Press release: UK Uncut supporting nationwide strikes with ‘SolidariTEA’

Posted on Sat 26th Nov 2011, 12:11pm
PRESS RELEASE: UK Uncut supporting nationwide strikes with ‘SolidariTEA’

For immediate release
Tel 07415063231

UK Uncut [1] activists will take action in support of public sector strikes on the 30 November, joining public sector workers, students and other anti-cuts groups as part of the largest day of action against the Government's cuts so far. 23 unions representing over 2 million public sector workers [2] will be taking part in the biggest strike in this country for a generation.

As part of UK Uncut's ‘SolidariTEA’ campaign [3], tea will be provided to striking staff on picket lines and local demonstrations across the country, to show public support for workers and to build links between local direct action groups and union members.

The group will also take advantage of its social media channels, where it has significant reach [4], to combat the Government's press operation in traditional media. A series of guest blogs and FAQs are being lined up to dispel myths surrounding the strikes, and members of UK Uncut’s online community, numbering over 30,000, will be encouraged to send in photos of support on the day [5].

Rachel Woodsted, 27, a UK Uncut supporter said; “Strike action is direct action, and we'll be showing ‘solidaritea’ with the people on the picket lines on Wednesday. Rather than destroying our public services and slashing public sector pensions, the Government should be making the banks pay for a crisis they caused and stopping tax dodging by corporations and the rich."

Emma Heyfield, 36, from Sheffield; “I work in the private sector and I am supporting the strikers. It’s not just public sector workers who are angry. I’m sick of hearing the government blame everyone except the bankers for the financial crisis. This mess wasn’t caused by teachers and nurses, so why are they being punished? Making public sector workers work longer for less won’t do anything to improve my private sector pension, it will just harm the public services that we all rely on”.

UK Uncut supporter Lucy Tanner, 28, said: "UK Uncut and other grassroots groups have built a significant reach via social media channels over the past year. For the first time, we have the opportunity to effectively challenge some of the Government's lies about the strikes put out via traditional media. Social media will play a crucial role in the battle for hearts and minds on 30th November and beyond."

UK Uncut are vowing to support and build on the strike action with more direct action protest against tax avoiders in December.

[4] &

November 30th: show some solidariTEA!

Posted on Thu 24th Nov 2011, 7:42pm

On November 30th over 3 million people will take direct action against the Government’s austerity agenda.

In Britain’s biggest strike in living memory, nurses, teachers, construction workers and fire fighters will all come together on picket lines to reject the Government's unfair and unnecessary assault on public sector pensions. UK Uncut will be with them. On June 30th we took the workers the Big Society Breakfast. On November 30th we will be serving up hot mugs of solidariTEA.

We've shut down scores of high street shops, blocked bridges and staged creative interventions in conferences. November 30th is the time to stand with the people going on strike.

On November 30th, show the government that we are all in this together — against them — by taking a flask of hot solidariTEA to people on the picket lines. Discover your nearest picket by checking out False Economy, N30 Strike or contacting your local branch of one of the striking unions. And later on in the day, why not join one of the marches listed on False Economy or Right to Work?

The government and the media will try to say that the strikers are out for themselves; that they don't have public support. Let’s show them that they’re wrong. From now and on the day of the strike, send us your photos demonstrating your support to the special email address Photos will appear on on our Flickr photostream. Think banner drops, signs in windows and at your workplace — any way you can to show your support for the strike. Get creative!

There are alternatives to the coalition’s cuts. Rather than dismantling our public services and slashing pensions, make the banks pay for the crisis they caused, and stop tax dodging by corporations and the mega-rich. See you on the picket lines. And hanging off bridges, towers, lampposts... #n30 #solidariTEA

Read more:
UK Uncut supporting nationwide strikes with ‘SolidariTEA’
Trouble's brewing for the Government - solidariTEA with the strikers!

An insider's view on the Tax Journal Conference 2011

Posted on Thu 17th Nov 2011, 10:38am
Whilst many students had been looking forward to November 9th as the day they would once again hit the streets of London in protest, heads of tax from all the big multinationals were looking forward to the date for a very different reason: the Tax Journal Conference 2011.

Billed as the ‘definitive event for the corporate tax community’, the conference featured sessions on ‘mitigating tax risk’, ‘tax optimisation’ and ‘addressing the 50% tax rate’ led by companies such as Tesco, Sky and Barclays, and speeches from senior civil servants.

What neither tax-dodging companies nor the conference organisers knew is that UK Uncut had a friend in the audience. These are some of the notes she took.

08:45 Registration and Coffee

Decent coffee, nice mini croissants. Most of the people here are grey men in grey suits.

09:15 Welcome from the editor of Tax Journal

09:20 Chairmen’s welcome and introduction

09:25 The Treasury perspective: a view from the UK’s finance ministry on the role of tax policy in supporting economic recovery Edward Troup, Director-General, Tax and Welfare, HM Treasury

Senior civil servant from the Treasury begins by asking whether there are any journalists in the audience. There is only one, from the FT, who he obviously knows already. Troup looks more at ease after finding this out.

Troup attacks ‘unbalanced’ and ‘unfair’ coverage of HMRC’s dodgy deals with top tax dodgers Goldman Sachs and Vodafone. Says criticism of Dave Hartnett is ‘particularly unfair’. Believes there is a ‘debate’ as to ‘how acceptable it is that businesses pay less tax’.

Ed thinks that ‘taxing anything leads to market inefficiency’ and that ‘any level of taxation imposes a distortion upon the markets’.

Praises (presumably pro-free-market) academic work as ‘very good, very rigorous’ but accepts it is ‘not very real world’. Says his task is to ‘make it relevant to the real world’.

Would prefer to cut corporation tax than other taxes as this would be ‘less distorting’. Also somehow believes that ‘fuel tax paid by business is more distorting than that paid by individuals’. Accepts that, unfortunately, there is always an element of ‘political acceptability’ in these decisions.

Says the Government will release a report of a general anti-tax-avoidance rule around the New Year.

Ed pauses. Looks serious and down to an executive from a big oil company on his right. Says he realises this has ‘been a difficult time for the oil industry’ following the windfall tax imposed on their (multibillion pound extractive) profits but is pleased they have been able to continue working together despite their ‘difficult relationship’.

Question time. An audience member praises Ed for ‘getting through half an hour without any banking bashing’. He smiles and responds that the Government have been ‘robust’ in their opposition to a Financial Transactions Tax (Robin Hood Tax).

Question on whether we should close the tax gap, and if so, how? Should we simplify the tax code? Introduce anti-avoidance legislation? Ed responds that David Gauke (Treasury Minister) will launch an initiative on tax transparency (inspired by the 6000+ signatures on Caroline Lucas’ petition, perhaps?)

09:55 Panel session: Managing tax optimisation expectations

The session will explore the expectations of the FD/CFO and the Board against their corporate governance obligations and public scrutiny


Tim Voak, Group Tax Director, Tesco plc

Tanya Richards, Directory of Tax & Treasury, BSkyB

Phil Jacobs, Head of Tax, Barclays Capital

Tanya says ‘UK Uncut have produced a map of tax havens’ which shows the ‘companies with operations in each location’. (Not sure what she’s referring to here, I’m not aware of any such map – seems that ‘UK Uncut’ is a byword for ‘tax justice movement’ in this community at times.) Her advice is for companies ‘not to engage’ with stories that come out in the press about tax dodging – ‘if you put your head about the parapet, it’s likely to get chopped off’.

An FT journalist asks a question to the Head of Tax at Barclays Capital. Points out that ‘Barclays were at the centre of a storm caused by UK Uncut’, asks how he felt Barclays dealt with the situation. Barclays guy replies that the ‘question was not unanticipated’ but that essentially the company is ‘willing to do anything that’s legal’.

10.40 Keynote address: Tax and the CFO Dr Nigel Wilsons, CFO, Legal & General Group plc

11.10 Morning refreshments

11.30 Breakout sessions on CFC & foreign profits and employment tax

12.30 Lunch

13.35 Breakout sessions on VAT compliance and the Litgation Settlement Strategy

14.35 Break

14.40 Breakout sessions on transfer pricing and property tax

15.25 Afternoon refreshments

15.40 The Coalition’s tax policies: lessons learned David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury

Gauke says [multinational tax dodgers] form the ‘backbone’ of the Government’s economic plans, are the ‘driving force’ and ‘crucial’ for growth. Their success is based not on ‘luck’ but ‘enterprise’ and ‘ambition’. A banking crisis has turned into a sovereign debt crisis and the present government inherited a ‘dire situation’. Cuts in public spending are ‘not ideological’ but a ‘fiscal necessity’. Accepts there is a question where the burden of deficit reduction should lie, spending or taxation.

The UK has ‘slipped’ from 10th to 20th in the table of countries with the lowest corporation tax rates and the Government is ‘committed’ to ‘reversing the decline’. Ambition is to create the most ‘competitive’ tax system in G20. ‘Higher taxes on profit simply lead to uncompetitiveness’. The Government will reduce corporation tax to 23% by 2014 and will do all it can to resist a Financial Transactions Tax, the burden of which ‘would be borne mostly by pensioners’. Gauke understands that ‘higher marginal income tax rates are damaging for the UK’ and assures the audience the 50p rate is ‘only temporary’.

Says that the idea that some ‘good’ businesses that produce social value should be taxed differently to ‘bad businesses’ is ‘distortionary’ and would ‘damage growth’. ‘Increased cooperation between government and big business is the only way to an effective tax system’.

Question: are you concerned over a backlash over HMRC’s policies of ‘engagement’ with multinationals? Gauke replies: HMRC approach is ‘very sensible’ and ‘effective at getting revenue’. The message he is getting from multinationals is that ‘HMRC compares very favourably’ with tax institutions in other countries (yeah, I bet!), and makes an effort to understand companies’ concerns. Criticism of ‘public servants doing best for their country’ (Hartnett) is ‘unfair’ and ‘unfounded’.

Question: Women have been hit particularly hard by spending cuts, why has the government allowed this? Gauke: done ‘as much as possible’ to protect ‘vulnerable groups’.

16.10 Tax risk management Heather Self, Director, McGrigors LLP

Shortly before the end of her speech, Heather talks about the 'reputational risk' involved in arranging complicated tax avoidance schemes. She shows a slide of the first UK Uncut action outside Vodafone.

16.55 HMRC's relationship with the taxpayer Dave Hartnett, Permanent Sectretary for Tax, HM Revenue & Customs

A few minutes after starting, Dave's speech is interrupted by 'executives' from Goldman Sachs and Vodafone:

Most people seem rather amused.

Hartnett criticises the people staging the intervention as 'not understanding or not wanting to understand' the nature of the dodgy tax deals. He finishes his speech with a defiant 'They won't get me' — hmm, not so sure about that Dave.

17.30 Chairman's conclusion

17.35 Close of conference and drinks reception
Displaying posts 157 - 159 of 279 in total

Latest posts

UK Uncut speak to the Artist Taxi Driver!
Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 7:45pm
The dodgy house of Vodafone
Wed 28th May 2014, 7:48pm
Press release: UK Uncut return to Vodafone
Thu 15th May 2014, 1:24am
CALL OUT: #VodaHome
Thu 15th May 2014, 12:01am
Press release: UK Uncut response to Gary Barlow tax story
Sat 10th May 2014, 1:59pm
Press release: Direct Action groups to target Npower over fuel poverty deaths
Thu 21st Nov 2013, 2:01pm
CALL OUT: Bring down the #Big6
Sat 9th Nov 2013, 10:26am
Press release: Roads blocked in 7 towns and cities for Roadblocks for Justice action
Sat 5th Oct 2013, 1:11pm
Press release: UK Uncut to blockade roads in mass civil disobedience across UK
Sat 5th Oct 2013, 8:45am
Press release: UK Uncut to blockade roads in mass civil disobedience across UK
Fri 4th Oct 2013, 8:13am
Displaying posts 21 - 30 of 279 in total