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Starbucks UK sales drop amidst tax avoidance row

If there’s one thing that sticks in the craw of the average Brit it’s tax avoidance by large multinationals – and Starbucks may have paid the price for it.

Whilst the coffee chain will say that the revenues were down in the year to September by over 3 per cent due to the shuttering of some of its underperforming stores in the UK, the writing is on the wall – most industry experts will say that the backlash against the multinational’s tax avoidance – made possible by the extensive use of offshore accounts – might have been the true culprit at play.

For what it’s worth, I’m firmly in the latter camp. Brits are sick and tired of having these massive multinationals run roughshod over the tax structures of the UK whilst legitimate businesses like self-employed contractors and small business owners end up trampled under the iron heel of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs if there’s even a whiff of IR35 risk, and I’m a firm believer in voting with your wallet.

Honestly what I think happened is that there was the revenue drop because people were tired of implicitly supporting a company that routinely and purposefully thumbs its nose at HMRC by engaging in tax avoidance that, while technically legal, is certainly unethical and undeserved. I don’t care how much you might like all those cappuccinos that Starbucks sells – if the company isn’t playing fair, it doesn’t deserve our custom until it begins doing so. I can only hope and pray that this trend continues until the company announces it’s either going to pay its full tax burden or it pulls up tent stakes and moves on to greener and more permissive pastures by relocating to another country altogether.

Well, to hell with Starbucks. If I had my wish the entire firm would be dismantled and sold off to the highest bidder, even though that will of course never happen. The company is too well-connected in Westminster for any real change to be effected by someone in Parliament. Then again, what else is new?

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