Press release: UK Uncut to target Starbucks over impact of government cuts on women


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UK Uncut to target Starbucks over impact of government cuts on women

* Activists to turn Starbucks stores into refuges, crèches and homeless shelters

* Announcement comes as Starbucks executives face MPs over tax avoidance allegations

As Starbucks executives face a fierce grilling today in Parliament, UK Uncut [1] has today announced a national day of action targeting Starbucks coffee stores in protest against the government’s spending cuts that are hurting women. The announcement comes as top Starbucks executives face the Public Accounts Committee over recent exposes of the company’s tax avoidance.[2]

Activists have chosen to target the company as a result of its tax avoidance; taxes they claim could fund public services currently being cut by the government. The action will see Starbucks stores transformed into refuges, crèches and homeless shelters to highlight the disproportionate impact of the government’s spending cuts on women. The action will take place on Saturday 8 December, three days after the Chancellor’s autumn statement when further spending cuts are expected to be announced.

Sarah Greene, a UK Uncut activist said:

“It is an outrage that the government continues to let multinationals like Starbucks dodge millions in tax while vital services like refuges and rape crisis centres face the axe. It does not have to be this way. The government could easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by clamping down on tax dodging, but are instead making cuts that are forcing women to choose between motherhood and work, and trapping them in abusive relationships.”

Starbucks has come under fire after a Reuters investigation disclosed that the company had paid no UK corporation tax in the last three years, despite reporting sales of £1.2bn.[3] The company was also reported to have filed accounts saying the companies UK operations were making a loss, while reporting strong UK profits to investors.

Campaigners have highlighted research showing that women will experience a disproportionate impact as a result of the government’s public spending cuts. [4] Women are bearing the brunt of cuts to public sector jobs, wages, housing benefit, childcare, and pensions. [5] Additional hardship on women is being caused by the government’s decision to cut £5.6m from violence against women services, £300m from Sure Start centres and a further £10 billion in benefit cuts. Every day 230 women are turned away from refuges as a result of the government’s cuts to women’s services. [6]

Sheena Shah, a UK Uncut activist said “Women have had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of out of touch millionaire men. The government’s savage austerity plans are pushing the cause of women’s equality back decades. Welfare, healthcare, Sure Start centres, childcare, rape and domestic abuse services are being cut and female unemployment is rocketing. Benefits cuts are forcing women to choose between heating the house and feeding the family. No one should have to make these choices.”

ENDS

1 – UK Uncut is a grassroots anti-cuts direct action network, well-known for targeting corporate tax avoidance: www.ukuncut.org.uk

2 – Troy Alstead, Starbucks Global Chief Financial Officer and Kris Engskov, Managing Director, Starbucks UK will be giving evidence to a Public Accounts Committee evidence session on the Taxation of Multinational Corporations at 3:15pm on 12 November. Representatives from Amazon and Google are also expected to give evidence. – http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/

3 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/15/us-britain-starbucks-tax-idUSBRE89E0EX20121015

4 – http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/Gender_Impact_of_the_Cuts.pdf & http://fawcettsociety.org.uk/documents/The%20Impact%20of%20Austerity%20on%20Women%20-%2019th%20March%202012.pdf

5- http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/31/domestic-violence-rape-crisis-cuts_n_2049137.html

6- http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/care/charities-have-to-turn-away-women-seeking-refuge/6520815.article &

http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1237

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