“It’s an interesting thing,” said Mr Clean, of the Shop-Front Windows Association, “because we’ve had a massive high street presence for donkey’s years and yet we’ve always been profitable and we’ve always managed to pay our tax. Indeed, our company accounts, like our products, are totally transparent.”
Mr Clean was speaking to us on a bustling street, leaning against the gigantic windows of one of the hundreds of branches of Starbucks which have, in recent years, spread like a profitless, untaxable plague, clogging the arteries of every town and city in the UK.
“It’s just a shame,” he said, rapping his fingers against the enormous, unmarked yet fragile, sparkling glass frontage, “that there isn’t a simple and obvious way to ensure that other major high street presences contribute in some way towards the local and national economy…”
He whistled absent-mindedly.
“Myself, I’ve always been a real sponger, of course. Honest,” he quipped drily, picking up his bucket and squeegee and heading off down the road without a backward glance.