HSBC
A taxi drives past a branch of HSBC bank in LondonReuters

Almost half of the British public have reconsidered using companies that avoid tax in the UK, according to a new survey from Ipos Mori.

Forty-five per cent of consumers said they would think again about buying products and services if a company had avoided paying UK taxes, as the public has grown more cynical and mistrustful over British business.

The survey showed that the number of Brits boycotting firms over a poor corporate social responsibility record had increased between 2013 and 2014.

The survey follows damaging allegations about the Swiss private banking arm of the British bank HSBC.

The Swiss private HSBC bank has allegedly helped wealthy clients avoid tax.

The bank published a full page apology in a number of newspapers last weekend and has said it has now "fundamentally changed".

HM Revenue and Customs was given data relating to tax evasion at HSBC in 2010 and has identified 1,100 people who had not paid their taxes.

"The financial sector has cast a long shadow over British business as a whole and perceived corporate misbehaviour around tax even by a small minority further entrenches cynicism around corporate responsibility," said Helen Lamb, associate director at Ipsos Mori.

"Companies are going to have to work hard to maintain their reputations and re-build public confidence in their motivations," Lamb said.

The latest survey reflects a trend of growing disenchantment with big business that was triggered by the global financial crisis.