Friday 24 March 2017

David McWilliams: Corporation tax sleight of hand will turn us into world pariahs

CAN a reasonably well-behaved country with few, if any, enemies, become an international pariah? Can a country that has pursued neutrality, contributed much to the UN and taken diplomatic political correctness to asphyxiating heights, come crashing down and become shorthand for mendacity, evasiveness and intercontinental tax avoidance?

These are questions we should ask ourselves as the international backlash against the likes of Starbucks, Google and Amazon's tax avoidance policies spilled over in Britain last week.

The ubiquitous Starbucks was forced into a very public climbdown on how it operates its tax affairs. This was particularly galling for a company whose PR machine appears almost "happy clappy" in its efforts to appear on the side of the angels when it is, in fact, a large franchising conglomerate going about the entirely reasonable capitalist business of gaining market share relentlessly.

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