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Globalisation Anticapitalism :: Starbucks
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What a lovely Christmas present we've had from Starbucks this year! The company has generously volunteered to pay £20 million corporation tax over the next two years.
This is certainly a big amount of money... to most of us anyway. But Starbucks has made over £3 billion of sales in 13 years and yet paid no corporation tax at all in the last three.
Starbucks' legal team continues to insist that everything was perfectly legal and that the company doesn't owe a penny.
They're just feeling charitable - nothing to do with the public outrage and beginnings of a boycott.
What if we all take the same attitude? We could phone up our local councils and say that we don't fancy paying our usual £80 (for example) a month council tax bill.
We won't pay anything for the next few years. But after that we'll be very generous and volunteer to pay £5 a month for a while.
Would we be congratulated for being socially responsible? No, we'd be pulled in front of a judge.
And not only does Starbucks' 'decision' make light of the entire concept of taxes, but the company's bosses have the cheek to try and claw back any losses by slashing their workers' conditions.
They've forced workers to sign a new contract cutting paid breaks, maternity leave and sick leave.
We can't blame it all on Starbucks though. The PCS union estimates that there is £120 billion avoided or evaded in tax by the super-rich every year.
And the government sits idly by. Cameron claimed it was 'morally wrong' for Jimmy Carr to avoid tax. But he and his cronies don't take any real action.
In fact, they and previous New Labour governments cut the jobs of the people who collect the tax!
So that lovely present in the shiny paper with the big bow turns out to be nothing but an empty box.
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Article dated 12 December 2012
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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