Press release: UK Uncut shut down Boots and target Tesco over tax avoidance

Posted on Sun 30th Jan 2011, 2:15pm
30/01/2011 UKUNCUT Tel: 07591 992825 www.ukuncut.org.uk Twitter: @ukuncut FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UK UNCUT SHUT DOWN BOOTS AND TARGET TESCO OVER TAX AVOIDANCE On the day before the tax return deadline UK Uncut’s Big Society Revenue and Customs have taken to the streets once again calling on wealthy tax avoiders to pay their tax.

Up to 30 protests took place around, with many focusing their anger at Boots and Tesco. On Oxford Street, around 150 activists dressed as Doctors and Nurses occupied and shut down the large Boots store. They chanted "save the nhs".

Boots have moved their Boots Alliance HQ to a postbox in the Swiss town of Zug, where they now pay around 3% tax to the UK public purse. It is estimated that this is costing the tax payer £100m per year [1] .

Walkers Crips and Cadbury products were also removed off the shelves of Tesco in central London [2]. Tesco have avoided over £100m through using complex offshore holding vehicles and partnerships [3]. Kraft have moved the Cadbury HQ to Switzerland which is estimated to cost the tax payer £60m [4]. Walkers Crisps, despite priding themselves on having 100% British Crisps, have had their HQ registered in Switzerland which is estimated to cost the British tax payer between £10 - 20m every single year [5].

The group has said that the day will “ram home the message that the cuts are ideological and unnecessary”. They are also pointing out that the government will fine ordinary people who miss the deadline for self-assessment tax returns, which are due on the day after the protests, whilst Big Business and wealthy individuals that avoid tax through complex systems of offshore trusts, accounts, partnerships and subsidiaries are rarely held to account. The groups previous days of action on the 27th, 30th October and 4th and 18th of December have seen thousands of ordinary people creatively targeting tax-dodgers such as Vodafone and Philip Green. Previous actions have included a ‘read-in’ in Vodafone, confronting cuts to libraries and a ‘sports day’ in Top Shop highlighting cuts to schools sports programmes [6]. Samina Fiaz from UKuncut said, “We are clearly not all in this together. The cuts that will hit the poorest in our society the hardest are a political choice, there is an alternative.”

She continued, “Whilst we rush to complete our tax return forms, rich corporations and individuals are getting away with shirking £25bn of tax every single year, and yet the government is barely lifting a finger to stop it.” [7]

Ben Day said “On Sunday, we will go knocking on the doors of corporate demanding that they pay. We will not let these unfair and unnecessary cuts happen without a fight”

ENDS For more information and interview please call: 07591 992825 Email ukuncut@gmail.com The locations are as follows: assembly details are shown on the ukuncut website www.ukuncut.org.uk/actions

Notes to Editors

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/11/boots-switzerland-uk [2] http://twitpic.com/3uudrd [3] http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/targets [4] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1335774/Cadburys-Swiss-avoid-British-tax-cost-Treasury-60-million-year.html [5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/feb/05/tax-gap-walkers [6] http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/targets [7] 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