BISHOPS have been applying
pressure on multinational companies to pay more tax.
It was reported last week
that Starbucks had paid £8.6 million in tax during the 14 years in
which it had traded in the UK; its sales in the UK in 2011 amounted
to nearly £400 million.
The UK managing director of
Starbucks, Kris Engskov, told the BBC on Thursday of last week that
the company would pay "a significant amount of tax during 2013 and
2014, regardless of whether the company is profitable". This would
amount to £20 million over those two years, he said.
On Saturday, the Bishop of
Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, was among a group that
protested about the coffee chain's tax practices outside Starbucks
in Shrewsbury town centre. Bishop Rylands told theShropshire Star:
"If you are not paying your tax fully, you are not caring for your
Protesters from UK Uncut
staged protests outside about 40 Starbucks outlets over the
weekend. It described the company's pledge to pay more tax as a
The Bishop of Derby, Dr
Alastair Redfern, initiated a Short Debate in the House of Lords,
on Tuesday afternoon, titled: "Impact of multinational
companies' financial practices and the UK's tax policies on
Speaking on Radio 4's The
World This Weekend, on Sunday, Dr Redfern, quoting figures
from Christian Aid, said that "developing countries are losing over
£160 billion a year in money that could be tax revenue. That's more
than the global flow of aid. . . This debate will try to challenge
the Government to think about how we can play a part in countering
those kinds of practices."
Many of the companies that operated in the developing world were
subsidiaries of large international organisations, he said, and
many had their headquarters in London. "So the movement of capital
is often under the control of people in the City, in our own
jurisdiction . . . We need to put in place systems which challenge
folk to show what they're doing with the money, where they're
paying the taxes, and where they're avoiding it."