UK Uncut is planning a day of action against Starbucks, including turning cafes into women's refuges, creches and homeless shelters, in protest at Government spending cuts that it argues may not be necessary if the company paid more tax.
Last month it emerged that Starbucks had paid nothing in UK corporation tax over the previous year, despite making sales worth £398m . The news sparked public anger and today the company, along with Amazon and Google, who have also faced scrutiny over their tax bills, will give evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on their payments.
UK Uncut claims that Starbucks avoids paying taxes which could be used fund the public services being cut by Government that will have a disproportionate impact on women. The action will take place on Saturday December 8, three days after Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement, when further spending cuts are expected.
The group claims that women will bear the brunt of cuts to public sector jobs, wages, housing benefit, childcare, and pensions, and also suffer from the Government's decision to cut £5.6m from violence against women services. Every day 230 women are turned away from refuges as a result of the Government’s cuts to women’s services, it says.
UK Uncut activist Sarah Greene said: “It is an outrage that the Government continues to let multinationals like Starbucks dodge millions in tax while vital services like refuges and rape crisis centres face the axe. It does not have to be this way.
"The Government could easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by clamping down on tax dodging, but are instead making cuts that are forcing women to choose between motherhood and work, and trapping them in abusive relationships.”
Lord Myners, the former City minister, this morning accused multinational companies such as Starbucks of leeching tax revenue from Britain and attacked accountants for allowing it to happen. He said companies such as Starbucks made millions in revenue in Britain but "ensured they made no profits" through large royalty and other payments to offshore companies. Corporation tax is only paid on profits.
Lord Myners told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it was creating unfair competition for British rivals such as Costa Coffee and Cafe Nero which paid corporation tax and said "accountants have conspired to allow that to happen".