Tuesday, January 25, 2011

These Boots were made for walking - with our tax $ to Switzerland

Earlier we blogged a Guardian story entitled Tax avoidance protesters UK Uncut to target Boots. UK Uncut's street-based campaign will now focus on the UK pharmacy and retailer Boots. They will set up hospitals within Boots stores to show what the taxpayer-funded National Health Service (NHS) could have done with money it claims the company saved by relocating its headquarters to Switzerland.

UK Uncut claims that since Boots, bought out by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2008, moved its headquarters to Switzerland, the tax it pays has dropped from 33% to 3%, saving £150m a year.

Now we see, as reported in the Mail, Cancer sufferers 'to be given chemotherapy at branches of Boots' in extraordinary shake-up of NHS. Such measures could extend to phlebotomy and other services. It's not a spoof; apparently, negotiations are being conducted via 'secret talks'.
"According to a source at Boots, in branches with more than one floor most of the turnover comes from the ground floor...The company believes it would be more profitable if it dedicated its upper floors to medical services."
So, to state the blindingly obvious: Boots dodges £millions in taxes on profits via tax havenry, while a chunk of those profits is increasingly generated from taxpayer-funded services.

Recently announced radical reforms will lead to 24,000 NHS management staff being made redundant. Widely reported NHS cuts lead to massive deterioration in services. (Richard Murphy commented here; see also this excellent short video on the NHS.)

UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the aim was to deliver ‘a service tailored to an individual’s need’. But what is actually going on behind closed doors amongst the power-elite? Who amongst us is going to join the cry out at the Emperor's new clothes?

1 Comments:

Blogger Physiocrat said...

Boots - another company whose "profits" consists substantially of land rents, from their portfolio of high street and other properties. And possibly also a slew of monopoly profits from patent rights, though these might have expired by now so one would need to check on that.

1:31 am  

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