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Newbury UK Uncut protest targets Vodafone and bank

Protest group known for demonstrations against 'tax dodging' targeted Northbrook St stores

A SMALL group of protesters from UK Uncut, which saw many of its members arrested following clashes with the police in London during the recent TUC march, gathered in Newbury today (Saturday).

The group, numbering less than a dozen, was protesting against what they described as tax dodging by large UK companies and targeted Newbury-based mobile phone giant Vodafone.

The protesters tried to gain access to the company's Northbrook Street store, but Vodafone was prepared and had security on hand to deny them entry.

Other businesses in the town, including Barclays Bank, which had previously been targeted, also had security on standby.

After a repeated attempt to gain entry, the police were called but no-one was arrested.

One of the organisers of the protest, Pam Cooper, said: “It's just money, money, money for the better off. And they just don't care about the people at the bottom. Vodafone is a Newbury company, they make out they are a friendly local company, but they are a multinational, they do what tax dodging they can, they will take jobs oversees as soon as anything is cheaper, they really just do not care.

She claimed: “Vodafone owes six billion dollars tax, they say they don't but they've done some sort of arrangement with HMRC to get out of it. It's a multi-millionaire's tax club and they're all in it together and we're not.

“We've all been told that we're all in this together, but frankly, we're not, the big firms get away with it, but it's the poor, the elderly and the kids that are going to miss out. They are shutting day centres and they're shutting old people's day homes.”

Vodafone denies any wrongdoing and one employee who happened to be passing, but asked not to be named, said: “I don't agree that we are trying to dodge tax. We haven't done anything illegal, but if there is a loophole, then people will exploit it. I believe that Vodafone is an ethical company.”

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