Pop up protestors could be popping up in Eastleigh next Saturday as citizen volunteers inspired by David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ seek to expose some of the country’s biggest retailers who they say are avoiding payment of tax.
Vodaphone, Boots, Evans, Dorothy Perkins and Burton are all retail chains who have stores in Eastleigh and are owned by companies which are domiciled abroad for tax purposes and pay little or no UK tax despite doing all of their business here.
Pressure group ‘UK uncut’ estimate that tax avoidance by big companies are costing the UK treasury up to £25 billion worth of income a year – at the same time as the government are seeking to make cost savings in education and the health service and other vital public services.
Mobile phone giant Vodaphone , who have a store in the Swan Centre, have spent six years contesting a £6 billion tax bill – most of which has now been written off for them by the new Liberal Democrat/Conservative government.
Boots the Chemists, who have two branches in Eastleigh, have seen their annual UK tax bill fall from £131 million a year to £21 million after their Italian owner and executive chairman Stefano Pessina moved the company’s head office from Nottingham to Switzerland.
Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Evans are all part of the ‘Arcadia’ group of chain stores which are run by flamboyant businessman Sir Phillip Green – they are however owned by his South African wife Christina who is a resident of Monaco and therefore pays no UK tax on profits.
UK Uncut estimate they have avoided paying as much as £285 million in which they claim would pay the wages of 20,000 nurses or the tuition fees of all UK students
Despite taking steps to minimise his tax bill Sir Philip has been assisting the Liberal Democrat /Conservative government as an adviser on cuts to public services.
On Saturday Eastleigh News spoke to a group of protestors who were picketing Topshop in Above Bar, Southampton.
Jackie – a worker at Southampton University – explained how she was incensed that the university was being subjected to cuts in its funding while multi billionaires like Sir Phillip Green, were sending their profits abroad free of tax.
“They say we are all in it together – but I don’t think we are” she said.
Another protestor who did not wish to be named said, “We are taking part in David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ by assisting Customs and Revenue to ensure big business pay their fair share of tax”
The pressure group has announced that next Saturday, December 18 will be ‘Pay Day’ and that there will be a National day of action outside as many Arcadia, Boots and Vodaphone stores across the UK as possible.
When asked if they would be targeting Eastleigh stores the Topshop protestors would only say, ‘This would be a matter for individuals to decide” and urged people to visit their website at: