March 12, 2014 11:20
One Direction urge fans to lobby George Osborne about corporate tax avoidance
The boyband call on followers to campaign to keep the UK's current international aid budget
The band are taking part in the Global Citizen initiative, a project that encourages fans to sign up and get involved in social activism in exchange for free concert tickets, The Independent reports.
The boyband, who have 18 million followers on Twitter, have urged their followers to email the Chancellor before next week's budget statement to ask him to maintain the UK's commitment to give 0.7 per cent of gross national income to the international development budget, which has been criticised by some Conservative backbenchers. It also calls on the government to crack down on company tax avoidance by British companies in the developing world.
Users of the Global Citizen site earn points for taking action such as writing to MPs, signing petitions, volunteering for charity and watching videos about issues such as polio eradication. Once they have gained 20 points, they are able to enter a lottery to get free gig tickets to see artists including One Direction, Katy Perry and Beyoncé.
In a message to their fans, One Direction said: "We are absolutely proud to join so many amazing artists to inspire people to take action to end extreme poverty. Please visit globalcitizen.org/tickets and take action, love One Direction."
However, One Direction have taken advantage of corporate tax structures themselves. In 2012, the band's members were listed as directors of the company 1D Media and give registered addresses in Limerick, Ireland which is home to Live Wire Business Management, a specialist sports and entertainment accountancy firm, which helps clients become more tax efficient. Ireland's 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate has been taken advantage of my celebrities who have reportedly based subsidiary companies there, including Cheryl Cole and Olly Murs.
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