FIRMS that are suspected of tax-avoidance face a boycott by
millions of people, new research suggests.
A survey commissioned by Christian Aid found that more than one
third of the respondents were already avoiding at least one company
because they believed that it did not pay its fair share of UK tax.
And almost half (45 per cent) of those questioned said that they
were either considering joining the protest, or were extending an
existing ban to other businesses.
Christian Aid's Senior Economic Justice Adviser, Joseph Stead,
said: "One in three people are actually prepared to change their
buying habits and boycott some of the firms seen as not paying
their fair share in the UK. This surely must be a wake-up call to
Of the 2270 adults questioned online by ComRes last month, two
out of three believed that tax- avoidance was morally wrong. Four
out of five said that tax-avoidance by multinationals made them
Almost three-quarters of those questioned believed that the
Government should ensure that all UK- based companies paid the
proper amount of tax, wherever they operated; and eight out of ten
wanted multinationals' accounts to be more transparent and publicly
"In the run-up to the Budget - which we hope the Chancellor will
use to require companies to reveal more information about their tax
avoidance in developing countries - this is heartening news," Mr
Stead said. "The public clearly understands that the UK has a
responsibility to ensure UK plc plays by the rules, both home and
away, and we hope the Chancellor will show he does, too."
Three-quarters of the respondents said that the Prime Minister
was right to make tax-avoidance a priority at the G8 meeting in
Northern Ireland in June, but only 43 per cent believed that the
Government was showing a genuine desire to deal with the
Christian Aid, which is part of the coalition Enough Food For
Everyone IF, which wants governments to stop multinationals dodging
tax in poor countries, estimates that it costs their governments
$160 billion every year - far more than they receive in aid.
"Tax is a powerful weapon against poverty," Mr Stead said, "and
three-quarters of Britons agree that if developing countries could
collect more tax, then they would, in time, be less dependent on
international aid, and therefore better able to provide for their