Starbucks tax bill leaves locals frothing
Northern Ireland coffee fans have been urged to boycott the giant Starbucks chain after it emerged that it had paid just £8.6m in corporation tax in 14 years of trading in Britain - and nothing in the last three years.
The American coffee firm - valued at £25bn - has 15 outlets in Northern Ireland and has generated more than £3bn of sales in the UK since 1998 but has paid less than 1% in corporation tax.
Starbucks, with more than 700 UK outlets, said it has paid its "fair share of taxes" in full compliance with UK law.
An investigation by Reuters discovered that Starbucks was able to cut income tax by paying fees to other parts of its global business.
Assistant general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Peter Bunting has called for consumers to support smaller local coffee shops instead.
John Elliott from Belfast-based chain Clements Coffee said people need to support local businesses.
"I've been in the business nearly 15 years and the going is tough," he said. "We here in Northern Ireland grind our own beans locally, use milk from local farmers, and use local plumbers and electricians to fit out our shops. With the bigger chains, everything is imported, even some of the food.
"For the local economy to survive we need people to shop locally."