Facing MPs on the public accounts committee alongside Google and Amazon, Starbucks' chief financial officer, Troy Alstead, said the coffee giant's smaller-than-expected tax bill was a result of its UK business making a profit only once in the past 15 years.
HOW I SEE IT
Andrew Robinson, Director, Newgate Communications
Given that Starbucks has not done anything illegal, the tax-avoidance story has been dragging on for nearly a month. Clearly too slow in its initial reaction to the media, Starbucks probably hoped a smooth presentation at this week's public accounts committee meeting would end the debate.
CFO Troy Alstead provided a solid, if inevitably futile, siege-defence of Starbucks' tax affairs and business model, while being pilloried by an often showboating committee. His performance was admirable, dealing calmly with sometimes rude and too often repetitive lines of questioning.
While Alstead presented as a capable CFO, it felt as if he had just stepped off a plane, but left the engines running.
The story needs a conclusion, but if UK Uncut does protest outside Starbucks stores, as expected, it will drag on.