ACTIVISTS targeted a city centre branch of one of the high street banks during a national protest over alleged tax avoidance.

Protestors demonstrated outside Durham’s Market Place branch of Barclays as part of the nationwide day of action by the pressure group UK Uncut.

Twenty members of Durham Uncut took part, waving placards, leafleting customers and other members of the public, and intermittently chanting: “Barclays Bank – pay your taxes.”

It was one of 46 branches of the bank to be targeted, following revelations that the bank paid only one per cent of corporation tax on pre-tax profits of £11.6bn in 2009.

Protestors believe Barclays should be forced to contribute more of its profits to reduce cutbacks on public services during the economic crisis.

Guy Hutchinson, of Durham Uncut, said: “We had a fantastic turnout and a good response from the public.

“I think we were spotted well in advance, and there seemed to be several security people at the bank, however, we stayed outside and tried to make our point by informing the public of the situation.

“A lot of them had heard on the news about the low tax paid by Barclays in 2009 and were quite surprised.”

A bank spokesman said: “The corporate tax affairs of an organisation with the global footprint of Barclays are complex and not reducible to simplistic comparisons.

“Any link between Barclays Group profits and the amount of tax paid to the UK Government is inappropriate.

“There is no direct correlation between the two.”