Press release: UK Uncut set to tackle Vodafone stores tomorrow over tax avoidance


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UK Uncut set to tackle Vodafone stores over tax avoidance

9 Vodafone stores across the UK to be targetted. Newly-announced protests include in Glasgow and St Albans.
Anti-austerity groups Focus E15 and Disabled People Against the Cuts to join protest in Central London.

UK Uncut has vowed that protests against Vodafone stores around the country will go ahead tomorrow, Saturday 14th June. Vodafone is accused of not paying any corporation tax since 2011 and of still owing £6bn tax dodge from a dodgy deal in 2001.[1] The protest groups say that this is money that belongs in the public purse.

Local protest groups have planned actions at Vodafone shops in Glasgow, St Alban’s and central London.[2] UK Uncut today vowed that these protests will go ahead, despite the mobile phone company saying the protests were “picking on the wrong target”[3].

Vodafone was UK Uncut’s first target in 2010, and the group say the government has still not done enough to stop them dodging tax. Protesters are demanding Vodafone to pay the billions in tax owed to the public purse. They say they will occupy Vodafone shops to transform them into homes, housing shelters and housewarming parties.[4]

UK Uncut says the protests will highlight the current “social housing crisis”, which they say 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.[5]

In London, protesters will meet at Cavendish Square, Soho at 10.45am, and during the action will transform a Vodafone into a house warming party with balloons, parachute children’s games and a creche. They will be joined by activists from the Focus E15 campaign, who are known for occupying council offices and show homes in East London,[6] and from Disabled People Against the Cuts.[7]

UK Uncut protester Stef Johnson, 32 said “Tomorrow we’ll show the government that they can’t let big business of the hook on huge amounts of tax avoidance. The money Vodafone owe could pay for thousands of new homes, or could stop the bedroom tax and benefit cap many times over. It’s unacceptable that the government choose to let rich tax dodgers off the hook, while making the poorest pay for a crisis they didn’t cause”

ENDS

Notes for editors

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

Vodafone was the first company to be targeted by a series of high-profile protests by UK Uncut for avoiding a £6bn tax bill in 2010. 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

[1] See http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/the-dodgy-house-of-vodafone

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

[3] Financial Times, May 15 2014: “UK Uncut to stage tax avoidance protests”. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1355daf4-db7f-11e3-b112-00144feabdc0.html#axzz34Uvxdoy9

[4] http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/call-out-vodahome-power-to-us
[5] 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

For information about the bedroom tax forcing people to face eviction see: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-50000-people-are-now-facing-eviction-after-b…

[6] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Focus-E15-Mothers/602860129757343
[7] www.dpac.uk.net