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by Liam Kirkaldy
28 January 2016
Google tax deal: pressure builds on David Cameron

Google tax deal: pressure builds on David Cameron

Pressure is building on David Cameron over the tax deal HMRC struck with Google, with both Labour and the SNP calling for transparency over how the £130m figure was reached.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday raised concerns with Cameron in PMQs, saying the settlement represented a tax rate of just three per cent, a figure which was disputed by the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie has today written to European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, calling for an investigation into the settlement with Google UK.

French MEP Eva Joly, the vice-chairwoman of the Special European Parliamentary Committee on Tax Rulings, characterised the settlement as proof the UK was preparing “to become a kind of tax haven to attract multinationals”.

But Cameron said the Tories have done more than any other government to tackle tax evasion and avoidance.

He told the Commons: “We're talking about tax that should have been collected under a Labour government, raised by a Conservative government.”

Labour has written to the National Audit Office to request an investigation of HMRC's handling of the case, with Corbyn saying there was “one rule for big multinational companies, and another for ordinary small businesses and self-employed workers".

Joly said MEPs would call George Osborne to appear before them.

Calling on the European Commission to investigate, Hosie said: “There is a palpable sense of scepticism amongst the public, experts and even within the Conservative Party, that the tax settlement reached with Google represents value for the taxpayer.

“The truth is that we know very little about the settlement reached between the tax authorities and the company. These discussions have taken place in private, little detail has been revealed by the Treasury and the methodologies employed by HMRC are shrouded in secrecy.

Hosie added: “Working people and small and medium businesses do not have the luxury of negotiating down the amount of tax they have to pay – and we must now have independent verification that Google has not been extended that luxury by this Government.”

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