City of Westminster Court, Horseferry Road
Support F&M145 as test case begins: The words ‘sensible’ and ‘non-violent’ were not how Chief Inspector Claire Clark described the tax practice of Fortnum and Mason on March 26, but rather the behaviour of UK Uncut occupiers that held a peaceful sit-in at the ‘supermarket for the rich’ to send the message that our government should be targeting tax avoiders and not public services.
Protestors were initially told that they were only being kept in the store as there was a potential breach of the peace outside which police wanted to keep sterile. Chief Inspector Clark led occupiers to believe that as soon as practicable they would be allowed to move on towards Green Park station. Instead, they were led into a kettle, surrounded by riot police, and eventually carted around London in coaches to police station.
The next day all were let go, many without their clothes or belongings which were being kept as evidence, having been charged with aggravated trespass. Why? Evidence gathering, intimidation and headline grabbing arrest figures.
All through the occupation customers had gone about their shopping undisturbed, unaware that Fortnum and Mason’s parent company relies on a holding account in Luxemburg to offset interest payments on its profits, allowing the company to avoid at least £10m in tax annually whilst public services such as libraries, EMA, Higher Education and the NHS are facing cuts because the government says we have no money left.
Why the tax avoiders should be on trial
Fortnum and Mason are one of many super-rich companies that avoid paying tax. Tax avoidance costs us an estimated £95billion each year, an amount that would pay for the government’s £81billion cuts program and more.
So why not charge…
- Sir Phillip Green for avoiding £285million in tax by registering his business under his wife who has Monacan residency
- Boots for paying only 3% corporation tax on their profit of £475million in 2010 after moving their headquarters to a Swiss PO Box
- Tesco for avoiding £100million in stamp duty land tax despite profits of £3.4billion and controlling 30% of the UK grocery market
Tax avoiders should be on trial, not protest
ors who raise awareness of their scams!