Firms 'boycotted over tax stance'
A third of Britons are boycotting companies that they consider are avoiding their tax obligations in the UK, a survey has suggested.
The poll for international development charity Christian Aid found 34% of consumers are currently boycotting the products or services of a company "because it does not pay its fair share of tax in the UK". Another 45% said they were considering a boycott.
The survey also revealed that 66% of consumers believe tax avoidance is "morally wrong", up 10 percentage points since August last year.
Almost three-quarters of those questioned (72%) said the Government had a responsibility to ensure that all UK-based companies paid the appropriate amount of tax in every country in which they operate while 84% want to see multinationals' accounts more transparent and publicly available.
Christian Aid spokesman Joseph Stead said: "In the run-up to the Budget, which we hope the Chancellor will use to require companies to reveal more information about their tax avoidance in developing countries, this is heartening news.
"The public clearly understands the UK has a responsibility to ensure UK plc plays by the rules both home and away and we hope the Chancellor will show he does too. The overwhelming majority of the British public say that tax avoidance by multinational companies makes them feel angry.
"But what this survey also shows is that one in three people are actually prepared to change their buying habits and boycott some of the firms seen as not paying their fair share in the UK. This surely must be a wake-up call to all businesses."
The poll - in which ComRes spoke to 2,270 people between February 15 and 17 - revealed 85% of those questioned believe it is currently too easy for multinational companies to avoid tax, but the number of those who believe the Government is showing "a genuine desire" to combat tax avoidance has risen from 38% in August to 43%.
Mr Stead said: "People understand the importance of developing countries being able to collect tax that is owed to them by multinational corporations.
"Tax is a powerful weapon against poverty and three-quarters of Britons agree that if developing countries could collect more tax then they would, in time, be less dependent on international aid, and therefore better able to provide for their own people."