Ministers at odds over payment

Javid says Google tax deal ‘not a glorious moment’

Sajid Javid 2Business Secretary Sajid Javid has called into question Chancellor George Osborne’s defence of the tax deal with internet giant Google.

Mr Javid said the agreement which will mean Google paying just £130 million over ten years was “not a glorious moment”.

Mr Javid told the Andrew Marr programme on BBC television that he spoke to many businesses who viewed the decision with “a sense of injustice.”

Google has earned an estimated £7.2 billionn profit in the UK over the past decade and the tax repayment amounts to a liability of about 3%.

Mr Osborne has welcomed the deal as evidence of the tax authorities getting tough on tax avoidance. But it has been condemned as trivial by the Opposition amid reports that authorities in other European countries were seeking far higher tax payments.

The Chancellor has pointed out that it is for the HM Revenue & Customs to carry out negotiations, but critics say it is the responsibility of the government to impose policy on tax affairs.

Mr Javid struck a blow against his Cabinet colleague which threatens to open wound on a sensitive and increasingly controversial issue.

“It wasn’t a glorious moment, when people look at these issues,” Mr Javid said. “But it is important, I think, to talk about also what the Government is doing.”

Google faces accusations to relocating profits from the UK to low-tax jurisdictions including Ireland.

Mr Javid continued: “I speak with thousands of companies, small and medium-sized as well as of course large companies, and there is a sense of injustice with what they see.

“They do look at this and they say, ‘Look, I don’t operate all these multiple jurisdictions around the world, I can’t shift profits around. What about me? Where’s the level playing field?’ and I share that sense and the sort of sense of unfairness that exists.”


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