Sainsbury's boss: just boycott tax-avoiders like Amazon
Justin King says customers have more power than government to force multinationals to pay taxes
SAINSBURY'S boss Justin King has said consumers can force multinationals such as Starbucks and Amazon to change their tax minimising ways far quicker than governments – simply by voting with their wallets.
In an interview with Jeff Randall on Sky News, King (above) was asked about the row over corporation tax, which resulted last week in executives from Google, Amazon and Starbucks being dragged before MPs for a severe dressing–down.
"Can these multinationals keep getting away with it?" asked Randall.
King responded: "Corporation tax is, to all intents and purposes, an elective tax. Quite legally, companies can choose in which country they want to pay it."
Noting that Sainsbury's DOES pay its corporation tax, King added: "It's a customer issue. I think customers have got to be demanding of the businesses that they spend their money with. Ask whether they do pay their dues in our country; are they contributing to our society?"
Last week, Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, told Jeff Randall that the Treasury must do something to tackle what the Sky business presenter framed as the "Amazon problem" or British companies will go out of business.
King poured cold water on Street's call for government action. "This is an international issue and if we wait for the government to get together with international governments to sort out this issue, we'll be waiting a very long time," he said.
"We as consumers can make this change much quicker than the government. The vote you make with your wallet is the most powerful vote you have at your disposal.
"If you send a clear message as a consumer to any business that you don't think it pays its dues in the UK you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll make a change very quickly."