U2 face a tax protest when they headline the Glastonbury festival for the first time – from an arts group.
The band’s refusal to base all their tax affairs in Ireland is behind the planned action by the lobby group Art Uncut.
The Irish Times reports that members of the group plan to stage a ‘highly visible’ protest from the centre of the audience to draw attention to what they claim is the band’s tax avoidance in Ireland.
“Our actions won’t be violent or disruptive, we will be holding up a large, illuminated ‘Bono Pay Up’ sign during the band’s set,” explained a spokesman for the lobby group.
Art Uncut also plan to float an oversized bundle of fake cash across the crowd - from an Irish Tricolour on one side to a Dutch flag on the other.
U2 moved part of their business empire to Holland in 2006 after the Irish government capped the amount of money artists could earn tax free.
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The Art Uncut group describe themselves as ‘Artists and Musicians Against The Cuts’ who are opposed to the current round of public expenditure cuts and campaign against those who they claim are ‘tax dodging – whether legal or not’.
UK based, they have recently staged protests against a number of high profile corporations in Britain.
According to the Times, they feel Bono’s role as a campaigner on behalf of the third world doesn’t tally with his failure to pay all his taxes in Ireland.
The singer discussed the issue in an interview with the Irish Times two years ago. He said at the time: “I am stung and hurt by criticism of the band’s tax arrangements by some politicians and development groups.
“The thing that stung was the accusation of hypocrisy for my work as an activist.”
A spokeswoman for U2 has reacted to the story and said again that the band are totally tax compliant under Irish law.
Manager Paul McGuinness said previously: “U2 is a global business and pays taxes globally. At least 95 per cent of U2’s business takes place outside of Ireland and as a result the band pays many different kinds of taxes all over the world.”