Starbucks will open 30 new stores across the UK, despite David Cameron’s public attack over the coffee chain’s tax avoidance. Denying the tax avoidance allegations by the Prime Minister, Starbucks had threatened to withhold UK investment due to the open attack by David Cameron. Reverberating its commitments to the UK, Starbucks stated that it ”remains fully committed to opening 300 new stores and creating 5,000 new jobs by 2016″. Starbucks issued the statement after its UK boss stormed out angrily into No 10 Downing Street, after David Cameron appeared to have targetted the coffee chain during a speech attacking multinational companies’ tax avoidance.
The clarification from Starbucks came as David Cameron quoted in a speech in Davos last week saying that tax-avoiding companies had to “wake up and smell the coffee”. Asked whether David Cameron’s remarks were aimed at Starbucks, a No 10 spokesman said, “the speech speaks for itself”.
David Cameron’s remark spurred anger amongst Starbucks chiefs, and a source of the coffee chain was quoted as saying to The Sunday Telegraph, ”The PM is singling the business out for cheap shots, a company that, it should not be forgotten, has pledged to pay tax now and into the future.”
In a statement, Starbucks, which has paid no UK corporation tax for the past three years, said, “Starbucks agrees with the prime minister that all businesses should pay their fair share. In the UK, we employ 9,000 people, contribute £300m a year to the economy and are forgoing tax deductions that will make the exchequer at least £20m better off.”
Earlier this month, David Cameron had accused Starbucks, Google, Amazon of lacking “moral scruples” for seeking ways to evade taxes. He said he would put tax avoidance “right at the top of the agenda” of the UK’s presidency of the G8.