Tax-avoiding Boots boss is ‘catastrophe’ for Britain – not Ed Miliband

—Stefano Pessina: When you consider all the tax he has managed to avoid paying, he's got a lot of reasons to smile.

—Stefano Pessina: When you consider all the tax he has managed to avoid paying, he’s got a lot of reasons to smile.

Why should any of us pay attention to Stefano Pessina? He reckons Ed Miliband’s plan for government would be “not helpful” – but isn’t it even less helpful that he’s the acting chief executive of a major tax-avoiding company whose head office is a post office box in a tax haven?

Mr Miliband’s campaigns against high levels of executive pay and “predatory” capitalists, his plans to restore the 50p top rate of income tax, his pledge of a “mansion tax” on homes worth more than £2 million and promise to freeze energy companies’ prices for 20 months have been described by Mr Pessina as “not helpful for business, not helpful for the country and in the end it probably won’t be helpful for them”.

Gosh. Labour’s business spokesman, Chukka Umunna put him right in his place with this response: “It is important that the voice of business is heard during this General Election campaign, not least on Europe.

“But the British people and British businesses will draw their own conclusions when those who don’t live here, don’t pay tax in this country and lead firms that reportedly avoid making a fair contribution in what they pay purport to know what is in Britain’s best interests” [all boldings and emphases mine].

Mr Pessina, you see, took over Boots (more accurately Alliance Boots) in 2007, alongside US private equity manager Kohlberg Kravis Read. Between 2010 and 2012, the company’s tax bill – to all of the countries in which it operates put together – totalled £156 million, against pre-tax profits of £1.8bn – an effective rate of just nine per cent (according to Richard Brooks in The Great Tax Robbery, p.140).

It seems to this writer that Mr Pessina is the one who is “not helpful” for the country.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
pointing out the hypocrisy of tax-avoiding business leaders.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


15 thoughts on “Tax-avoiding Boots boss is ‘catastrophe’ for Britain – not Ed Miliband

  1. hugosmum70

    they are more laughable at than most of today’s comedians/comediennes.. no disrespect to today’s funny men/women intended.(or would be if they weren’t so dangerous to the normal British subject. pay your taxes and people might listen to you. though i doubt it.

  2. nick

    the sad part though mike so overlooked is that decent people have to work for this type of company and thats never good as it sets a bad example for the younger generation

    Stefano Pessina,is one of many who have only been about themselves they have no value and only those that are desperate would ever work for them

    i mean what universty student would ever set out as a goal in life wanting to work for boots or indeed any type of shop that has such a bad chairman as an example for leadership

    As my son who will be starting uni later this year will tell you “no one”.

  3. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    A non tax paying profiteering person who should not even be allowed to trade in the UK. There are many decent smaller firms offering excellent services which could easily take over from such a disgrace. He may think Labour would be bad for our economy but I think most of us with a brain of any value would say that we would be better off without Boots as, apart from decent employment, we would also get tax revenue.

  4. johnmangan47

    Let’s not forget that Boots also uses slaves provided by the Tory Workfare scheme, thus avoiding paying wages and saving on employers national insurance.

  5. London Image

    heres a thought…. our local hospital has had their pharmacy taken over by Boots. if you are given a prescription by the hospital. You can only get it filled at (you guessed it) Boots. We asked my specialist if he can write a normal green prescription (hospital ones are grey) and were told they are not allowed to give green ones.Is this not contravening monopoly laws?

  6. Bonnie

    A very good point re monopoly rules. Boots and other pharmacies directly benefit from the consulting services the NHS now pay them to provide in order to cut demand for actual doctors.

    A further point re: competition. Virgin Care now have the contract to provide Urgent Care services in Croydon. Not all people there are medics, just as many of the staff on the new 111 service are more call handlers than medics.

    There should be no NHS money going to outsourced providers. This can only cost the NHS more as profits and executive pay need to be factored in. We also have the difficulty of what happens should a private provider withdraw.

    I wonder if it occurs to these tax avoiding big hitters that it is taxes that pay to educate the people they employ, and taxes that pay for the health service to keep those staff well enough to work for the company. Taxes are also needed to make up the shortfall in substandard wages across the country and the scourge of zero hour contracts. This money allows people like him to get away with paying inadequate wages, and is then spent in turn at their shops.

  7. Florence

    How very sad that another proud & iconic brand – Boots – has been dragged down to this level by the money vultures. Poor old Jesse Boot must be turning in his grave. I wonder what will happen to the accountants’ balance sheet where the “brand value” (that is a major element in company value) turns out to have been smashed to smithereens by this oaf? While trying to be “helpful” to the Tories, this may just turn out to be another Ratner moment.

  8. Keith Jackson

    It is beyond scandalous that so many corporations are not paying their taxes, and are allowed to get away with it so easily, it begs the question, how much money is enough.

  9. dean axford

    Chuka shows why Labour isnt really labour anymore – just the friend of the rich and big business – another tory party in disquise – suggest we vote Green

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Are you reading the same words as the rest of us? Chuka stood up for the British people against the tax-avoiding corporate exploiter!
      Ah, but you’re another Green supporter, attacking the wrong party again.

Comments are closed.