British Novelist Calls On American Mega-Companies to Help Save Britain's Libraries

From the Guardian:

A fiery Jeanette Winterson has called for the hundreds of millions of pounds of profit which Amazon, Starbucks and Google were last week accused of diverting from the UK to be used to save Britain's beleaguered public libraries.

In an impassioned speech at the British Library this evening, the award-winning author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit said: "Libraries cost about a billion a year to run right now. Make it two billion and charge Google, Amazon and Starbucks all that back tax on their profits here. Or if they want to go on paying fancy lawyers to legally avoid their moral duties, then perhaps those companies could do an Andrew Carnegie and build us new kinds of libraries for a new kind of future in a fairer and better world?"

Winterson was referring to the meeting at parliament's public accounts committee last Monday which saw executives from the three companies vigorously quizzed by MPs over their tax affairs, and accused of diverting UK profits to tax havens. Her lecture was to mark the 10th anniversary of the independent charity The Reading Agency, and was attended by fellow authors including David Nicholls, Julian Barnes, Joanna Trollope and Sarah Waters.


The companies are paying 100% of what they have to. If politicians don't like it then they should change the law. If the public doesn't like it don't buy from them and then go and complain to your MP to get them to change the law.

But it doesn't stop it being the responsibility of the politicians to change things.
Add European laws into the mix (Amazon UK isn't in the UK it's in Luxembourg with much lower tax than the UK) and it gets harder.

The point is they are paying what they have to pay. They are also paying National Insurance, pension contributions and wages to their staff in the UK so it's not that they are paying 'no tax'. It is not up to businesses to pay the maximum they could (as that would be against the businesses best interests, especially when it comes to shareholders (biggest shareholders? Pension companies) who don't want to be getting less money.

The only people that can change the way things are working are the politicians. We know all the shortcuts, the ways they get round things legally. So shut off those loopholes, hire skilled people to get rid of future loopholes. It's not rocket science.

As you have to admit, there is no way that people are boycotting any of these companies. Starbucks isn't selling less coffee, Amazon aren't selling less ebooks. People might not be happy with things, but that won't stop them buying a Black Friday deal or a gingerbread latte will it.

If you want change it has to come through the political process. And if a party isn't doing that for you there is the legal right to start your own party and stand for public office. But that's someone elses job isn't it, and it's far too much work for most moaners.

It's awful but it's not the companies fault there are these massive loopholes.

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