The idea that you or I could just turn up at our local tax office and tell them how much tax we were going to pay them is utterly ridiculous. I’d kind of like to try, just to see their faces. It seems that corporate muscle will allow you to get away with a multitude of sins. I don’t see what’s wrong with Starbucks working out what profit they make in this country and pay tax on it. It’s not rocket science. and it’s what, as Christine Jardine pointed out in the Scotsman the other day, the little independent coffee shops do.
It is extraordinary. People have been joking that some of these multinationals seem to think that paying tax is voluntary. Well, Starbucks have just confirmed the joke really. Tax is something that is a legal obligation that you should pay. It’s not a charitable donation in order to gain brand value.
If every branch of Starbucks upped and offed because they were forced to pay a fair rate of tax, that would surely leave a massive gap in the market to be filled by entrepreneurs with independent shops. The demand for these places is surely there.
One person might miss them rather a lot, though. I’m fairly certain that the chain will be making a profit now, even if temporarily. My sister is currently expecting her fifth baby. Little Ethan is due to arrive, like his big sister did, in the middle of a Liberal Democrat Conference in just 14 weeks time.
It greatly distressed my little sis when I told her, very gently, yesterday, that the eggnog lattes she is currently craving and imbibing in industrial quantities will not be available after Christmas. So, she rang up Starbucks customer services to see if she could buy bottles of the special eggnog flavoured milk that they use to make it and they told her no. So, not only are they not paying an appropriate amount of tax, they are also depriving my sister and little Ethan of what have clearly become an essential part of their daily lives.
When I told my Facebook friends about this yesterday, one suggested Advocaat as a substitute. I think the brandy in that may not be good for little Ethan. Someone posted a Martha Stewart recipe for eggnog for my sister to make which I’m sure she’d do if she was desperate, but it might not have the same appeal. Starbucks sell their ground coffee, which fiendishly tempts you as you queue. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to add some of their additives/milks to their merchandise range. It could only add to their profits and help the UK’s coffers. What’s not to love?