10/27/2010 4:20:00 PM
Protesters close down Vodafone Oxford Street store
A Vodafone store on Oxford Street has closed down after protestors turned up to demonstrate over an alleged unpaid tax bill. The store closed for more than five hours.Protestors involved in the demonstration put up banners saying: ‘pay your taxes and save our welfare state’.
The protestors are understood to have decided to protest after the Government spending review announced extensive cuts to the public sector and welfare state.
Vodafone started receiving media attention over an alleged £6bn tax bill in September, when Private Eye published a story about Vodafone.
The Private Eye story claimed that Vodafone owed £6bn to HMRC after purchasing a German company in 2000 and the purchase had broken tax rules.
Since then, Vodafone has negotiated with HMRC to pay £1.25bn to settle the outstanding sum.
In a statement Vodafone said: ‘Vodafone takes corporate responsibility very seriously and in that regard does meet its tax obligations in the countries in which it operates. Under the terms of an agreement with HMRC earlier this year, Vodafone will pay a sum of £1.25bn to settle a case concerning 'Controlled Foreign Companies' which was agreed after a full and rigorous examination of the facts and circumstances by HMRC, followed by intensive and tough negotiations about the complex legal issues involved. It is incorrect to suggest that there was outstanding tax bill of £6bn, as this was never the case.’
The case also attracted attention of Independent columnist Johann Hari who after the cuts were announced wrote: ‘Vodafone, had an outstanding tax bill of £6bn – but Osborne simply cancelled it this year. If he had made them pay, he could have prevented nearly all the cuts to all the welfare recipients in Britain. You try refusing to pay your taxes next time, and see if George Osborne shows the same generosity to you as he does to the super-rich.’