Press release: UK Uncut Hijack Vodafone Website


UK Uncut Hijack Vodafone Website
For immediate release

Tel: 07591992825
Email: ukuncut@gmail.com
Twitter: @ukuncut
Web: http://www.ukuncut.org.uk

UK Uncut, the anti cuts direct action group [1], this afternoon hijacked a Vodafone website and posted blogs demanding that the government force the company to pay its tax. At around midday, UK Uncut took over the blogs on the ‘World of Difference’ website [2], Vodafone’s flagship Corporate and Social Responsibility initiative.

UK Uncut have targeted Vodafone since October, shutting down hundred of the mobile phone giant’s high street stores in protest against a £6 billion tax dodge [3]. Despite Vodafone trying to brush off the allegations, the National Audit Office have recently opened an investigation into HMRC’s controversial tax settlements with the company [4].

Vodafone’s World of Difference programme is their highly-publicised charity scheme, which awards small grants to people to undertake charity work [5]. Each of these winners has a blog on World of Difference website. UK Uncut were leaked the password details by a small group of the winners, who were angry at the company’s tax avoidance practices.

One of the winners that leaked the passwords, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Vodafone make a big deal out of their funding to charity, but their charitable giving pales into insignificance compared to the £6 billion they got away without paying in tax. I work for a charity and understand how the government’s brutal spending cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable. So many charities, including mine, are under threat. Vodafone’s tax dodge alone could pay for every cut to every charity in the country.” [6]

The messages posted on Vodafone’s website included photos and videos of UK Uncut’s actions at Vodafone stores and details of some of the cuts that could be avoided if the government chose to make Vodafone to pay its tax. One blog was titled: “Vodafone’s Tax Dodge £6bn. Cuts to charities £5bn.”

Fiona Samuels, 31, a spokesperson for UK Uncut said: “These cuts are not necessary, not fair and there are alternatives. People across the country are angry and willing to fight to prevent unprecedented cuts to public services.”

[1] http://www.ukuncut.org.uk
[2] http://worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk/
[3] The Vodafone tax deal, and the figure of £6bn, was first reported by former senior HMRC tax inspector Richard Brooks in Private Eye. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=514832&in_page_id=2
[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jan/19/national-audit-office-investigate-multinational-tax
[5] http://worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk/aboutWOD.html
[6] http://www.philanthropycapital.org/publications/improving_the_sector/grantmaking/preparing_for_cuts.aspx