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Big Society 'volunteers' fight corporate tax avoidance

BSRC in-store protesters
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Big Society 'volunteers' fight corporate tax avoidance

Finance | Niki May Young | 6 Dec 2010

An “army of citizen volunteers” caused chaos this weekend  holding protests to avenge cuts to public services in the name of the Big Society.

Led by campaigning group UK Uncut, the Big Society Revenue and Customs (BSRC) uprising saw staged sit-ins in stores of companies which have (allegedly) avoided billions of pounds of tax. A sit-in at the flagship Oxford Street store of Arcadia’s Topshop forced it to close before protesters advanced to BHS, Vodafone, Boots and Dorothy Perkins. The efforts were echoed in 23 towns and cities across the UK as protests were held in a show of union against cuts.

The action, in response to the news that thousands of jobs are to be cut from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, plays on the Prime Minister’s call for volunteers contained within the Big Society agenda.

Spokesperson for UK Uncut, Daniel Garvin, said: "David Cameron wants ordinary people in their spare time to carry out vital state-run services that have been cut, so this is exactly what we're doing. If HMRC won't chase down tax avoiders, then we will."

A further spokesperson of the collaborative, Rebecca Davies, added: "The cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our society the hardest are based on ideology, not necessity. There is an alternative."

"The tax gap in the UK is an estimated £120bn, £25 billion of this down to tax avoidance by extremely wealthy individuals and big business, while the government is barely lifting a finger to stop it."

The protests are expected to be just the first in a series of actions by the BSRC against corporations across the Christmas period.

 

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