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Starbucks to face store protests
Starbucks expects to pay around 10 million pounds in UK corporation tax in each of the next two years
Coffee chain Starbucks is braced for protests over its tax arrangements despite announcing changes to its payments.
The US-owned giant said it expects to pay around £10 million in UK corporation tax for each of the next two years, following the revelation that it paid just £8.6 million in 14 years of trading in Britain and nothing in the last three years.
Activist group UK Uncut said it was planning more than 40 demonstrations across the country, "transforming" Starbucks stores into refuges, creches and homeless shelters. The anti-cuts direct action group said the number of protests planned had increased since Starbucks made its announcement.
Sarah Greene, a UK Uncut activist, said: "It is an outrage that the Government continues to let multinationals like Starbucks dodge millions in tax while cutting vital services like refuges, creches and rape crisis centres. It does not have to be this way. The Government could easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by clamping down."
Hannah Pearce, a UK Uncut supporter, said that offering to pay some tax "if and when it suits" does not stop a company being a tax avoider, adding: "This is just a desperate attempt by Starbucks to deflect public pressure - hollow promises on press releases don't fund women's refuges or child benefits."
She called on the Government to force Starbucks and other tax avoiding firms to "pay their fair share, instead of cutting welfare and tax credits for single mums and disabled women".
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, which is supporting the protests, said: "With hundreds of thousands of public sector workers having their jobs, pay and pensions cut, and people entitled to benefits being demonised and targeted in the most shameful way, it is utterly scandalous that some multinational companies believe they can get away with contributing little or nothing to our economy.
"We fully support this weekend's action which, along with previous campaigns by UK Uncut and others, will highlight the fact that if large companies like Starbucks paid their fair share it would change the debate about public spending overnight."
UK Uncut said it was expecting a big turnout and stressed it was not targeting Starbucks' workers.
A spokeswoman said: "All of our protests are fun, creative with a serious message to Starbucks management and the Government. The hypocrisy of Starbucks executives claiming to be concerned about workers' safety because of protests is staggering at a time when workers are reporting they are being forced to sign new contracts with reduced benefits or losing their jobs."