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Quote:Tax avoidance protesters UK Uncut to target Boots
Organisation announced plan to set up hospitals on Boots shopfloors after a brainstorming session on Twitter

Jonathan Paige
The Guardian, Wednesday 19 January 2011

[Image: Demonstrators-from-UK-Unc-005.jpg]
Demonstrators from the UK Uncut group outside Topshop, on Oxford Street, last year. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Tax avoidance protesters who have mounted a street-based campaign against major corporate brands have announced the intention to focus on Boots in their next wave of actions following a meeting on Twitter last night.

In protests timed to coincide with the deadline for self-assessment tax returns on 30 January, the UK Uncut website said that it will set up hospitals within Boots's stores to show what the NHS could have done with money it claims the company saved by relocating its headquarters to Switzerland.

The protest group, formed last October, announced the planned action, 'Bringing the Health Service Cuts to Boots', after its first attempt at a target brainstorming session on Twitter, using the hashtag #taxmeet.

UK UnCut claims that since Boots, bought out by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2008, moved its headquarters to Switzerland, the tax it pays has dropped from 33% to 3%, saving £150m a year.

The protest group's site says "This is your opportunity to dress up as doctors, nurses, patients, and of course executives of pharmaceutical companies,". "Medical props are to be encouraged we do want our hospitals fully equipped, after all."

It's clear the finer details are still to be worked out the plan is less than a day old but the action will apparently take place in one of Boots's central London stores whose pharmacy isn't open on a Sunday, so customers aren't obstructed from picking up medication.

"The meeting went just as we'd expected," said Ben Miller, a spokesman for the group.

"We used the session not to choose any concrete targets but more to give our supporters across Britain the chance to give their opinions and network.

"The two things which came out of the meeting were firstly that our supporters would like to draw attention to the cuts the NHS is facing, and secondly that we want to highlight Boots's tax avoidance activities."

Miller added that the group had also suggested some other prospective targets on its website, including Walkers, Cadbury, Johnnie Walker, and Grolsch, who, the group says, escaped being targeted because they don't have any shops to shut down.

UK Uncut has no central control rather, it facilitates autonomous actions through its website and provides a place for supporters throughout Britain to connect with one another, usually using social media like Facebook or Twitter.

The movement is apparently attracting some high profile support Moira Stuart features prominently on its "Deadline for corporate tax dodgers" posters and the internet lets it plan with a speed that protest groups twenty years ago would have thought impossible.