activist group planning to burn effigies of conservative ministers at a ‘Bonfire of Austerity’ in Barnet next Tuesday.