Fast food chain McDonald's has bowed to an online campaign and declined an Olympic tax break, just days before the start of the Games.
The move follows a story by Ethical Consumer magazine and pressure from the online campaign group 38 Degrees whose online petition has gathered more than 150,000 signatures. 38 Degrees said this morning: "It's working!"
McDonald's have said they won't be taking the tax break — but "please sign the petition to keep pressure on the other sponsors."
Visa declined to comment on whether it would now refuse the tax break, while British Airways said the tax exemption did not apply to the UK companies. Other foreign sponsors, which include Coca-Cola, were in the process of formulating their response, or could not be reached.
These new rules mean that so-called partner organisations, such as Coca-Cola and Visa, could pay no tax at all on their earnings from the Games. McDonald's made clear that the cost of turning down the break would be minimal, as revenue from the Games would be less than 0.1% of its annual sales in the UK.
Richard Murphy from the Tax Justice Network said: "It is bound to cost the UK tens of millions of pounds to give tax concessions. We're giving money away that we need to solve our debt crisis and to preserve essential public services."