Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named

Ed Balls called the current climate of government cuts "rock and roll" time for tax avoiders, so it's fitting that U2 are performing at Glastonbury this week.

U2 on South Park

Ed Balls called the current climate of government cuts “rock and roll” time for tax avoiders, so it’s fitting that U2 are performing at Glastonbury this week.

Some might question their rock and roll credentials, but few dispute that in the name of lowering their tax bill, this band might well climb the highest mountain and run through fields (not a massively onerous task but apparently a test of devotion for them) to be where the money is.

Now the band face potential humiliation as Art Uncut, a group of artists and musicians inspired by the anti-austerity, direct action group UK Uncut, have promised to protest against U2’s tax avoidance at their performance tonight on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage.

Will Claymore, a spokesperson for Art Uncut, who is at the festival preparing for the protest, told Left Foot Forward:

“It’s kind of more ambitious than we originally thought. I can’t give away too many details but we are really pleased with how it’s going so far.

“There is no intention to disrupt anyone’s enjoyment, we will be pulling off a visual spectacle that may rival what U2 are doing on stage.”

Mr Claymore said his group had started a “significant buzz” with their pre-protest publicity at the site and that there was an “interesting vibe this year…there is room for Glastonbury to be more political”, facilitated by this year’s Tripod Stage area, where he said there was a gathering of many direct action groups.

The U2 tax story started back in 2006 when the band sparked criticism 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”.

The line of defence previously given by U2 spokesperson Paul McGuinness is that:

“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.”

However Irish aid groups have accused the group of “robbing the world’s poor”. The Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI), a coalition of 70 organisations including Oxfam and Concern Worldwide, condemned what they called U2’s “tax evasion” and alleged tax shelter in the Netherlands.

Charlie Dewar of Art Uncut told Left Foot Forward:

“U2’s multi-million euro tax dodge is depriving the Irish people at a time when they desperately need income to offset the Irish government’s savage austerity programme. Tax nestling in the band’s bank account should be helping to keep open the hospitals, schools and libraries that are closing all over Ireland.

“There is also a whiff of hypocrisy here with Bono being so well-known for his anti-poverty campaigning, since each year developing countries lose more in tax avoidance by multi-national companies and rich individuals than they receive in aid.”

Many will wish Art Uncut every success and hope that U2 are shamed into paying their fair amount of tax, to help the people who made their success possible. But when our elected officials feel confident enough to brazenly avoid tax while telling us ‘we are all in this together’ it’s hard to have much hope.

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25 Responses to “Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named”

  1. DrKMJ

    RT @leftfootfwd: Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981 #NewsClub

  2. donmackeen

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981

  3. Double.Karma

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981

  4. Chris

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981

  5. Jeni Acelas

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981

  6. Katie

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981

  7. economicsnz

    RT @ModdityDodds @leftfootfwd: Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981

  8. Susan Nash

    Wish I was at Glasto to see UK Uncut action against tax avoiding U2; http://bit.ly/m6Kx29

  9. Jo Johnson

    Wish I was at Glasto to see UK Uncut action against tax avoiding U2; http://bit.ly/m6Kx29

  10. Robert

    So let see! if I was lets say winning ten million on the lottery and lets Say if I took that money into I do not know lets just say Sweden which was offering lower tax and better profits on my money I would not do it because I’m British. I notice most of the F1 Racing driver have their money in Monaco and why not, it’s up to these countries to get in line start offering better deals, as for Charities most of the ones I know are on the make anyway.

  11. The Wishing Well

    RT@susan_nash2011Wish I was at Glasto to see UK Uncut action against tax avoiding U2; http://bit.ly/m6Kx29

  12. Selohesra

    Charities should be funded from voluntary donations and not tax payers money otherwise they simply become quangos. I’m sure the members of U2 do their bit of charitable giving and it is probably spent more wisely than if same funds were channelled through government bureaucracy

  13. Kevin

    I don’t support tax dodging in the slightest, and U2 need to move their stuff back, but the idea that people should disrupt the hundreds of thousands of fans watching either in Glastonbury or at home and try and ruin a heavily anticipated concert is pathetic

  14. Cos Montagu

    As Bill Bailey rightly pointed out at a show I went to, anyone who says something along the lines of:

    “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.”

    …..loses their right to be called ‘The Edge’! That’s not Rock N’ Roll man, its just selfish greed. Go Art Uncut, wish I could be there too… not just for the protests I will admit. Don’t forget to go see B.B.King, he has some rather appropriate lyrics for the U2 campaign:

    “Yes, you thought
    You had a good thing, baby
    You could do what you wanted to do
    Yes, but you’d better
    Find you another thing, baby
    Because this thing
    Is cutting out on you”

    (From ‘Go Underground’)

  15. Noxi

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981 RT @leftfootfwd:

  16. Jacqueline jordan

    Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named: http://bit.ly/m6Kx29 writes @dbr1981 RT @leftfootfwd:

  17. Bukowski Bitch

    Bono et al depriving Irish citizens in their time of need by dodgingtheir taxes http://t.co/lLi2YnG support @artuncut that will make #Glasto

  18. Tom Halpin

    If Bono wasn’t such a bleeding heart pain in the ass I might have some sympathy

  19. Kevin

    It is also worth mentioning that it’s ‘part of the band’s business’ which is abroad, and that every single member still lives in and pays full taxes to Ireland, as does most of the band business. As tax dodging goes, it’s not exactly Ashcroft.

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Cos Montagu – Perhaps Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of “Taxman” may be more appropriate in a blues / rock kind of thing for U2.

    (Still prefer BB’s playing though. Once had a recording of his doing Outside Help where the intro was just him unaccompanied, really jazzy and the same length as the song – can’t find it anywhere!)

    My problem with U2, Sting and all that bunch is when they preach about Climate Change and take private jets all over the planet…

  21. Matt Kimberley

    @mistersolo Sounds great, wish I could make it. Did you see this? http://t.co/P0fsvQp

  22. Look Left – Miliband flexes his authority while Cameron U-turns. Again | Left Foot Forward

    […] Dominic Browne wrote on Left Foot Forward today: “The U2 tax story started back in 2006 when the band sparked […]

  23. Dave Citizen

    I have a simple remdy – rebalance things so that no one gets that rich in the first place. Then they wouldn’t spin off into lala land and think they’ve earned it so why shouldn’t they keep it and other such fantasies.

    If having a wacking great house with a pool and say 1 million quid in the bank isn’t enough to inspire a rock band to rock then I don’t know what the world’s come to!

  24. 2u

    u2 are pants

  25. Protesters demand resignation of HMRC boss for colluding with tax avoiders | Left Foot Forward

    […] Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named – Dominic Browne, June 24th […]

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