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Large-scale tax avoidance may lead to consumer boycott

Here’s a tidbit that will tickle you: new research says that widespread tax avoidance on the part of multinationals could lead to a consumer boycott.

People are more than just a little upset over these large-scale corporations and the myriad of legal loopholes they employ to avoid paying their fair share of tax, says the Guardian. In fact, a new survey revealed that some 42 per cent of respondents said they were considering boycotting any multinational that engages in the technically legal (but still incredibly frustrating to hear about) behaviour.

This new survey comes right on the heels of the revelation that not only did the largest water company in the UK pay absolutely no corporation tax in the 2012-2013 financial year but was actually the recipient of a Treasury credit for £5 million. Made worse by the fact that Thames Water had £1.8 billion in turnover last year, it made some £550 million in profit – yet increased the water bill of its customers by nearly 7 per cent. Just in case you’re keeping score, Thames Water services almost one out of every four Brits, so there’s a good chance you and I were directly affected by this tomfoolery.

I know what you’re thinking, and that’s mostly because I’m thinking it too: must be corporate greed run amok causing these rate increases, not to mention the tax avoidance. Well the survey results agree with me and you: around 20 per cent said they would seriously consider supporting boycott efforts against firms that engage in such behaviour, while an additional 21 per cent said they would almost certainly do so – it’s good to know that there are plenty of Brits that are tired of the actions of companies like Thames Water, Starbucks, and Amazon in fleecing HMRC out of what’s owed to the taxman, isn’t it?

Though there was one interesting little breakdown, according to the survey: it looks like older Brits would be more likely to engage in a boycott of any brand that engages in tax avoidance, as 54 per cent of those over the age of 65 said they would do so while only 28 per cent of the 18-to-24 crowd said the same. I don’t know how this changed so completely, as it used to be the younger generations could be counted upon to be politically active; have things changed that much in that now we’ve got to rely on the aging Baby Boomer population to go back to their protesting roots and show these young kids what it’s all about?

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