Press release: ‘Santa Glue-In’ as 55 Anti-Cuts Protests Hit Tax Dodgers Across The Country


email: ukuncut@gmail.com
twitter: @ukuncut #ukuncut
tel: 07591992825
ukuncut.org.uk
For Immediate Release

UK UNCUT: ‘SANTA GLUE IN’ AS 55 ANTI-CUTS PROTESTS HIT TAX DODGERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

UK Uncut have today held their biggest day of action yet against the coalition’s public sector cuts and wide-spread tax avoidance by the wealthiest in society.

Branded, ‘pay-day’, there are estimated to have been 55 protests by the Big Society Revenue Customs taking place on high streets up and down the country as people expose the arguments behind the austerity cuts as lies [1].

In Brighton, two activists dressed as Santa glued themselves inside BHS, while their ‘disruptive tax dodger tour’ also shut Dorothy Perkins and Burton. On Oxford Street, London, protestors were organised into two main blocks. Trading was disrupted at the flag-ship Topshop store as activists held a ‘sport-day’ with people holding egg and spoon races, playing football, doing sit-ups and star jumps, in an attempt to stop the £160m cuts to school sports. Further along the street, activists closed the flagship Vodafone store with a ‘read-in’ in an attempt to save public libraries from being axed.

There have been further confirmed store closures in Edinburgh, Truro, Manchester, Cambridge, Liverpool, Wrexham, Walthamstow, Brixton, Tunbridge Wells, Islington, Bristol, Nottingham, and Oxford.

Protests are believed to have taken place in a further 40 locations around Britain today.

Protesters have even designed an iPhone app to help people angry at the cuts to locate their local tax avoider and join their nearest protest [3]

Sir Philip Green and Vodafone remained the focus of the growing public anger, but Boots, M&S, Barclays and HSBC were also targeted nationally, as tax avoidance by multi-national corporations and extremely wealthy individuals, is estimated to cost the public purse £25billion every single year [4]

Sir Philip Green owns the fashion empire Arcadia, which spreads across 2,500 UK stores and includes top brands such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins [5]

Green’s empire Acardia is owned by Taveta Investments Limited – a holding company registered to a small office on the tax-haven island of Jersey.

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 [6].

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 – 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 [7].

Steven Hall, 31, 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.”

The UK Uncut movement started in October, when over 30 Vodafone stores were closed by ordinary people who blockaded and picketed the store’s entrances to stop trading [8].

Those protests were sparked after Vodafone 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 [9].

When questioned about what the meaning of the BSRC, Steven said “HMRC is due to lose 13,000 jobs. 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 they won’t chase down tax avoiders, then we will.”

Rebecca Davies, 32, said: “Over four years £100bn is expected to be lost the public purse to tax avoidance, which could pay for so many of the cuts that will hit the poorest in our society”

“The argument that only way to cut the public deficit is to cut public services is a lie. The coalition is ideologically smashing a public sector that supports the poorest in society.”

She continued today that “Ordinary people around Britain will stand up and show that they will not be lied to, and that we will not let these unnecessary cuts happen without a fight.”

ENDS
………………………………………..
For further comment:
UK Uncut: | ukuncut@gmail.com | 07591992825 |
……………………………………….

[1] Please see www.ukuncut.org.uk/action for details

[2] Please see www.ukuncut.org.uk for details

[3] [3] http://ukuncut.mobi/

[4] 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

[5] http://www.arcadiagroup.co.uk/about/index.html Arcadia also own, Burton, Wallis, Evans and Topman.

[6] 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

[6] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2004/nov/03/money

[7] http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/08/13/sir-philip-green-the-wrong-man-to-head-a-review-of-public-spending/

[8] see www.ukuncut.org.uk

[9] 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