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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12194: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 25 October 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports that Boots and its parent company, Boots Alliance, have avoided an estimated £1.21 billion in tax since 2007, whether it will confirm what public sector contracts (a) it has and (b) its agencies have awarded to the companies in this period, and what its position is on whether awarding such contracts to businesses that avoid tax is ethical.

Answered by: Derek Mackay 2 November 2017

The Scottish Government has not awarded any public contracts to Boots or Boots Alliance since 2007. We do not hold contract information with regards to agencies of the Scottish Government, these bodies are responsible for their own procurement decisions.

The Scottish Government is determined to act decisively on tax avoidance where we have the powers to do so. We have taken a simple and clear but robust approach to tackling avoidance of the devolved taxes.

The procurement Regulations contain grounds for the exclusion of a supplier from a procurement process, including circumstances in which a supplier has breached tax or social security obligations. Statutory guidance published on 17 March 2016 provides advice on dealing with suppliers who have been involved in the non-payment of tax, and explains how and when they can be excluded from public contracts.

Public bodies are encouraged to use these mechanisms to help tackle those suppliers who do not comply with their tax obligations.