A NEW coffee shop in Wigan has sparked controversy through the non-payment of tax. International chain Starbucks opened a new drive-through store on Scot Lane yesterday, but it has been the focus of a Government investigation.
The US chain reportedly paid just £8.6m in corporation tax in the UK over 14 years.
The revelations have brought about criticisms from trade unions.
Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB national equality officer, said: “Starbucks is seeking talks with HMRC because they have been exposed for not paying their fair share of corporate taxes.
“The days when politicians of both colours can make excuses for non-payment of taxes by the elite and the corporate sector have gone. This is all the more true since this non-payment contributed to the deficit in public finances.
“They claim that they have paid lots of money in various taxes, however it is their customers who pay VAT and their employees who pay income tax and national insurance. The proof of the pudding from these talks will be how much additional taxes they do pay. They must be made to pay HMRC what they avoided paying.”
However, Starbucks UK reported losses so did not have to pay corporation tax, but told investors that it was “profitable”.
“We have paid and will continue to pay our fair share of taxes in full compliance with all UK tax laws, as we always have,” Starbucks said.
“There has been no suggestion by any authority that we are anything but compliant and good tax payers.
Starbucks’ new Wigan venture suffered teething problems as their grand opening was delayed yesterday causing staff to hand out free coffees to a waiting queue of customers at the scheduled opening time.