Nadia, Jonny & Cameron: A group of students from the UCL Occupation staged a flashmob outside Topshop’s flagship store on Oxford Street today in protest at the firm’s tax avoidance. The occupants, joined by fellow students and concerned citizens, tied together with orange rope to symbolise the bondage of student debt, spoke to the public about the impact of tax avoidance on public spending.
The protest was met with interest by passersby, and the assembled press, which included several major broadcasters. Spirited chants included “Philip Green’s taxation, could help pay for education!”, “If you want an education, clap your hands! If you want an education clap your hands!” and the instant classic, “Nick Clegg, shame on you, shame on you for turning blue!”.
Many joined in the protest by wearing orange fabric (which was handed out as a show of solidarity) and sitting down on the pavement in front of the main entrance to the store. Philip Green, the billionaire owner of the chain, is a government advisor on state spending. Despite this, he is estimated to have avoided hundreds of millions in tax. It is estimated that £120 billion is owed to the public in outstanding debts to HMRC by individual and corporate tax avoiders, such as Topshop and Vodafone. One staff member from Topshop strongly expressed his support, reporting the fact that despite a 19% increase in profits, employees are to receive only a £5 bonus.
You can check out some more pics here.
All in all a great day!
“You want to bring the market into education, we’ll bring education into the market!”