Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/808/18493
Them & Us
Starbucks, notorious in the UK for tax dodging, surprisingly announced it was relocating its European headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain.
Had the multinational seen the light after only paying 0.3% of its £1.78 billion sales in tax between 1998 and 2012?
At the risk of sounding cynical - well, no! Thanks to Chancellor George Osborne, Starbucks can relocate knowing that all its royalties from Europe will be tax free.
Osborne has changed the levying of corporation tax from companies' worldwide profits to profits generated in the UK.
Tax analyst Richard Murphy commented: "One of the functions of its [Starbucks] European head office is to route the royalties earned on the use of Starbucks name from each operating country through to Starbucks in the USA".
Murphy also reckons that even taxes charged on Starbucks UK profits will probably be less than the overall tax paid to date in the Netherlands.
But what about the jobs created? Apparently, no more than ten employees will be relocated!
An inquiry into RBS's business practices, commissioned by RBS, cleared the bailed-out bank of driving small businesses to the wall in order to acquire their assets and boost the bank's profits.
Anyone who considers this investigation to be compromised obviously doesn't understand big businesses' ethics!
Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is in a bit of pickle over his choice of appointees.
Firstly it transpires that his new City minister Andrea Leadsom has indulged in offshore banking to avoid taxes on her buy-to-let property company.
Mind you, tax dodging Tory MPs is nothing new. Back in 2010 Channel 4's Dispatches accused several of them, including George Osborne, of such practices.
And secondly, Cameron's judgement seems a bit iffy after appointing bankrupt businessman Tony Caplin chairman of the Public Loans Board - a £60 billion quango.
On the subject of poor judgement, the Tory party carried out telephone canvassing of constituents in the Merseyside constituency of West Wirral MP Esther McVey during the recent two-hour commemoration service of the 96 Hillsborough stadium victims. 12 of the victims had come from the Wirral.
Environmental pollution is a worldwide killer. A report by China's dictatorship revealed that one-fifth of the country's agricultural land is polluted.
Recently, benzene run-off from soil at a water treatment plant in Lanzhou resulted in water being cut to 2.4 million people.
The problem is particularly bad in the rice growing areas where hazardous levels of toxic heavy metals have been found. But the regime's solution is not a robust clean-up programme but to encourage growers to switch to producing non-edible cash crops!
In The Socialist 23 April 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news