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Last post by king mob

Glastonbury Forum : News Items

  Posted By king mob - 04-June-2011 - 12:55pm - 0 comments - Edit

First it was Vodafone stores, then Philip Green's Topshop, Boots and grocers to the Queen Fortnum & Mason. Now direct action tax protesters are turning their sights on the Glastonbury festival, promising to use U2's headline performance to throw a spotlight on the group's convoluted tax affairs.

Campaigners have promised to stop short of disrupting the set, but are determined to make their protest highly visible. Plans are afoot for a giant inflatable banner with the slogan "Bono Pay Up", spelled out in lights.

"Bono claims to care about the developing world, but U2 greedily indulges in the very kind of tax avoidance which is crippling the poor nations of this world," said a spokesman for Art Uncut, a group with strong links to UK Uncut.

Campaigners also want to draw attention the impact of tax avoidance on Ireland's parlous public finances. "We will be showing the very real impact of U2's tax avoidance on hospitals and schools in Ireland. Anyone watching will be very much aware that Bono needs to pay up."

The band sparked a wave of criticism in 2006 by shifting parts of its business affairs from Ireland to the Netherlands in response to a cap on generous tax breaks for artists in the republic.

Previously, worldwide royalties earned from works of art including rock CDs could be declared tax free as part of a popular initiative to help struggling artists and reflect Ireland's reputation as a cultural hub. However the biggest beneficiaries were the likes of U2 rather than artists on the breadline.

Dr Sheila Killian, of the University of Limerick, said the introduction of a cap initially set at 250,000 (222,500) a year was still generous and left the tax affairs of most working artists unaffected. She said: "Bono's attitude to what tax is all about is ill thought out. Tax is about citizenship."

Another campaigner, Richard Murphy, said: "If Bono thinks he is just like any other Irishman, he should pay his taxes like everyone else. That is the only way for Ireland to break out of the mess it is in."

Protesters at Glastonbury are planning to float an over-sized bundle of fake cash from one part of the crowd, under an Irish tricolour, to another section of the audience under a Dutch flag.

A spokesperson for U2, who are in Vancouver, was unavailable for comment. Their manager, Paul McGuinness, has previously insisted: "U2 is a global business and pays taxes globally At least 95% of U2's business takes place outside of Ireland and as a result the band pays many different kinds of taxes all over the world."

Sources close to the band said Bono and others live in Ireland, are employers there, and are involved in philanthropic activities.

A spokesperson for One, the anti-poverty campaign group co-founded by Bono, said: "U2's business arrangements have nothing to do with illegal tax evasion and transfer mispricing in developing countries, critical issues which Bono and One campaign on.

"One is currently lobbying for radical changes in the law that would require extractive industry corporations to report payments to governments, to ensure these substantial resources contribute to the domestic tax base instead of being stashed or siphoned off."

The organisers of Glastonbury festival declined to comment.


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