From Mr Steve Bye.
Sir, Consumers have made their feelings clear about the UK tax avoidance of large corporations such as Starbucks: avoid tax and we will avoid you (“Starbucks pledges £20m tax ‘donation’”, December 7). Is there a way we can encourage more companies, as well as individuals, to pay what they morally owe? I believe so.
We often see Top 100 rich lists implying the success of those companies and individuals that many see as leaders in society. But how much tax do they pay and shouldn’t we measure their success by how much they give, not how much they keep? I propose that we create “Top 100 Taxpayers” lists. One for individuals and one for corporations.
Companies that make the most profit, and individuals who earn the most, should be recognised and praised for paying the most tax. With encouragement from the media and public, and the support of ministers and high-profile patriotic entrepreneurs, we could create a culture in which a company’s success contributes to the success of the nation. Clearly, the creation of jobs and the payment of dividends to shareholders are no longer enough – the country in which a company trades is morally entitled to a share in its success.
It is difficult to blame coffee companies and comedians for wanting to keep as much of their earnings as possible, and difficult, or so it would seem, to make them pay. But, with knowledge of how much tax is paid, the public would be able to reward those businesses that give the most back with their patronage; and society could recognise those individuals who make the biggest contributions.
Steve Bye, Bristol, UK