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Vodafone stores around the country to be targeted by nationwide UK Uncut protests

Protest group Focus E15 Mothers to join in 'national day of action' to highlight cuts to social housing.

Actions planned across the country including in Cornwall, Manchester and central London.

Vodafone branches up and down the country are set to be targeted this Saturday, 14 June by anti-austerity group UK Uncut, in protest against the mobile giant's tax avoiding practices.

Protest locations so far include Manchester, Grimsby, Cornwall, Peterborough and central London.[1]

Vodafone was UK Uncut's first target in 2010 and the group say the government has still not done enough to stop them dodging tax. Protesters are demanding Vodafone to pay the billions in tax owed to the public purse. They say they will occupy Vodafone shops to transform them into homes, housing shelters and housewarming parties.[2]

This week several protests committed their support for the protests. In London, the Focus E15 Mothers campaign, who are known for occupying council offices and show homes in East London, will join the protest. The protest groups say their actions will be disruptive, but that they are a necessary and proportional response to the government's lack of action to provide affordable, decent housing for all.

Occupations will be staged to protest against to the government's failure provide secure and safe homes. More than 215,000 households face eviction and 5.9 million homes in England fail to meet the Government’s Decent Home Standards. [3,4]

 In London, protesters will meet at Cavendish Square, Soho at 10.45am, and during the action will transform a Vodafone into a house warming party with balloons, parachute children's games and a creche.

UK Uncut state that a “national day of action” focused on Vodafone's tax dodging activities is needed because the company still owes tax on a deal from 2011, which was reported to cost the UK treasury £6bn. The campaign group also claims that the mobile phone provider “hasn’t paid a penny of corporation tax since 2011”,[5] and that forcing tax avoiders to pay their tax could avert a looming housing crisis in the UK.

Vodafone was the first company to be targeted by a series of high-profile protests by UK Uncut for avoiding a £6bn tax bill in 2010.[6] The action is due to take place just six weeks before Vodafone's AGM and less than a year before the general election in which the government’s record on tackling tax avoidance while slashing public spending will be centre stage.

UK Uncut activist Kay Stevens, 28, said "The government have spoken tough but acted way too weak on tax dodging by millionaires and rich companies. Meanwhile our millionaire government is overseeing cuts to housing benefits, the bedroom tax and rocketing rents which are forcing people into desperate situations. Vodafone's dodged taxes could pay for safe and secure housing for the people who need it most"

Jasmin Stone, a member of Focus E15 said: "We'll be at the VodaHome action with UK Uncut because there is not enough social housing being built and there should be enough for everyone"

Notes for editors

UK Uncut (www.ukuncut.org.uk) is a grassroots movement taking action to highlight alternatives to the government's spending cuts.

[1] Actions are planned in Bristol, Cornwall, Grimsby, London, Manchester, Newbury and Peterborough. See http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/actions
[2] http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/call-out-vodahome-power-to-us
 [3] http://www.independent.co.uk/money/mortgages/more-than-215000-households-face-eviction-9429656.html
[4] English Housing Survey Headline Report, 2010-11.
[5] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1355daf4-db7f-11e3-b112-00144feabdc0.html
[6] UK Uncut first accused Vodafone of avoiding a £6bn tax bill relating to the purchase of German engineering firm Mannesmann in October 2010. At the time, the claim was dismissed by the company and HMRC as an 'urban myth'. In 2011, however, a parliamentary committee said the deal 'may have been illegal' and could have been worth up to £8bn. The deal will now be investigated as part of the judge-led review of corporate tax deals struck by HMRC. See
- http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1704527/Taxman-let-Vodafone-off-6bn-bill.html
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8875360/Taxman-accused-of-letting-Vodafone-off-8-billion.ht...
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/dec/06/hmrc-tax-deal-vodafone

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