Newspaper review: Papers criticise firms over tax


What major international businesses such as Google and Amazon are guilty of - according to the Daily Mail - is a "disgraceful corporate rip off".

The Financial Times sums up a report by MPs on tax payments as "blistering". The Daily Express says the multinationals stand accused.

Jackie Ashley of the Guardian believes the UK is paying the price in two ways.

Internet sales of books, games and DVDs are putting excellent small shops, which might create jobs, out of business, she says.

And the amount that the multinationals might, but do not, pay in tax would cover the total cost of all spending on local government.

She says that should unite politicians from all sides in what she calls "a war against the globetrotting corporate cynics".

The Times calls the present position "inexcusable" and "unacceptable". It believes much of the fault lies with "politicians and their advisers" - because they allowed big companies to minimise their UK tax liabilities.

'Public pressure'

The decision by Starbucks to discuss its approach to tax with Revenue and Customs is welcomed.

The Daily Mirror calls it "a victory for public pressure". The Sun sees it as "a triumph for people power".

The Mirror says Starbucks has changed its tune only because "being accused of being a tax avoider is bad for business".

The Sun says "sickened punters voted with their feet".

Even the mightiest global corporation can be humbled, says the Independent.

Threats of direct action would have driven away the chain's most loyal customers, it says.

"Those politically aware, laptop-using youngsters who congregate there for the free wifi as much as for the latte."

Rush for presents

People may feel hard pressed, but the Daily Mail expects there to be a frenzy of online shopping on Monday.

It says customers will part with £10,000 a second as the rush for presents begins in earnest.

Among the items the analysts believe will be big sellers this year are tablet computers, and classic toys such as Lego, Barbie and Scalextric.

In other words, says the Times, Santa will be filling his sleigh online this year.

There may be 22 shopping days left until Christmas, says the Sun, but just 18 until, according to some "hippies and New Age odd balls", the end of the world.

'Magic of mistletoe'

The paper has sent a reporter to the French village of Bugarach where some think the local mountain will open, and a spaceship will emerge to carry a handful of survivors to safety.

The mayor tells the reporter that people have been seen going up the mountain naked, or dressed in white outfits and carrying golden orbs.

Also in a mystical mood, the Daily Telegraph praises "the magic of mistletoe" - a symbol of fertility for the Celts, and of peace, love and understanding for the Romans.

Since then, Australian researchers have apparently discovered that it can be more effective in treating cancer than some forms of chemotherapy.

The Telegraph says that is something else to think about "when invited to a Christmas kiss under the mistletoe".

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