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HSBC closes branches because of UK Uncut protests

A protester re-brands a HSBC branch in London Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Four HSBC branches in Glasgow, Sheffield, Brixton and Regents Street in London were closed temporarily while protesters from UK Uncut demonstrated outside.

Campaigners gathered outside 13 HSBC branches across the UK and attempted to turn them into temporary food banks to protest against cuts to welfare.

The group said that "tax dodging" by HSBC made the cuts worse because big businesses were "not paying their share".

A spokesperson for HSBC said: "HSBC takes tax transparency very seriously."

"Globally, HSBC paid £6.1 billion in tax last year, up from £5.2 billion in 2011, and just in the UK the bank paid a total of £1.1 billion in taxes."

UK Uncut protesters demonstrate outside a branch of the HSBC Bank in London's Regent Street. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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Law must change to fight tax avoidance, UK Uncut says

In response to the Government's proposals announced today, a spokesperson for protest group UK Uncut told ITV News that clamping down on the latest tax avoidance schemes requires a change in law.

It's very difficult to clamp down on tax avoidance when the current laws can be interpreted in different ways.

More needs to be done to address the legality of aggressive tax avoidance, to decide what it actually means.

Without readdressing that it's difficult to know what power the HMRC can actually exert.

– UK Uncut

UK Uncut take HMRC to court

UK Uncut are reported to have earned the money to take legal action against HMRC through crowd sourcing Credit: Twitter: @ukuncutlegal

Campaigners from anti-anti cuts group UK Uncut are seeking permission to launch a High Court challenge against HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over an alleged "sweetheart" tax deal with multinational banking giant Goldman Sachs.

The group want the court to rule that an agreement allowing Goldman Sachs to skip a multi-million pound interest bill on unpaid tax on bonuses was unlawful, and they want the £20 million allegedly involved to be returned to the public purse.

The are asking for permission to take their case to a full judicial hearing.