Fleet News

Boots' bus bill could block green plans

THE Government has been lambasted for its continuing 'two-faced' attitude to the environment after the Inland Revenue issued a £500,000 tax bill to Boots for supporting a bus service for staff. Tax officers are demanding six years' back taxes from the leading high street store because it pays bus services to come on to its massive production site near Nottingham, where 6,500 people work.

Buses used to come to the edge of the site, but Boots provides £250,000 a year for 60 buses a day to travel through its massive complex and make several stops. Money goes straight to the bus companies and staff pay a full fareThe Inland Revenue says the service counts as a benefit-in-kind and in a recent audit has demanded the huge payment of back taxes for the maximum period allowed.

The move flies in the face of Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions demands for companies to implement their own green transport plans. Last week, Transport Minister Dr John Reid stood up in Parliament and told fellow MPs that one of the Government's main aims was to encourage large firms to get staff to use alternative transport. A spokesman for Boots said: 'Other firms are going to look at what has happened to Boots and ask if it is worth the trouble to introduce a green transport plan. We have a reputation for getting things right, so firms will think 'if Boots has been hit with a bill for £500,000, is there any point in us trying to make a difference?'

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