For the first time in a decade, I find myself sitting in an office writing about tax rather than camped in a muddy field in Somerset getting inebriated on strawberry cider. Am I bitter I’m not at Glastonbury? Well, yes. I can’t say I’m too sad to be missing tonight’s headliners U2, however. But while I’m sitting in my office, writing with a little more bitterness than usual about tax, I’m glad to see someone’s finally taking Bono King of Hypocritics to task over his tax avoidance.
This is a press release I received from Art Uncut on their planned protests at U2′s performance tonight:
Art Uncut, a group of artists and musicians inspired by anti-austerity action group UK Uncut, is promising a spectacular visual display during U2′s headline set at the Glastonbury Festival on Friday night to highlight the band’s multi-million euro tax dodge.
Charlie Dewar of Art Uncut said: “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.”
Bono is well known for his anti-poverty campaigning but Art Uncut is accusing him of hypocrisy.
“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.”
The last year has seen a number of high profile companies and individuals targeted by anti-austerity activists over their tax affairs, including Vodafone, Barclays and Sir Philip Green. Protesters have have aimed to present clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion as an alternative to the public sector cuts being pushed through by European governments.