Vodafone closed its Oxford Street store in the face of protesters angry that the firm has been let off a potential £6bn tax bill amid deep welfare cuts.

Vodafone has confirmed the shop will remain shut until it is safe to open it again. However, it disputes not paying a £6bn tax bill.

The firm said that it had been in negotiations with HM Revenue and Customs regarding a tax assessment, but did not know where the £6bn figure had come from. In July Vodafone agreed to pay HMRC £1.2bn to settle a long-running dispute, despite having put aside £2.2bn to cover it.

The HMRC bill related to so-called Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) liabilities, which applies to firms that are controlled by UK residents but which pay tax on their earnings abroad at a lower rate. Protesters demonstrated outside the flagship store with banners branding the company ‘tax dodgers’ and urging the company to ‘Pay your taxes, save our welfare state’.

Protesters used Twitter to upload pictures and spread word of the demonstration. Last month, HM Revenue & Customs allowed the phone giant to avoid paying vast amounts of tax on profits racked up by a subsidiary based in a tax haven.

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