Action Report from Occupy London/ UK Uncut (Tuesday 25th October)
Campers at Occupy London and activists from direct action group UK Uncut joined forces to descend upon the head office of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on Monday afternoon to demand the resignation of HMRC boss Dave Hartnett.
Protesters were outraged at Hartnett’s role in approving secret sweetheart deals to let mega-rich corporations off billions in tax. They were prevented from reaching Hartnett’s office by a heavy police presence. Minor scuffles ensued as police lined the main entrance to the building. The protest continued outside the offices with chants of “Hey Ho Hartnett has got to go!.” Later, protestors attempted to gain access to the offices by a side entrance but were again blockaded by police.
Business Secretary Vince Cable happened to walk past the protest. He was chased to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with protesters demanding the sacking of Hartnett.
Goldman Sachs was recently let off paying £10m to HRMC while Hartnett allowed Vodafone to dodge £6bn in tax late last year. Hartnett is Whitehall’s most “wined and dined’ cicil servant, meeting with corporations 107 times last year.
Occupy London supporter Kyshia Davey said: “HMRC has just announced it will be going after 146,000 pensioners to demand hundreds of pounds from them following a tax code cock-up. Meanwhile, its boss is striking secret deals with opulent corporations to let them off billions of pounds in tax. Hartnett is fatally undermining public confidence in the UK’s tax system at a time of austerity and he must resign immediately.”