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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 April 2014

Them & Us

Coffee dregs

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!

Clear off

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!

Bad choice

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.

Phone manners

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.

Eat cotton

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!

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 23 April 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Hungry Britain: Fight for jobs and a living wage for all

New figures reveal capitalism in crisis - not recovery

Scotland: Capitalist 'Project Fear' backfiring?

Why is there a housing crisis?

Zero-hour contracts damage your health

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Building Socialist Alternative in the United States

China: labour disputes soar

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Over 550 TUSC no-cuts candidates in place

Socialist Party workplace news

Every job matters: Support the Tube workers' strike

Care UK workers stepping up the action

Don't let Gove wreck education!

Rail workers prepare for action

CWU conference: Renationalise Royal Mail!

Workplace news in brief

Readers' comments

In the fight to defend our NHS, know your enemy

The Broad Left Organising Committee

Workers' Memorial Day: strike for safety

25 years after Hillsborough


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