Politicians have been talking tough on tax dodging. We must make sure they follow through

Public anger at the issue has fuelled the ranks of UK Uncut

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The Independent Online

UK Uncut began in 2010 when 70 people ran down Oxford Street, entered the Vodafone store and sat down. We were saying the Government had let Vodafone off a £6bn tax bill (an allegation denied by the company), while bringing in equivalent cuts to public services – so UK Uncut took action by shutting down Vodafone’s flagship store. During David Cameron’s time in office, 800 similar protests have been staged by groups across the country acting under the UK Uncut banner.

It was apparent to all of us at UK Uncut that on the flipside of the Government’s cuts were obscene levels of tax avoidance by the wealthiest companies and individuals in the UK. This is why UK Uncut has always focused on highlighting both tax dodging and alternatives to austerity. Why should the public be made to pay for a financial crisis caused by the banks? Why should the poorest in our society have to suffer from cuts to public services when the money could be recouped through fair taxation?

We say tax dodging is theft. As tax expert Richard Murphy points out, the estimated £19b lost to tax avoidance each year would pay for the NHS one day a week. It shows that the Government’s austerity policy is not an economic necessity. Instead it is a deliberate ploy. When it comes down to it, politicians would rather cut funding to public services like the NHS than go after powerful corporations.

And it is resoundingly clear to us that the national popularity of UK Uncut as a grass roots movement has been driven by the fury the public feel on this issue.

Which is why, musicians Thom Yorke and 3D from Massive Attack are joining us to take a stand. Today at 9am, they made their original score to new documentary UK Gold available exclusively on the UK Uncut website. For free. As Yorke puts it:
“Now is the time to reveal the revolving doors between government and the City that has bred lies and corruption for so long, siphoning money through our tax havens for the global super rich, while now preaching that we the people must pay our taxes and suffer austerity. Just who does our government work for?”


Politicians may have been falling over themselves in current weeks to condemn tax dodging, but this is just talk. We have to make sure they walk the walk. This won’t be achieved by asking nicely. If we want a government that works for us, rather than for tax dodging elites, we must make it impossible to ignore our voice.

This is why UK Uncut are organising a day of creative, family friendly action on Saturday 21st March. We invite you to join us.

The UK Gold, a new documentary on corporate tax avoidance, airs on London Live at 8pm Wednesday 25th March. Narrated by Dominic West, and featuring an original sound score by Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Robert Del Naja (Massive Attack) and Guy Garvey (Elbow).