Retail giant Marks & Spencer has now been added to a growing shame list of tax avoiders ranking among Amazon, Starbucks & Google whose sickening charade of paying well below their fair share despite raking in billions from a loyal U.K consumer base. Google paid £6 million in corporation tax in 2011 despite sales of more than £3 billion annually, as most sales are routed through Dublin whilst scandal-ridden HSBC dedicates a whole division to advising big business how to avoid tax. Tax-dodging businesses only care about profit so it makes perfect sense to them that not abiding by their tax duties is too easy to resist.Speaking to the Observer recently, Ed Miliband promised that Labour would introduce new laws designed to curb tax avoidance and urged the coalition to ensure multinational firms are more transparent about their profits. David Cameron raised the issue at the G8 to prevent multinational companies from exploiting tax loopholes. Ironically, it has been Cameron’s government that thwarted potential global regulations aimed at closing tax loopholes. Labour and Tory governments have acted on behalf of the City of London in trying to attract international tax avoiders to London, in addition to cutting the tax rate over twenty years to one of the lowest in any capitalist nation.
Shortly after the coalition’s chancellor George Osborne announced yet more corporation tax cuts in this year’s dire budget, an M&S employee challenged his superiors over complex operations on its international site, and the firm admitted that it was avoiding tax by funnelling profits through Ireland. The empty promises of politicians to crack down on firms with such immoral tax affairs is nothing more than posturing to suit their public image as clearly no political figure intends to do anything about this scandal. As for G8 leaders they will go away content in blaming everyone else for their deferential bow to power and greed but capitalism will still take from us so the rich man can fill his pockets. The naked avarice and oppression of our rulers will inevitably explode in public anger and hatred of indifference to suffering around them; a storm is coming which will threaten the political mainstream, and we must build on this momentum to create an effective workers’ party which makes a positive difference to ordinary lives.