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.