There should be a tangible benefit for shoppers generally and not just those concerned about the price of Aldi sausages compared to the Tesco sausages of equal weight, meat content , Irish provenance and Bord Bia certification.
The read-through from the case is that all supermarkets will have to pay much more attention to their in-store comparison material as they do with the adds they publish in national newspapers.
This can only be of benefit to shoppers they fight their way down the crowded aisles.
One question left un-answered by the settlement is why it took a scrap between two retailers to bring about – hopefully – higher standards in this area rather than action by one of the plethora of state agencies that are committed to protecting consumer rights.
Taking a cash tip from Starbucks
The timing of Thursday’s unveiling by EU tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta of a series of proposals to tackle corporate tax evasion was interesting.
On the same day, Starbucks announced it is to pay a £20 million (€25 million) tax donation to the UK government in a desperate bid to gain control of a controversy that is becoming something of a public relations nightmare.
Starbucks’ offer to pay £10 million each year for two years sets an uneasy precedent for other companies.
The company has also been accused of just throwing money at a problem, when really the solution lies in radical legislative and tax reform.
Enter stage left, the European Commission – or maybe not.
It published a series of 30 recommendations for European countries to help tackle tax evasion and avoidance.
These include a commitment to review corporate merger rules, the introduction of an EU-wide tax identification number and the adoption of common anti-abuse standards by EU countries.
Whether these recommendations will lead to any change is the real question. As various commentators have pointed out, many of the rules suggested have already been implemented by OECD member countries.
Ultimately, recommendations are likely to be non-binding, although they will be presented to European finance ministers and the European Parliament next year. This is likely to occur during Ireland’s presidency of the EU, while the Government also plans to hold a number of high-level meetings on the topic during the presidency.
While Ireland will be keen to prove its strong tax compliance credentials, the issue is an uncomfortable one for the State, given the diplomatic tensions around the issue of Ireland’s corporation tax rate.
Throwing a light on the intricacies of the tax agreements, and the loopholes and accounting structures that underpin the international operations of multinational companies, is something that Ireland could do without.
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