We’ll crack down on tax abuse - Cable

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The UK government is ready to take action on “systematic abuse” of the tax system carried out by multinational companies to keep their payments down, Business Secretary Vince Cable said yesterday.

He indicated that action could be expected from Chancellor George Osborne, who delivers his autumn statement on 5 December.

His comments come after widespread criticism of coffee chain Starbucks and internet giants Amazon and Google over measures they have taken, within the law, to reduce their tax liabilities in the UK.

The boss of department store John Lewis has appealed to the government to change the way foreign multinational companies are taxed, warning that firms based in overseas tax havens could “out-invest and ultimately out-trade” businesses paying full taxes in the UK.