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Pay your tax bishops tell Starbucks

14 December 2012


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 neigh­bour."

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 "PR stunt".

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 developing countries".

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."


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