Press release: 12 actions across the UK


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel: 07415 063 231 | 07823 934 863

Email ukuncut@gmail.com

@UKUncut

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* Protesters shut down Vodafone’s flagship store on Oxford Street for over two hours.[1]

* 12 actions took place across the country including in central London, Cornwall and Manchester.[2]
* Flagship store blockaded by mothers, babies and disabled activists

Ten Vodafone stores were successfully targeted today over the company’s alleged tax avoidance in UK Uncut’s biggest day of action of 2014. Actions took place from Cornwall to Glasgow with hundreds of people estimated to have taken part.

In London, protesters shut down Vodafone’s flagship store on Oxford Street for over two hours. Focus E15, a group of single mothers and their children joined the protest along with disabled activists and UK Uncut. Despite scuffles with Vodafone’s private security, the group blockaded the doors and held a protest inside and outside the store. The protest transformed the store into a house warming party with games, music and dancing.

Protesters are demanding Vodafone pay the billions in tax owed to the public purse and that the government force corporations to pay up. UK Uncut says the protests highlight the current “social housing crisis”, which they claim the Government are making worse by cutting housing benefits, slashing funding for affordable homes and failing to build social housing. Current estimates suggest that 1.6 million families are on the waiting list for social housing and that 50,000 people face eviction due to the bedroom tax.[3]

Vodafone was the first company to be targeted in a series of high-profile protests by UK Uncut for avoiding a £6bn tax bill in 2010.[4] It was recently revealed that Vodafone have not paid any corporation tax in the UK since 2011 despite making a post-tax profit of £59.4bn this year.[5] The protests are taking place just six weeks before Vodafone’s AGM and less than a year before the general election in which the government’s record on tackling tax avoidance while slashing public spending will be centre stage.

UK Uncut activist Emma Sanchez, 32, said “We had a great party in Vodafone’s flagship store with mums, kids, babies, disabled activists and lots of passers-by joining in. We are sick of the government letting corporations like Vodafone dodge billions every year whilst millions of people are left without decent safe housing”

Jasmine Stone, a member of Focus E15 said: “Blockading the doors of Vodafone’s flagship store today was incredible and we won’t stop protesting until this government stop the cuts and make corporations pay their fair share”

ENDS

Notes for editors

UK Uncut (www.ukuncut.org) is a grassroots movement taking action to highlight alternatives to the government’s spending cuts.

For more information on Focus E15 see: http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/kate-belgrave/focus-e15-young-mothers-struggle-for-universal-housing

For more information on Disabled People Against Cuts see: www.dpac.uk.net

[1] 341-349 Oxford St, London W1C 2JE

[2] Actions are planned in Bristol, Cornwall, Grimsby, London, Manchester, Newbury, Norwich, Peterborough, Glasgow and St Albans. See http://www.ukuncut.org/actions

[3] For information about the social housing waiting list see: http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/guest-blog-from-tuc and http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/aug/08/economy.housing

[4] UK Uncut first accused Vodafone of avoiding a £6bn tax bill relating to the purchase of German engineering firm Mannesmann in October 2010. At the time, the claim was dismissed by the company and HMRC as an ‘urban myth’. In 2011, however, a parliamentary committee said the deal ‘may have been illegal’ and could have been worth up to £8bn. The deal will now be investigated as part of the judge-led review of corporate tax deals struck by HMRC. See
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1704527/Taxman-let-Vodafone-off-6bn-bill.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8875360/Taxman-accused-of-letting-Vodafone-off-8-billion.ht…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/dec/06/hmrc-tax-deal-vodafone

[5] – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1355daf4-db7f-11e3-b112-00144feabdc0.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/vodafone-courts-new-tax-row-with-transfer-to-luxembo…