Britons boycott tax-avoiding companies, survey finds

(Finding of survey for Christian Aid on March 1, 2013)Graphic: Christian Aid

Millions of Britons are boycotting companies seen to be avoiding their fair share of tax in the United Kingdom, new research commissioned by Christian Aid reveals.

Christian Aid commissioned the research and polling company ComRes to to carry out a survey about public perceptions around tax avoidance.

"The overwhelming majority (80 percent) of the British public say that tax avoidance by multinational companies makes them feel angry," said Joseph Stead, senior economic justice adviser for Christian Aid.

The survey found one third (34 percent) of Britons said they are currently boycotting the products or services of a company because it does not pay its fair share of tax in the UK.

Almost half (45 percent) said they are considering a boycott.

But, as Britain prepares to host the G8 Summit meeting of eight leading industrial nations in Northern Ireland in June, three quarters (77 percent) of those surveyed believe that Prime Minister David Cameron is right to make tackling tax evasion and avoidance a priority at the meeting.

Still, public outrage appears to be growing following recent revelations about the remarkably small amount of tax paid into Britani's coffers by some multinational companies, the poll suggests.

Two out of three (66 percent) Britons now believe tax avoidance to be morally wrong, according to this latest survey – up 10 percentage points from when people were asked the same question in August 2012.

A total of four out of five respondents (80 percent) said that multinationals' tax avoidance makes them feel angry.

There was also public concern that the UK Government needs to do what it reasonably can about multinationals' impact on the rest of the world, the survey found.

Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of people agreed the Government has a responsibility to ensure that all UK-based companies pay the proper amount of tax in every country in which they operate.

In addition and eight out of 10 people (84 percent) want to see multinationals' accounts more transparent and publicly available.

Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organizations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.

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