Press release: Philip Green is new Tax Avoidance Target


SIR PHILIP GREEN IS NEXT TAX AVOIDANCE TARGET

  • Day of action this Saturday to include Sir Philip Green beside Vodafone as the focus of public anger
  • UK Uncut launches ‘Big Society Revenue and Customs’
  • Announcement comes on the third day of national student action against fees and cuts
UK Uncut – the group that recently targeted Vodafone – [1] are today announcing that in addition to Vodafone, Sir Philip Green and his retail empire will be a target for nationwide tax avoidance protests across the christmas period, starting this Saturday.
Sir Philip Green is the boss of Arcadia which is one of the largest fashion empires in the UK, with 2,500 stores across brands that include Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins [2]. Acardia is owned by Taveta Investments Limited, which is registered to a small office on the tax-haven island of Jersey [3]. 
Sir Philip Green is not however the official owner of Taveta Investments. Instead, the owners are his wife and immediate family, who reside in Monaco [4]. 
Monaco is of course famous for its 0% income tax. As a result, when Sir Philip Green – the 9th richest man in the UK with wealth estimated at £4.4bn in 2008 [5] – in 2005 made the largest single dividend payout in UK corporate history to his wife of £1.2bn, he avoided paying a reported £285million in tax to the British public purse [6].
Amid criticism from key MPs, Sir Philip Green was also asked by the coalition government this year to advise them on austerity and cuts within the civil service [7]. 
Daniel Garvin, 26, said “Philip Green is a multi-billionaire tax avoider, and yet is regarded by David Cameron as an appropriate man to advise the government on austerity. His missing millions need to be reclaimed and invested into public services, not into his wife’s bank account.”
UK Uncut are also today launching the ‘Big Society Revenue and Customs’ (BSRC) [8], following the announcement that HM Revenue and Customs faces thousands of job cuts following a 15% cut in its budget [9].
Commenting on the launch of BSRC, Daniel Garvin said: “David Cameron wants ordinary people in their spare time to carry out vital state run services that have been cut, so this is exactly what we’re doing. If HMRC won’t chase down tax avoiders, then we will.”
The first, in what is expect to be a series of actions against Philip Green and Vodafone by the BSRC across the Christmas period, will take place this Saturday, on high streets across Britain [10]. 
This follows on from nationwide protests against the communications giant, Vodafone, that resulted in over 30 of its stores being closed by ordinary people who blockaded and picketed its entrances to stop trading [11]. 
The protests were sparked after the corporation reached a ‘settlement’ on a long standing tax dispute with HMRC earlier this year, following the change in government. Some experts believe the deal meant that Vodafone saved up to £6bn in tax [12].
 
Rebecca Davies, 32, said: “The cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our society the hardest are based on ideology, not necessity. There is an alternative.”
“the tax gap in the UK is an estimated £120bn [13], £25 billion of this down to tax avoidance by extremely wealthy individuals and big business [14], while the government is barely lifting a finger to stop it.”
 
Looking ahead to the weekend she continued, “this Saturday, and across the Christmas period, ordinary people around Britain will stand up to show that we will not let these unnecessary cuts happen without a fight.”
ENDS
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For further comment:
UK Uncut: ukuncut@gmail.com |
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Notes to Editor:
[1] Details can be seen on the website www.ukuncut.org.uk
[2] http://www.arcadiagroup.co.uk/about/index.html  Arcadia also own, Burton, Wallis, Evans and Topman.
[3] http://www.arcadiagroup.co.uk/about/index.html
And the office in jersey was shown by Channel 4’s Dispatches broadcast on Monday 18th October.
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-72/episode-1
[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2004/nov/03/money
[5] The Sunday Times Richlist from 2008: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunday_Times_Rich_List_2008
[6] http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/08/13/sir-philip-green-the-wrong-man-to-head-a-review-of-public-spending/
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/analysis-the-rich-get-richer-in-poor-old-britain-470417.html
This independent article states: when Sir Philip Green paid his divident he financed it by taking out a loan. Although this is a common form of financial engineering in privately owned companies, it had the benefit of cutting Arcadia’s corporation tax bill, as the interest charges on the loan could be offset against profits. In this way, wealth was simply being redistributed from taxpayers to Mr Green’s family.
[7] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/13/philip-green-eficiency-savings
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/19/philip-green-liberal-democrats-tax
[8] Please see www.ukuncut.org.uk for a full explanation on the thinking behind the BSRC.The BSRC logo is also available to download on the website.
[9]http://www.accountancymagazine.com/croner/jsp/Editorial.do?channelId=-305535&contentId=1707614&Failed_Reason=No+BVCookie+present+to+retrieve+the+session.&Failed_Page=/jsp/Editorial.do&BV_UseBVCookie=No
[10] UCL Occupation Students yesterday blocked the entrance to TopShop, linking their tax savings to the cuts in education.http://ucloccupation.wordpress.com/
[11] Please see www.ukuncut.org.uk for details
[12] The original investigation was completed by Richard Brookes, a tax inspector, at Private-Eye, but has since been written about by other journalists.
http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=514832&in_page_id=2
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/14/vodafone-tax-evasion-revenue-customs
[13] Richard Murphy, a long standing and respected campaigner on the issue of tax justice has produced a report stating that £120bn is the tax gap to britain.http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/features/2010/10/there-is-an-alternative/
[14] Richard Murphy, a long standing and respected campaigner on the issue of tax-avoidance has produced a report stating that 25bn is lost to the public purse by tax avoidance. £13bn through individuals. £12bn through large corporations.
http://www.tuc.org.uk/touchstone/Missingbillions/1missingbillions.pdf