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Last Wednesday UK Uncut Legal action won the right to challenge the legality of the ‘sweetheart’ deal between HMRC and Goldman Sachs, which saw the banking giant avoid paying £20 million in tax. The judge agreed that UK Uncut had ‘an arguable case’ and that it was in the public interest for the deal to be judicially reviewed.
This is an important victory for all those campaigning against the systemic nature of corporate tax-avoidance. An estimated $11 trillion is stashed away in tax havens by the world’s richest (more like the 0.001 per cent than the 1 per cent) to avoid paying tax to national governments. Indeed the Goldman Sachs tax deal is a tiny drop in the ocean of corporate tax avoidance, as a new film produced by UK Uncut’s Daniel Garvin about the impact of the cuts and the alternative shows.
The Missing Billions is a 24-minute documentary interposing hard-hitting facts and figures of tax evasion and the UK coalition government’s cuts with narratives from those affected – from a disabled campaigner describing the devastating reality of cuts for the most vulnerable to those fighting to save public services in their communities. It underlines the unpalatable reality of living in a society governed by a political elite that spends £850 billion bailing out the banks and then forces the public to pay for it.
But it is not all doom and gloom. The Missing Billions highlights both the very real alternative and the struggle that is being fought against the cuts. It demonstrates how, if there was the will from the political elite, there is certainly a way to avoid cuts to public services. In the film John Christensen, of the Tax Justice Network, explains how tax havens represent a fundamental contradiction of globalised capitalism – whilst corporations and the finance industry operate in a deregulated global economy, tax systems are enforced nationally. Thus, multinational companies gain ever increasing profits whilst paying ever diminishing tax bills. In just 24 minutes this film outlines how rather than imposing austerity governments could crack down on tax avoidance and evasion.
The outcome of UK Uncut’s legal case against the £20 million tax avoidance of Goldman Sachs will set a precedent for future legal action against tax evasion. To understand the significance of this case everyone should watch this brilliant new film.
You can watch The Missing Billions here http://vimeo.com/44017057
Visit www.ukuncutlegalaction.org.uk to read more about the campaign, donate to support their legal costs or to order hard copy DVDs of the film.
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The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going
A very social economist
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Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
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Beware the automated landlord
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Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton
Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi
A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain
Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank
Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded
West Papua’s silent genocide
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Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
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Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
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Imagining a future free of oppression
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Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
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Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
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A musical fightback against school arts cuts
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Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
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Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi
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Adam Peggs on why the left has more fun
Essay: After neoliberalism, what next?
There are economically-viable, socially-desirable alternatives to the failed neoliberal economic model, writes Jayati Ghosh
With the new nuclear ban treaty, it’s time to scrap Trident – and spend the money on our NHS
As a doctor, I want to see money spent on healthcare not warfare, writes David McCoy - Britain should join the growing international movement for disarmament