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.