BOOTS bosses behind a £1 billion tax avoidance scam were left shamefaced yesterday when doctors descended on its flagship store to demand the company coughs up.
Doctors in white coats marched on the Oxford Street store as anger rises over the £1.21 billion the high-street chemist has dodged in tax.
Health workers handed shoppers mock prescriptions for a properly funded NHS — starting with a probe into Boots’s tax avoidance scheme.
If the cash were clawed back by HM Revenue and Customs, it could fund the starting salary for 85,000 new NHS nurses or pay for more than two years’ prescription charges in England.
Members of health workers’ campaign Medact, anti-poverty group War on Want and union Unite joined forces to blow the whistle on the popular store’s tax swindle.
Medact chair David McCoy said: “Health professionals are seeing the impact of NHS cuts daily on their patients and communities.
"Meanwhile Boots and many other companies are profiting from NHS contracts, paid for by taxpayers, while not paying their full and fair share of taxes.”
A petition launched at the protest points out Boots receives 40 per cent of their income in Britain from the NHS through prescription dispensing and wholesale services.
And Unite general secretary Len McCluskey called on the Con-Dem government to end subsidies to the company unless it cleans up its act.
He said: “If it doesn’t, the government must make it, by closing the tax-avoidance loopholes and not granting public-service contracts to companies that avoid their tax liabilities.
“These practices must not be rewarded through the public purse.”