UKuncut occupying Fortum and Mason

Friggin\’ morons. Fortnum\’s is owned by a charity, dingbats.

The Trustees would therefore be looking to make grants
of around £40 million as usual during the next financial
year.
The grants made, as usual, support a wide range of
charitable activities, but the largest overall grants in
terms of value were made in the Art (total £5,680,500)
and Education (total £11,985,166) categories. These
included a lead grant of £3 million to the British
Museum for the new Research Institute for Science
and Conversation and a grant of £1 million to the Royal
Opera House towards core costs. A grant of £1 million
was also made to the Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign
and a further pledge for that sum was made to English
Heritage towards the redevelopment of Stonehenge.
Cancer Research UK received a £500,000 grant for its
Clinical Trials Unit in Manchester and there were eight
other grants for this amount. The remaining grants
were mostly for £250,000 or less, thus enabling the
Trustees to provide core support for as wide a range of
projects as possible.

The money comes from:

At 5 April 2010, the Foundation owned 79.2 percent of
Wittington Investments Limited, a company registered
in England. Wittington Investments is the ultimate
holding company of Associated British Foods plc, which
is listed on the International Stock Exchange, and
Fortnum and Mason plc and Heal’s plc.

Is everyone involved with UKuncut entirely fucking ignorant?

50 thoughts on “UKuncut occupying Fortum and Mason”

  1. “Is everyone involved with UKuncut entirely fucking ignorant?”

    It is led by Polly Toynbee and backed by the tax-dodging Guardian. What do you expect? Incisive analysis?

  2. Of course!

    It’s all about perception.

    Fortnum & Mason = posh = bad = fair game for the sans culottes.

  3. Well, bear in mind that all these organisations- UKUncut, Unite Against Fascism, divers anti-capitalist Greens etc, are just fronts for the same rentamob of trots, anarchists, elderly punks, what have you.

    Which is probably why the State are going so soft on them; because wearing other hats they’re actively inveigled in the State (UAF is “supported” by every major political party for instance, despite it being a blatant SWP front). These are precisely the same people who arrive at, e.g. EDL or BNP marches to have a fight; in which case they are necessary footsoldiers for the State. Of course, even in this guise they are acting on behalf of the State, fighting for high taxes. But at least pretending in this case to be ounter-hegemonic. In their other hats, they’re every party’s Bestest Friends.

  4. Pingback: UK Uncut target charitable tax avoidance « Orange Tory

  5. You know, I could definitely get behind this anarchy business if I was ever stupid enough to return UK side. Next time the rail-workers go on strike nip down & Molotov the station. Trash a few trains. Council workers walk out, Town Hall gets it. Wouldn’t be much public sector left by the time I’d finished.

  6. Oh I clean forgot. The trains are in the private sector still aren’t it? I lose touch. What the hell. Never like the noisy things anyway.

  7. It’s easier to have a safe list.

    They hate Apple, but have iPhone. Hate RBS, Barclays and HSBC yet prob have student accounts with them. Hate Arcadia & now primark, yet likely shop there.

    Is there anyone they don’t have issue with?

  8. Worstofall: The Guardian is owned by a charity but it does not stop you accusing it of tax avoidance.
    Let’s face it on tax you haven’t got a clue.

  9. Me, who is in fact you: It’s not that Tim “accuses” the guardian of everything; it’s that he points out the irony of the guardian using tax avoidance methods. It is, by their standards, hypocritical. But not by Tim’s. Or mine.

  10. “me // Mar 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm
    Worstofall: The Guardian is owned by a charity but it does not stop you accusing it of tax avoidance.
    Let’s face it on tax you haven’t got a clue.”

    Um, no it isn’t, and it hasn’t been owned by a charitable Trust since 2008. The assets of the Scott Trust were transferred to a company (called Scott Trust Ltd) so that the sale of AutoTrader would qualify for the Substantial Shareholdings exemption.

    The previous Scott Trust was not the original trust but was set up in 1948 in place of the original trust so that death duties could be avoided.

    So you are wrong on the facts of the SCott Trust, but right on the facts that even charities can avoid tax, but miss the point entirely with the Garfield Weston Foundation, which is that unlike the Guardian tax dodgers, the GWF is a major donor to good causes, and we are talking £40 million a year not some piffling amount to stay on the right side of charities law. Fortnum & Mason, Heals, ABF and Primark which are all partly owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation are good corporate citizens that pay their taxes. The GWF pays no tax because it gives away its annual profits like a good charity.

  11. OK, so what is it with the left and violence? Will the TUC and the Labour Party explain why their demos end up with this sort of thing? Will they pay for the damage? That is the damage that ordinary working people will have to try to clear up on Monday morning. And, unless the TUC and Labour do the decent thing, will have to pay for through taxes and increased insurance premiums for years to come.

    I think I have had enough of lefties and their vile hypocrisy; claiming to represent hard-working families while encouraging criminals to do this sort of thing. It is not enough to pretend to condemn these actions; you bring this scum out with your inflammatory talk and protests against the results of your own insane generosity with other people’s money.

  12. Alex “The assets of the Scott Trust were transferred to a company (called Scott Trust Ltd) so that the sale of AutoTrader would qualify for the Substantial Shareholdings exemption”

    Fuckin ‘hell you’re as bad at tax as Worstofall.

    See my previous post below

    “As a couple of posters above have said there is no connection between the SSE and the winding up of the Scott Trust. This is because:

    1. the sale of the shares in Trader Media Group (owner of Auto Trader) took place before the trust was wound up

    and

    2. the change from the trust to the Ltd company would, in any case, not affect the SSE position.

    The Wikipedia entry accusing the Guardian of changing the status of the Trust to avail itself of the SSE is, therefore, a load of crap.

    As I have posted before having a share disposal covered by SSE is not avoidance. No claim involved as (if the relevant conditions are met) SSE (for obvious reasons) is mandatory.”

  13. hopes the protesters get turned into low-fat economy sausages, as they would in any Stalinist/Maoist democracy

  14. My favourite ukuncut classic so far is Tatchell claiming that one of the ways we can be saved is by imposing £100 billion of cuts on the defence budget.

    That’s the budget that is £48 billion.

  15. Regardless of whether or not UKuncut are “entirely fucking ignorant” please do not confuse the actions of this peaceful protest group with those of Black Bloc.

    Black Bloc are a similar group, in that they are largely without any central organisation.
    In fact, even calling either of these a group or organisation is erroneous.

    The difference between UKuncut and Black Bloc is that UKuncut protesters stage peaceful sit-ins, turn banks into creches and libraries and target tax avoiding big businesses in protest at the public service cuts now being imposed on the UK by the ConDems. Cuts which are entirely unnecessary as there are plenty of alternatives on offer.

    If this blog post is entirely correct and it’s author is not a “friggin’ moron” then today’s targeting of F&M, which was based on suggestions of where to protest by UKuncut supporters, was wrong. But UKuncut, who were inside the store have done no damage. As one of the occupiers tweeted earlier “We’re just sitting in a shop”.

  16. “turn banks into creches and libraries ”

    How long do you get to borrow the book before the library gets turned back into a bank?

    “Cuts which are entirely unnecessary as there are plenty of alternatives on offer.”

    Which are? Tax the bejesus out of us, borrow shitloads from our kids. And so wreck the finances of this country. All so we can ‘invest’ in outreach coordination, diversity assessment and garbage third-rate degrees.

    I have a radical proposal for the cuts: if you want these ‘services’ so much then why not simply pay for them yourself?

  17. “But UKuncut, who were inside the store have done no damage.”

    Since all the shoppers fled the place, your idea of “no damage” and that of F&M might differ rather. Perhaps you’d like to chip in for their lost profits thanks to your zero-damage protest?

  18. I have a mental image of Sally Bercow marching through Parliament Square waving a placard that reads ‘2 Fast 2 Deep’.

    My wife’s been arguing for the opposite ever since we’ve been married. Does this make her a Tory?

  19. the actions of this peaceful protest group

    There’s nothing peaceful about invading and commandeering other peoples’ property. If you don’t like the current tax code, petition the government to change it. Attacking other private citizens, however “peacefully” by your own definition, is not protest. It is thuggery.

    In a liberal democracy, you leave other people alone, even if you disapprove of them. How would you feel about people “peacefully” invading and intimidating a gay bar, because they just don’t like how gays behave? That wouldn’t be cricket would it?

    Where the hell do you people think you get carte blanche to stamp all over your fellow citizens’ rights behind a figleaf of “protest”? You’re just thugs.

  20. “Cuts which are entirely unnecessary as there are plenty of alternatives on offer.”

    Yes, lots of people said that when interviewed by reporters.

    Strangely, they never actually offered any. Would you like to have a go?

  21. All the alternatives were pretty well explored in Eastern Europe last century. They didn’t work out too well, though they did lead to interesting approaches to dealing with narcissistic idiots like ukuncut.

    Actually, as the regimes concerned eventually collapsed under the weight of their own enormous public sectors, sovereign debts and lack of incentives to productivity, perhaps they weren’t alternatives at all. Can someone else have a go at answering JuliaM’s question?

  22. Just to play devil’s advocate, I believe one of the alternatives envisaged by a great many of those out yesterday is scrapping the trident, introducing a super-tax on bankers’ bonuses, perhaps increasing income tax for additional/higher rate payers and withdrawing immediately from Afghanistan. Not sure how much that would save.

    Another one of the alternatives seems to be for the government to ‘invest’ by expanding(?) the public sector even further, which will lead to an economic recovery generating enough tax receipts to reduce the deficit?

    Not saying I agree with either, but I think that’s the gist of it.

  23. ‘Members of one of Britain’s richest families have been told they breached charity law over donations of almost £1 million to the Conservative Party. The Weston family controls a string of businesses, from Primark to Fortnum & Mason, through a charitable trust.

    ‘The Charity Commission has found that some of the family members who run the Garfield Weston Foundation allowed an investment company it controlled to make political donations between 1993 and 2007. Wittington Investments Ltd gave £100,000 to the Conservative Party each year from 1993 to 1999, except in 1995 when it donated £200,000. The payments stopped when a new law required shareholders to give approval for political donations, but it made a further £100,000 donation in 2004. Between 2000 and 2007 Wittington donated £70,000 to the Centre for Policy Studies, a think-tank with close links to the Conservative Party. It also gave £305,000 to the anti-EU European Foundation and £45,000 to the anti-single currency Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign.

    ‘All the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation are members of the family and four have also been directors of Wittington Investments during the whole period that the political donations were made. The Commission has ruled that the four Weston family directors of Wittington breached their legal duty as trustees of the charity by “failing to give proper consideration” to whether the company should be allowed to make political donations to the Conservative Party.’

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/consumer_goods/article7094924.ece

  24. “me”, a classic case of a straw man. You concentrate on the facts about the disposal of AutoTrader and the formation of the Charity. But you don’t say a word about having been found to be wrong in stating that the Guardian is owned by a charity – when it is not. In fact your post to Alex admits that the Guardian isn’t owned by a charity. Shooting yourself in the foot is painful.

  25. @Herbert. you seemed to miss a bit off the end of the article, probably a mistake on your part.

    “The regulator said it was not ordering the trustees to repay the donations because it had not established that they committed the breaches knowingly or recklessly.

    Wittington is seeking legal advice on whether the donations made between 2000 and 2007 should be reimbursed. An individual has reimbursed the 2004 donation to the Conservatives.

    The Foundation said that “at no point did the trustees consider these as effectively donations by the charity itself. The Charity Commission acknowledges that the trustees acted in good faith in respect of the donations.”

  26. Can’t speak for Worstall, but I am better than you.

    “1. the sale of the shares in Trader Media Group (owner of Auto Trader) took place before the trust was wound up”

    The winding up of the trust is irrelevant. It is where the shares were sold from that counts.

    2. the change from the trust to the Ltd company would, in any case, not affect the SSE position.”

    Go and read Sched 7AC TCGA 1992 and
    s170(9) TCGA 1992.

    The SSE only works if made from a company.

  27. Alex: Yes a company disposed of the shares in Trader Media Group. So it was entitled to the SSE. Are you saying that because the shares in (say) BT are owned by individuals and institutions (some of which may be charities) that a disposal by BT of shares in a trading company would not qualify for the SSE?

    I’m glad you agree with me that the winding up of the trust had no effect on the tax position. This was the whole point of my original posting. It had been argued by TW and his followers that the winding up of the trust was done to avoid tax. Clearly you accept that this was not the case (although it seems to contradict your earlier posting).

    I have read Sch 7AC and S170(9) TCGA 1992, as Lady Counterblast would have said “many times. Many, many, many times”

    Tim adds: No, not quite. I’ve wondered whether that was true, I’ve even written to Rusbridger to ask him. He said that he would find out….but hasn’t come back to me as yet.

    From what others have said I’m not sure if I can see how the change would have made any difference to SSE. There are others (Guido for example) who state flat out that the change to Ltd was driven by the SSE exemption. Me? I don’t know, and on the basis of what information I have think it unlikely.

    The reason for this clarification? I’ve no problem with being attacked, argued with or even insulted for the views I actually hold: but prefer not to have people claiming that I have views that I don’t hold.

  28. “Is everyone involved with UKuncut entirely fucking ignorant?”

    It is far worse. It is wilful ignorance. They know better, but pretend they don’t.

    Of course, the problem for the Guardian is that everyone knows where their building is. If they do not stop providing succour for UK Uncut it is possible that someone might decide to do a UK Uncut style operation on the Guardian.

    I am NOT suggesting this is a good idea, merely pointing out that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  29. @me: is it possible, that while you are correct, a wholly owned limited company qualifies for SSE, whoever the owner is, that there was some other tax reason to dissolve the original trust and create a limited company?

    Is it not possible (though the only experience I have is via being a Trustee of a Discretionary Trust) that if the money from the sale of the Autotrader stake was brought into a Trust that money would then become taxable again? Hence the requirement to dissolve the Trust AFTER the sale of the stake, but before any money was taken out of the limited company.

    I don’t know. But it seems very suspicious for there to be such major changes to the corporate structure, right at the time there was a large sum of money floating around that had not been taxed.

    Edit: in fact I recall that around that time there were changes to Discretionary Trusts that basically made any new money put in it subject to a charge, of around 20% (if memory serves) of the value put in the Trust. So if they wanted to give the old Scott Trust some of the proceeds of the Autotrader sale, they would have had to pay the 20% charge. By dissolving the trust and creating the new limited company, they would avoid that entirely.

  30. Bit of a fail, really. Jolly good work by Fortnum & Mason – what a lovely company and did you see their pick & mix section? Seemed a bit bon-bontastic but they probably have decent pear drops & sherbert lemons. Just a random flashmob or ignorant tossers. If it was me – i’d target NPower just out of principle.

  31. @Tim: No-one from the Guardian is going to acknowledge that the dissolution of the trust was to avoid tax, surely?

    Nobody in their right mind admits publicly to avoiding tax in as many words. The favoured phrase is tax planning. For while avoiding tax is entirely legal (and desirable to everybody in their right mind), a transaction that is deemed undertaken to avoid tax without another commercial purpose is liable to be set aside, is it not? HMRC in essence takes the same attitude as UKuncut, but is constrained by some law and much policy. (The policy of increasing its powers over the long term.)

  32. As with others the Fortnum protest was simply a PR own goal for UK uncut. Are charities and those picking up the pieces after the cuts bite hard now on the UK uncut radar?

    The bit that really puzzles me, and *should* worry any of ukuncut supporters, is the complete lack either before, during, or after (we’re over 24 hours now) of any condemning of violent trouble makers. No dont bother turning up, help the police deal with them, or anything to show they dont support violent protests.

    Infact one tweet I read tonight from Aaron Peters suggests he sees no issue with the way the protest escalated.

    For just one day couldnt UK Uncut simply march and show solidarity with the cuts movement rather than trying to undo work done by the unions and its members to highlight anti-cuts movements and massive public service cuts and job losses?

    Oh no, invading stores is much more productive to stopping your library getting shut, or your gran having her care home shut down and then her meals on wheels removed. Her winter fuel payments stopped….

    Then we have the propaganda trouble makers taking to twitter and tweeting any old rubbish to fuel hatred. Crap about Sky paying protesters to be violent, police being “Agent provocateur’s” and making them do it, to complete nonsense about people being released and their cash and phones being confiscated/not returned.

    WHEN the Sky nonesense is proved crap, and Sky have pursued those for the liable, the movement will have lost all credability.

    The Agent provocateur comments are laughable. So how about I stab someone to death, then claim whoever left the knife in the kitchen drawer made me do it by leaving it there? Those committing the acts yesterday did so THEMSELVES.

    The public will be further alienated from UK Uncut, and eventually any meaningful resistance to the cuts will have been destroyed by a group of kids thinking this is what protesting is about.

  33. “The public will be further alienated from UK Uncut, and eventually any meaningful resistance to the cuts will have been destroyed by a group of kids thinking this is what protesting is about.”

    I think recent history over and over again proves to us that this is what leftist protesting is about. After all, the frequency of street war during leftist protesting is not all that low…

  34. When labour were in power, the record for the number of people protesting against government policy was broken several times.

    A million protesters took to the streets for the countryside alliance march, three times as many people as those who protested on Saturday.

    A little while after this, about 1.2 million protested the imminent Iraq invasion.

    Interestingly, all these protests were entirely peaceful.

    The labour government completely ignored both protests, so they cannot complain if the current coalition ignores the tax protests now, after all they ignored protests that where 3 times the size.

  35. Let me work this out –

    “Wittington Investments Limited, a company registered in England”

    Sounds like a company to me. Just because that company is owned by a charity doesn’t mean that it itself is a charity. It’s clearly a UK registered business that should be paying tax as a UK registered business (whether it is or not is another question).

    Surely the question is whether the charity should be holding investments in companies that don’t pay their taxes? Surely a charity should invest ethically?

  36. What a nice article accompanied by nice non-partisan comments. All lovely and ‘us vs them’. UK Uncut may be muppets and may have scored an own goal. But really, what harm have they done? They may eat battery chicken while opposing fox hunting, but can you not see that there may be a point behind some of this stuff?

    The Tories are systematically misrepresenting and undermining our social systems (I think they simply do not understand the reality). Labour are less systematically putting their heads in the sand. Could we not find a middle ground?

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