PRESS RELEASE: UK Uncut Legal Action issue legal proceedings against HMRC

  • UK Uncut Legal Action will issue legal proceedings against HMRC with a Photo Op at 15:30pm today. 
  • Campaign group goes for a full quashing of the tax agreement 
  • Support for the case voiced by leading Trade Unions, NGOs and MPs
  • £14,000 has been raised for the case in two weeks showing huge level of public support.
Adding to the parliamentary pressure on HMRC this week from the Public Accounts Committee, UK Uncut Legal Action, an NGO inspired by the anti-cuts direct action group UK Uncut will issue proceedings in the High Court today against HMRC, over the Goldman Sachs tax deal.
The campaigning group made the decision to go forward with the case after receiving what they term a ‘dismissive’ response from HMRC to letters from their lawyers demanding the alleged sweetheart deal agreed between David Hartnett and Goldman Sachs is quashed.

UK Uncut Legal Action have welcomed scrutiny into tax deals from both the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee reports but claim the legal action they are taking is the only mechanism that can result in a declaration that the Goldman Sachs tax deal was unlawful, as well as returning £20 million to the public purse.

Leigh Day & Co who are acting for UK Uncut Legal Action, confirmed in a letter sent in October that if the settlement reached between HMRC and Goldman Sachs, allegedly allowing the company off £20million worth of tax owed, was not reversed it would issue these proceedings which seek specific disclosure for all internal documents regarding the process by which agreement was reached.

Richard Stein from Leigh Day & Co said: “We wrote to the HMRC in October asking them to quash the deal and reclaim the millions unpaid in taxes from one of the world’s richest banks but received no response. We chased again in November and they claimed they needed more time.

“They have now replied with what we feel is an extremely weak argument as to why this decision cannot be reversed, therefore, we will now progress this legal action and issue proceedings in the High Court.”

UK Uncut Legal Action has also launched a public fundraising appeal, which has raised nearly £14,000 in two weeks with over two thousand people making small donations. This represents what the campaign group is calling a ’people’s court case’ against HMRC.

Support for this legal action has also been voiced by leading anti-poverty NGOs, MPs and Unions, such as the National Union of Teachers, Unite, PCS, GMB, Compass, and the Tax Justice Network, who have signed onto a UK Uncut Legal Action statement which says: “It is undeniably in the public interest that this important case should go through the UK courts in order to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness.”

Tim Street, director of UK Uncut Legal Action said:

“There is overwhelming public support from Unions, NGOs, MPs and thousands of ordinary people who want to see this dodgy tax deal challenged in the courts. It shows the deep level of outrage that people feel over state sanctioned tax dodging by big business, while government destroys public services that ordinary people rely on, saying that there is no money.

He continued, “It shows that the government is making a political choice to turn a blind eye to tax dodging- which loses the public purse £25bn billion a year. The government is slashing public services and the support for the poorest instead of clamping down on rich tax dodgers. This cannot be allowed to continue. Dave Hartnett’s retirement is welcome news for campaigners but HMRC needs a massive culture change to stop special treatment for corporations and secret unlawful handshake deals”
Photo Op: 1530pm, HMRC, Horse Guards Parade
Lawyers and campaigners will hand the legal documents to HMRC.
ENDS
For more information, please call 07425 261 383 or 07591 992 825
The statement of support for the case is available for journalists, please contact us by email or phone to receive a copy. The Guardian Newspaper published a copy in their letter page today.

15 Responses

  1. violet greaves says:

    excellent interview on radio 4 this morning. margaret hodge and tim street – apparently on the same side!!

  2. @stevestonio says:

    Yes! I love you guys, I am going to love watching this unfold. Let’s hope PayPal don’t block the transactions LOL!!!

  3. Jo Taylor says:

    Well done to all involved and thank you for doing this on my behalf.

  4. a love says:

    Well done – its about time HMRC and elected officials get a taste of real democracy and we put an end to the snake oil business of the city.

  5. James Whale says:

    Amazing! Great work guys – so proud of you and with you all the way in the coming fight.

  6. Marcus says:

    A bold, imaginative and thoroughly noble course of action, illustrative of the commonsense of common folk, who seem to have an uncommon ability to behave with better judgement than those in Parliament and elsewhere whose incompetence has again been brought into question.

    UK Uncut and Occupy are leading the country in attempting to right the wrongs in our soicety. I am proud to support these two vigorous and exemplary movements.

    http://marcusmoore.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/occupying-the-mind-9/

  7. Scott Lowe says:

    Please could you offer an alternative donation method to Paypal

  8. Chris Walker says:

    Dear Sir/ Madam,
    I am writing to you in regard of Statement Number 17 with a Statement Date of 07 December 2011 addressed to myself. In this statement an overdue amount of £1.20 is indicated. You state that you may add this to my next statement. I wonder, like Goldman Sachs and Vodaphone, if I could have lunch with the outgoing head of HMRC, Dave Hartnett, and come to some cosy arrangement regarding this overdue amount. I know at least £10 million in interest for tax owed was written off in the case of Goldman Sachs and that approximately £25 billion is owed by “Big Business”. I wonder if (as we are “All In This Together”) I could be accommodated similarly and have my £1.20 written off. I look forward to lunch.

    Yours in anticipation, Chris Walker.

  9. Robin Gitte says:

    Imaginative and inspirational. Well done UK Uncut.

    Heroic.

  10. Steve Beaumont says:

    Great effort and I 100% support it. Could we please have a different donation method than PayPal? After their behaviour over Wiki I closed the account and would rather not give them another bean.

    Many thanks

    • UK Uncut Legal Action says:

      You don;t have to donate through Paypal, you can also doa bank transfer – these are our bank details:
      UK Uncut Legal Action
      SC: 089299
      AN: 65512708

      And we really appreciate everyone’s kind words and donations – thanks!
      UK Uncut Legal Action team

  11. Peter Howells says:

    Well done to you and Private Eye. Shows how crap the rest of the press is in this country.

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