27 Oct 2010


65 activists have today stopped trading at Vodafone’s largest retail store on
Oxford Street, London, by blockading the doorway in disgust at the HMRC’s deal
with Vodafone that have allowed them to walk away from paying a tax bill thought
to be worth £6bn to the public purse[1].

The action started at 09:30 this morning where activists gathered at The Ritz
hotel near Oxford Street following rapid mobilization over the weekend via
Twitter, Facebook, blogs and text messaging.

The 65 activists confronted the minor security in front of the shop to gain
entry to the shop and proceeded to blockade the entrance with arm tubes and
banners before the store had chance to even receive its first customer.
This comes exactly a week after George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review
in which he announced that another £7bn will be cut from welfare, producing a
total of £18bn of cuts from vital welfare services.

These cuts have been widely condemned by charity groups representing the most
vulnerable in society, and the highly respected Institute of Fiscal Studies
confirmed on Thursday last week that the coalition’s cuts will indeed hit the
poorest in society the hardest.

The issue of tax evasion by corporations and the wealthy was not however even
mentioned during Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review speech, despite the
fact that it is estimated that the deficit to the public purse from tax evasion
amounts to at least £12bn each year [2].

To add salt to the wound, Osborne also announced last week that large
corporations in addition will be expected to contribute 4% less in tax to public
services across the next four years through a reduction in corporation tax.
Activists on today’s action also note that Andy Halford is both a financial
advisor to Vodafone and a corporation tax advisor to the treasury [3].
Under a banner that read “Pay your taxes - save our welfare state”, Jennifer
Kyte said, “The cuts are not fair, we're not all in this together, and there are
alternatives. Why not start by collecting - instead of writing off – the tens of
billions owed in taxes by wealthy corporations?”

She continued, “The economic downturn was caused by the reckless greed of the
private sector, but it is the public sector and those at the bottom that are
picking up the bill. Is this their idea of the wonderful Big Society?”
Zeketa Darby said, “We will not pay for their crisis! The public need to join
together and hit the streets to take concerted action to fight these cuts”

For more information email: actionagainstthecuts@gmail.com
Twitter: @ukuncut

[1] The details of the Vodafone scandal have been released originally following
an investigation by the satirical magazine Private Eye.



[2] The exact amount lost through corporate tax evasion is by its nature
decidedly hard to pin down, however Richard Murphy from the tax justice network
has estimated that £12bn is lost

[3] http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/tax_forums_business_tax_competitiveness.html
[4] A callout was put up on this blog site. http://theircrisis.wordpress.com/

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