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Published on Wed Dec 19, 2012 by David Colbran
Boycott Workfare, UK Uncut and North West Anti-Cuts targeted branches of Starbucks in Liverpool, UK over tax avoidance on Saturday 8th December 2012. Demonstrators went to two branches of the coffee shop, occupying one and closing another.
At the first branch on Bold Street, the store closed and a policeman stood guard at the door, while protestors gave out leaflets. They explained the Corporation Tax avoided by Starbucks over the past three years would have easily paid for the current cuts to a variety of women's support and resource groups and services. A branch of Costa Coffee across the road seemed happy with the boosted business and distributed free coffees to the protestors.
Then everyone moved to Liverpool One retail area, where the protestors managed to occupy another branch of Starbucks and eventually close that as well. Again leaflets were handed out and the campaign received majority support from passers-by.
Starbucks is one of the largest coffee chains in the UK, and the second largest café or restaurant chain in the world after McDonald's. Yet, in the last three years they’ve paid no corporation tax at all, despite making sales of £1.2bn. Over the last 14 years they’ve only paid £8.6m in corporation tax.
Starbucks managed to pay no taxes by shifting money around between Starbucks companies in different countries, so that its accounts show it made a loss in the UK. Because of the way they’ve done this inside their global corporate empire no one knows exactly how much tax Starbucks should have paid. Comparing Starbucks to other similar US based multinationals, McDonald’s had a tax bill of over £80m on £3.6bn of UK sales. Kentucky Fried Chicken, incurred taxes of £36m on £1.1bn pounds in UK sales.
Author: David Colbran
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