Starbucks and the case of the mysterious disappearing money
When I was a kid, I didn’t much like to share. One Christmas, I got this huge tube of smarties, and I didn’t much want to share that. In fact, when my mum said that I had to share it, or I would go to bed without any supper, well I had other ideas.
So, I decided to siphon the smarties off to other parts of the house, where my mum couldn’t see them. I’d offer just one smartie to a family member, and then hide twenty behind the plant pot, and then I’d offer one more smartie to someone else, and hide another twenty under my pillow. Eventually, I’d hidden almost all the smarties, and my mum hadn’t seen me eat any.
It was a great plan. I was rewarded with more smarties, because I’d been “sharing”, but then after a while, I was rumbled. “Why are you only giving people one smartie?” I was asked. “What’s happened to all the other smarties?”
Well, I had to come up with an answer, quickly. “Well, for every smartie that I give away to one of you, I have to give twenty smarties to the pixies.”
Awwwww, everyone said. How cute. But that cuteness didn’t work for long, for not everyone believed in pixies, least of all I.
Today, I don’t eat smarties, and I don’t drink coffee from Starbucks, partly because it’s not actually coffee, partly because they’re complete fuckers who tried to take Ethiopia to court over their own coffee beans, and mostly because they’re complete fuckers who hide their metaphorical smarties behind the plant in the living room.
So we all know about their elaborate tax avoidance scheme, which is, you know, A. Bad. Thing. And some might say that if you’re not able to make a profit from selling rip-off “coffee” to wankers who want to look like they’re in an Apple advert, then you are:
a) not very good at running a business, and
b) taking a little bit too much of the money for yourself
That’s £50m spread across four people. Tasty. Nice little earner, if you can get it. Considering they’ve only paid £8.6m in corporation tax, and they’re still claiming poverty, that’s a very nice little earner indeed.
However, Starbucks does think it’s contributing, by saying that it pays National Insurance Contributions and business rates – you know, things that every employer has to pay regardless of profit and shit. They think that NICs are tax, and therefore they shouldn’t pay tax.
So will our government do anything about it?
Vince Cable, who apparently is still in government, said that Chancellor George Osborne is “going to do something about it” when he delivers his Autumn statement.
No he isn’t.