Saturday 18 September 2010

Vodafone excused from tax bill worth more than Osborne's welfare cuts

Amount HMRC has demanded from UK taxpayers due to screw-ups in the PAYE system: £2 billion.

Amount George Osbourne wants to cut from the UK's welfare bill: £4 billion (on top of the £11 billion they're already trying to save via the emergency budget).

Amount of tax Vodafone doesn't have to pay: £6 billion.

A former HMRC chief told Private Eye it was "an unbelievable cave-in" - yes, and then some. But it gets better. Did you know that Andy Halford, Vodafone's financial director, has been advising George Osborne on company tax?

So, amidst all the talk about how the UK needs to tighten its belt and we can't have people abusing the system and taking taxpayers' hard-earned cash when they're not entitled to it; in the wake of Nick Clegg's pronouncement that benefits are not there to "compensate" the poor for their "predicament" (silly poor people, bothering the state because they want to eat and not be homeless, tsk); a gigantic corporation gets out of a gigantic tax bill.

David Cameron likes to talk about fairness. There's nothing fair about this.


  1. I suppose from his point of view people on benefits don't create jobs, Vodafone does (or can). I guess we'd need to know the whole picture was on the negotiations and what the total benefits were for the UK as a result.

  2. Er... Isabel love - Atos and J4E seem to be doing pretty fucking well out of 'people on benefits', as are *ahem* the DWP.

    This is a disgrace, it's a fucking disgrace. The message is that if you are a rich, white man then you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it. OTOH if you are disabled, then you're a disgusting, idle pig who's stealing food from the mouths of babes because you DARE to claim your £169 a fortnight.

    My bloody benefits are taxed, so why do Voda get a free pass?

    Didn't take long for the Tories to get back to their old bloody tricks. As for Clegg, he should be ashamed of himself. Left-wing? LEFT-WING? Yeah, cutting off the poor and vulnerable over £250m total while handing SIX BLOODY BILLION to a business man is sooo left-wing. Clegg is a glory-seeking lapdog.

  3. Oh and CONFLICT OF INTERESTS. Need I say more?

  4. I’m really surprised this story has taken so long to be publicised; Private Eye were reporting this ages ago!

  5. It was in this week's Private Eye and my boyfriend told me about it - believe me the second I knew, I was telling anyone who'd listen!

  6. I, like most TAX PAYERS, am sick to death of the inflammatory benefits moans. In this country people who genuinely need support will always, always receive it but I see absolutely no reason why those who don't want to work (boo hoo) should get a penny from me. I'm delighted that I am able to contribute to our welfare system but a minority exploit it and must be stopped. When hard working people take home less per month than those who don't then something IS wrong

  7. As a disabled person I have no objection to changing benefits to people who don't want to work, as long as there is a living wage to support them. In London the GLA set it at £7.85 / hour, and elsewehere in the UK the Joseph Rowntree Foundation say it's £14,400 per year - both of these exceed the minimum wage, so yes I would say people who do not work through choice should go to work, provided the jobs are there, and they pay a living wage so that someone can survive, albeit barely.

    However, you are missing the point that many people are wrongly passed by ATOS as "fit for work" when they are not. My neighbour has chronic lung conditions, she is in agony with every breath and cannot walk 50 metres down the road to my house. Yet somehow she was passed fit for work, and not only is she now struggling on benefits but she is angry that the benefits system see her as a liar, because they say she can really go out to work. And she's not the only person I know in this situation by any means.

    You say that "people who genuinely need support will always, always receive it". That is just not true. In my borough if you can wash yourself (even just a flannel bath) then you do not need care, even if you cannot cook safely.

    Others, as I have demonstrated, are wrongly told they are able to work.

    Sure, I would also rather the frauds (thought to be fewer than 1%) are rooted out, but at the moment so many people who DO deserve help are not getting it that you surely cannot believe that "people who genuinely need support will always, always receive it". It's a fallacy.

  8. Not to mention that even those on benefits who will not be cut off by private assessment companies with conflicts of interest, or the government literally raising the bar to qualify, even those the government considers to be genuinely very sick and disabled... they will have their income cut. Housing Benefit is being cut. Sick people under 35 will be expected to live in shared accommodation, unless they have severe care needs (and believe me, even minor care needs make that absolutely inappropriate... unless you'd like a flatmate you met on Gumtree being the person responsible for picking you up when you fall in the shower, and checking to make sure you're okay to eat on bad days). Social Housing rents, included adapted accommodation, will go up. Public services used by sick and disabled people are being cut all over the place.

    It's not a matter of sorting out those who choose not to work. They are directly punishing those who CANNOT work.

  9. Lisa, thanks very much for your post on the UK Uncut blog. It's more than likely that the flagship store will be targeted again so I would recommend you head there for a little after 11!