UK Uncut plans more tax avoidance protests for 30 Jan

UK UNCUT, a fast-growing group of activists protesting against corporate tax avoidance and public spending cuts, has said that its next national day of protests will be on 30 January.

The protest group – which last year forced the closure of a number of Vodafone and Topshop stores after activists staged sit-ins – said its next protests will “ram home the message that the cuts are ideological and unnecessary.”

UK Uncut, which uses social media technology to organise protests, said it was planning to use Twitter, a micro-blogging site, to give training sessions in “non-violent direct action techniques”, as well as legal information, and “online brainstorms for tactics and targets that people feel ‘have got away with it lightly so far'”.

Clare Collins, who supports UK Uncut, said: “Whilst ordinary people are rushing to complete our tax forms, threatened with fines if we miss the deadline, rich corporations and individuals are dodging £25bn of tax every year.”

“They can employ armies of lawyers and accountants to exploit legal loopholes and dodge billions in tax they owe to us. And the government doesn’t lift a finger to do anything to stop this, if they did, these cuts wouldn’t be necessary.”

In July last year, Vodafone paid £1.25bn in a settlement with the taxman. Vodafone had originally set aside £2.2bn in its accounts to cover the potential costs of the legal battle relating to how UK income is used in overseas divisions based in low-tax jurisdictions.

Some tax avoidance campaigners alleged that Vodafone has avoided paying out an extra £6bn, although both Vodafone and HMRC deny the claim.

Philip Green banked the biggest pay cheque in corporate history in 2005 when his Arcadia fashion business, which owns Topshop, paid a £1.2bn dividend. The payment went to his wife, Tina, who lives in Monaco and is the direct owner of Arcadia. Because of this arrangement no UK income tax was due on the gain.


(Picture: © UCL Occupation, via Flickr)

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