Boots On the Other Foot.

Bit busy right now, so it’s another guest post. The lead story in he latest edition of The Beestonian was about Boots tax avoidance: as such I asked the councillor whose ward Boots falls within to comment: usual rules: I publish everything unedited and uncut: and disclaimer; contributors to here or The Beestonian do not represent our opinions, blah, and blah x 2. Over to Steve:

Frankly I am quite appalled and disappointed in Boots and their policy of putting the absolute minimum back into the community which has served them well and made the company what it is over the last 150 years. There can hardly be a single household in Beeston which has not a family member at some time in the past working for Boots. The pay was never fantastic but conditions were a lot worse elsewhere, they used to do things such as provide free and subsidised transport, discounts, a shop selling reject lines which cost little to them but meant a lot to the workforce. Many playgroups and other community organisations benefited from the Boots foundation, started by the founder Jesse Boot. Sadly it has been noticeable how much of this has dried up in latter years with agencies and overseas labour being used to a greater extent. Boots are a major employer and as such are a major contributor to congestion but have absolutely opposed paying anything towards alleviating this although the amounts asked for are peanuts compared to their profits.
Nottinghamshire County Council who are responsible for all highways, social services, schools, libraries etc for a huge area extending from Leicestershire in the south to Yorkshire in the north have a turnover of around £1Bn per annum. Boots declared profit (not turnover) for the UK was approximately half of this amount but they paid less than 3% of this in corporation tax. They sit on a very valuable plot of land which is essential for our core strategy to provide housing and employment for the next generation. However, this land needs work. It needs to be cleaned up following pollution caused by Boots in the past. It needs better road access and it has just benefited from the £51m flood defence scheme. Quite rightly as a society we need to invest in this land and not leave it derelict. Government money is needed and where should governments get their money from for this kind of project? From the very organisations who have and will benefit; organisations such as Boots.
Cllr Steve Barber, Beeston Rylands.

5 thoughts on “Boots On the Other Foot.

  1. Rollersnakes23 says:

    For once in my life, I totally agree with you, Steve. I worked as a secretary at Boots for 28 years, from leaving school, and right now I am embarrassed by their tactics regarding tax. Jesse Boot would be turning in his grave …

  2. Kate Foale, Labour prospective candidate for Beeston S and Attenboro says:

    I agree too, it is really sad that Boots doesn’t understand the benefits they get from a local, loyal workforce and a community that values local business, especially one like Boots with a long association with the area. This kind of hard nosed commercial approach seems to be replacing one of mutual benefit and respect between companies and their staff and customers.These are tough times, we need to work together to get through them.

  3. Devils Advocate says:

    With regard to the tax issue, just out of interest, where would Cllr Steve Barber expect a, now, pan-European company whose most senior management don’t live in this country, to base their headquarters? To tar them with the same brush as properly UK-based companies seems to be a little short-sighted.

    Whilst everyone is referring to them as Boots they are actually Alliance Boots and that first part of the name is rather important – the former Alliance Unichem, a massive European company. It’s highly likely the company will be bought by Walgreens in the next few years too – are we to expect complaints about tax too when they move the company headquarters to the US?

  4. Chris says:

    The reality is that these large companies have changed over the years as profits to shareholders becomes all consuming. We have seen similar attitudes from TESCO and even Wilkos as they have grown. Ridicule them and they simply threaten to move to a more supportive town or country. Read up on Steffano Pissana the Alliance Boots CEO and you will understand why Boots has changed.
    Big business has changed for employees and local communities alike, SMEs offer the greatest opportunities and should be supported.
    This is why I left by choice my large corporate employer after 25 years to join a smaller family owned business.

  5. MarkT says:

    Chris is spot on. See
    The idea that these guys have any loyalty to the local community is long gone! I worked there (in D90) for a couple of years, found it utterly mediocre and demoralising and was thoroughly glad to leave. The people I know at Boots (many quite senior) have either left to work at somewhere they are valued, or would love to go. If you want to support UK industry shop at Superdrug instead….

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