2 Nov 2010

Vodafone highlight unjust tax system

The demonstrations against Vodafone stores have highlighted the obscenity of how corporations appear to get away without paying tax.

Photo from Dr Lawson's blog which has a discussion re Vodafone plus posts regarding how to tackle tax havens and avoidance - and below local artist Russ' view

Here is my letter yesterday to the local press:

Vodafone, the third largest corporation listed on the London Stock Exchange, hasn't paid, what Private Eye claims could be £6 billion in outstanding taxes. The company doubled its profits during this recession but the exchequer, run by George Osborne, has cancelled most of the tax bill, in what has been described as “an unbelievable cave-in”. Vodafone and the Tax man dispute the £6bn figure, but even Vodafone had set aside a £1bn more to pay their bill.

Osborne has since been promoting Vodafone on a tax-payer funded trip to India. In sharp contrast the Indian government is trying to pursue Vodafone through the courts for the billions in tax they have failed to pay there! Osborne, who Channel 4 have just revealed is avoiding £1.6m in a 'legal tax dodge' (i), has also appointed the finance director of Vodafone, to the government’s Advisory Board on Business Tax Rates. It is no wonder we have seen demonstrations outside Vodafone stores including Bristol.

Tax Research UK, calculates that UK corporations fail to pay £12bn a year in taxes they legally owe, while the rich avoid or evade up to £120bn. Staff cuts are already destroying HMRC's abilities to fight tax avoidance. We face £7bn in welfare cuts plus cuts to the Corporation tax. This is surely grossly and obscenely unjust?

We have over 2 million pensioners living in poverty and many of us fear that this figure could increase significantly following one of the most regressive budgets this country has ever seen. The budget is forecast to destroy half a million jobs in the public sector with the knock-on effect of at least as many jobs lost in the private sector. Where's the fairness when large companies avoid tax and vital public services go to the wall, hitting the poorest hardest? Yes lets reduce the deficit, but instead of cutting spending we need to address the collapse in tax revenues, with a fairer taxation system that ensures those who can afford to pay more do so.

Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward (Green party)

(i) Take action to get ~Osborne to pay his taxes:

If you are a Vodafone customer, you need to contact them for your PAC code. It takes about 3 days, and then you find another supplier and give them the PAC code to complete your switch.
See Johann Hari in the Independent here. Lastly see lots of actions around the country here.


Anonymous said...

SchNEWS, Issue 746, Thursday 4th November 2010



In the past week as many as 21 Vodafone stores have been hit with
direct action. The phone giant have become a widespread target for the
national anti-cuts campaign following their multi-billion
government-sanctioned tax-dodging shenanigans (see SchNEWS 745, 739)

It kicked off all over the country, with 'mobile' hit
squads in Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester,
Birmingham, Oxford, London, Brighton, Hastings, Worthing, Portsmouth,
Weymouth and Bristol - with two or more branches being shut in most

Many stores were already braced for action after the public
announcements of the planned demos, and as soon as protesters turned
up at one branch, others in the city started to shut down in nervous
solidarity. Pickets and blockades in some cities were made up of
splinter groups from larger anti-cuts marches that were going on at
the same time.

While the police haven't taken kindly to the campaign, with
arrests seen in Birmingham, Brighton and Oxford among others, there
has been strong support from the man and woman on the street.
Squirming out of an alleged £6 billion tax bill seems to have
stuck in the craw of a cut-shocked public and there have been
widespread displays of solidarity with the campaigners. One
Brightonian passerby even remarked, 'shame we're not

More action is planned for this weekend, including more Vodafone
demos and citywide marches against the cuts.

* For more and details of an upcoming action near you see

Anonymous said...


Kill the rich, drink theirblood and split the spoils, let's have a jolly good time!

Bring back Comrade Brown to power and all his aparatchiks, nationalise everything, send the (former) rich to Gulags in the highlands and islands.

Viva the Revolution!

Anonymous said...

A revolution yes - but a revolution in tax so that instead of being one of the most unequal societies in the Western world we make justice the core. Vodafone shows how wrong we have gone - look at RBS in the red again yet paying the bankers loads of bonuses.

Anonymous said...

This week the Financial Times carried an article on tax with a strong focus on our Trace the Tax campaign, a sure sign the campaign is gaining real momentum.

The piece also covered recent protests from other groups targeting Vodafone stores across the country. These protesters have blocked stores and accused Vodafone of dodging taxes in the UK.

Although Christian Aid is not accusing Vodafone of tax dodging in developing countries (or anywhere), we are including them in our Trace the Tax campaign because we believe that they can play a role in helping to end tax dodging, which we estimate costs developing countries $160 billion every year – more than the entire global aid budget.

The pressure is building on Vodafone and the other FTSE Four companies to support transparency in tax – and it’s all down to the efforts of Christian Aid supporters like you.

Call on the FTSE Four to support our campaign

If you have already written to the FTSE Four, thank you. Please help spread the word and forward this email to a friend.

Thank you.

Alasdair Roxburgh
Trace the Tax Campaigns Officer
Christian Aid