So Starbucks UK managing director Kris Engskov was surprised that feelings about tax avoidance ran so high, was he? One might have expected that somebody in charge of an operation which has such a major high street presence would have had at least some awareness of the word on the street.
Then again, perhaps he hadn’t noticed the recession; perhaps he hadn’t noticed the unmaintained pavements and the closing libraries; perhaps he hadn’t noticed the extinguished street lights and the people queuing at food banks (presumably not for ethically-sourced frappuccino handouts). After all, how could one expect a businessman to make the association between revenue and spending?
Still, Starbucks are agreeing to pay some tax now – isn’t that nice of them? – and our “all in it together” government have announced that, along with continuing to punish the most vulnerable in society, they are finally going to do something about going after the big businesses who declare all their profits in tax havens where they scarcely even trade. Indeed, George Osborne himself has pledged that tax avoiders and evaders will be hunted down. And about time too!
Having always been a public-spirited chap, I think I might be able to save him some time here: He might want to start by taking a look at the list of major Conservative party donors in the run-up to the last election; also, it’s probably worth investigating Conservative peers who are non-domicile for tax reasons; beyond that, he could do a lot worse than looking over some of the Conservative government advisors whose wives are resident in Monaco.
No need to thank me, I’m just trying to be a good citizen.
Meanwhile, confident though I am that our Eton Messers can be trusted to keep to their word, I think I’ll continue to buy my refreshments from local outlets who sell honest produce and who don’t offset the cream against the clouds in my coffee.