The Beverage Standards Association (BSA) has demanded fair tax for independent coffee shops In light of reports that multinational high-street coffee companies are avoiding paying tax.
Martyn Herriott, chairman of the BSA, said: "Multinationals like Starbucks take advantage of the fact that UK corporate tax is levied on profits, not sales. They are taking the HM Revenue and Customs, small business tax payers and the independent coffee shop for a ride!
"Our members serve Fairtrade beverages - what about fair tax?"
Following the lead of the Federation of Small Businesses, the BSA is asking that the government follows two principles when making tax policy. That it is constant and stable and that it is competitive so that it encourages investment and trade in the UK.
Independent coffee shop owner and BSA member Barry Cook from Cafelicious in Swindon said: "Technically it's legal for these US multinationals not to pay tax, but morally it's completely wrong. It's conning the British system. None of us want to pay tax, but we do. It's very unfair that they do this.
"It's a morally incorrect way of doing business and as a small business, we get not assistance with business rates and we have to pay the full whack of tax.
"We also have other issues to contend with - big coffee chains operating units which run at a loss to keep out competition and opening units without planning permission. The rest of us have to stick to the rules. Why shouldn't they?"
By Lisa Jenkins
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