Tories persist in supporting Google’s tax avoidance

Bermuda, the British overseas territory where Google is believed to have amassed £30bn of profits from non-US sales [Image: Alamy].

The latest chapter in the Google tax avoidance saga hammers home the Conservative Government’s indifference to tax avoidance.

Instead of supporting efforts to end the practice by major corporations, the Treasury – controlled by George Osborne, who ‘negotiated’ Google’s pitiful £130 million tax offer and whose family company, Osborne and Little, itself seems to have issues with the payment of taxes – has been trying to stop the EU from taking action against it.

The memo sent to Tory MEPs describes such action as “unhelpful”, leading to the obvious response:

For whom?

Britain has been privately lobbying the EU to remove the tax haven through which Google funnels billions of pounds of profits from an official blacklist, the Observer can reveal.

Treasury ministers have told the European commission that they are “strongly opposed” to proposed sanctions against Bermuda, a favoured shelter for Google’s profits and one of 30 tax jurisdictions in Brussels’s sights.

The disclosure is made in a memorandum circulated among Tory MEPs in Brussels that describes potential “countermeasures” against blacklisted tax havens as “unhelpful”.

Source: Tories lobbying to protect Google’s £30bn island tax haven | Technology | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


20 thoughts on “Tories persist in supporting Google’s tax avoidance

  1. shaun

    Now this is an unsubstantiated guess, but could the E.U.’s proposed action against tax havens, be why so many media moguls and some Tory M.P’s are so anti-E.U.?

    p.s. this is really just an un-evidenced guess.

    1. John Gaines.

      Michael Lewis On Why The Bank Bailout Was A Mistake

      The easy answer to that one is YES! Skint Banksters and Drone Corporations have enmeshed us in so much DEBT that the Nation would be wiped out if we defaulted. We may as well ‘Nationalise the ruddy lot, were keeping them anyway.

      I understood the logic in 2008-9 of bailing out the big financial institutions to prevent complete meltdown. The problem I had was the view by both Administrations that the individuals in the institutions were just as sacred as the institutions. the various stupid and criminal decisions were made by people, not institutions. the flat out refusal to even investigate to see if individuals should be removed from their positions and/or prosecuted is probably the most destabilizing part of the bailout.

      This apparent immunity is now leading to them lobbying for the rules to be changed even further to virtually eliminate any future potential for prosecution if another blow-up occurs. People who can take major risks in search of a massive payout with very little downside are an almost sure-fired way to lead to a bubble at some point. Socializing losses and privatizing gains is the antithesis of real capitalism.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        The UK, as a nation with its own sovereign currency, will never default on its debts. Everything proceeding from such a threat is a false assumption.

  2. casalealex

    Memo to MEPs says:

    “Britain has been privately lobbying the EU to remove the tax haven……”

    then :

    “Treasury ministers have told European Commission that they are ‘strongly opposed to proposed sanctions against Bermuda……”

    which seems like a contradiction in terms…..?

    1. Daniel

      “Britain has been privately lobbying the EU to remove the tax haven…. from official blacklists”

      If you read the whole thing it makes perfect sense, Bermuda has been identified as a tax haven by the EU and is facing trading sanctions to tackle this. The British government are opposed to these sanctions, since they would hurt the multinational companies that use Bermuda as a way to avoid paying billions in taxes across the world.

  3. David Woods

    Who’s been paying the ‘lobbyists’?
    They certainly don’t do things for free – At least we only have to wait for the loudest squeals to see the favoured Tory’s tax havens; and shouldn’t HMRC be investigating companies like the Osborne and Little group!
    Any company (in business) that fails to gain enough revenue to pay tax for any length of time is either a money laundering front or is in full on tax avoidance!

  4. Terry Davies

    dont vpte out of EU as the right wing will be hoping to change this country to a tax haven and low waged economy. Slave- like working conditions will exist for the working classes as a norm. ie zero hour contracts etc.

    1. Stephen Mellor

      Nothing wrong with zero-hours contracts. I have several.

      What *is* wrong, and should be illegal, is the restraint-of-trade implied by demanding exclusivity.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        In fact, there really isn’t anything wrong with zero-hour contracts, if they are used properly – for example, by people who already have secure incomes but wish to supplement them with extra cash and are flexible regarding the time in which they are available to do the work. From your words, it seems you fall into this category.

        The problems arise when zero-hour contracts are imposed inappropriately – for example in jobs where full-time contracts are more appropriate – simply because the employer wishes to save money on annoying things like sick pay, holiday entitlement/pay, and pensions.

      2. Stephen Mellor

        ¶1: Fine.

        ¶2, first half: At no point is there any reason (except what you describe below–which is not a reason) to distinguish between “employment” and hourly work.

        ¶2, second half: There is no reason why any employer should pay for “sick pay”. That’s what insurance is for. Nor holiday. Either you work or you don’t. Nor pensions. When “the employer pays”, it merely takes from take-home pay that the worker is better placed to decide how to spend. (Though I’d require saving, as in Singapore, to avoid becoming a burden on the state.)

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        Here in the UK there are legal reasons for employers to continue paying the workforce during times of illness. Also the message it sends if an employer doesn’t – that the company does not care about that person’s health and the contribution they make to the company’s own health – is counterproductive; it gets a reputation as a bad employer that people try to shun and avoid if possible. Likewise with holiday pay – if an employer doesn’t want staff taking holidays, he or she can expect poor staff, providing poor results.
        I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about the first half of paragraph two, so I won’t comment on it.
        Your attitude remains despicable.

      4. Stephen Mellor

        True. And those legal reasons are impediments to employment.

        And I agree that people should take time off.

        So tell me, what the difference between being paid for 45 weeks of work in a year at £1000/wk (with 7 weeks) off and £866/wk with 7 weeks paid holiday

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        I do not know anybody who is paid such astronomical amounts.
        Is this why you are so wildly opposed to the Living Wage – you do not understand that people are paid so little that they need it in order to live without claiming benefits?
        You really need to go out and buy yourself a dose of the Real World.

      6. Stephen Mellor

        I picked a random amount to make the computation easier.

        Make it £100/week for all I care.

        *Then* answer the question. What’s the difference?

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        Easy. With the lower figures, nobody would be able to stay in the job long enough to take a holiday; it would not pay enough to keep a roof over their head, food on the table, or pay their other expenses. Financial necessity would drive them out of it. Any employer offering such a pitiful amount, in a UK without a minimum wage to stop him, would very quickly go out of business for lack of any kind of committed workforce.
        That doesn’t touch on the holiday pay issue at all, but I doubt you would understand it in any case if you didn’t understand why you failed at the first hurdle – the amount paid per week. And you didn’t.

      8. Stephen Mellor

        None too good at abstraction, are we?

        Let’s try this then: £500 wk for 45 weeks (taking 7 weeks unpaid leave) or £433/wk for a year with 7weeks holiday?

        Go on. Give it a go.

      9. Mike Sivier Post author

        Even at that level, it doesn’t matter.
        People need to be able to take a break.
        Otherwise their concentration levels plummet and their health suffers.
        Governments of the past knew this. That’s why legislation was passed requiring employers to provide paid holiday in the first place.
        Governments of the past also knew that people become ill and that, in most cases, this passes. Hence legislation supporting paid sick leave.
        Removal of these – fairly basic and obvious – requirements creates serious problems in terms of productivity and workforce resources. It places increased burdens on the health service – not just due to physical health problems but mental health problems due to the stress imposed on people who are trying to drag themselves into work despite immense fatigue or illness, fearful all the while that their boss will realise they are not fit – or seize on substandard work, due to fatigue – and end their employment.
        Would you have us revert to a private health service in which everybody pays for their own care? Do you have the nerve to suggest that this would solve the problem because such an employee would not have the wherewithal to pay for treatment and would therefore simply curl up and die in a corner somewhere out of sight, and would not be a burden to anybody any more? And in the meantime, someone else could be taken on, to do the same job in the same way until they are used up too?
        What happens when everybody available has been used up and killed off in this manner? Oh, I know – relocate to India to exploit Johnny Foreigner the same way, as you’ve previously suggested.
        What an immense waste of working people, resources and potential.
        What if one of the people you’ve exploited and thrown away happens to be a genius who’s only waiting for an opportunity to shine – but doesn’t get the chance due to being stuck on your treadmill? That’s an opportunity lost. How big an opportunity? Nobody knows.
        Please take your vile ideas and stuff them where they belong – the 19th century.

      10. Stephen Mellor

        Blah blah blah. And non-responsive too.

        They get 7 weeks off both ways. And they’re paid roughly the same.

        Sorry, mate, but the Uberisation of the economy is inevitable.

        Catch up!

      11. Mike Sivier Post author

        That’s your response?
        Utterly pathetic.
        Your believe in a philosophy that is even more backward than you are.
        Now get off my blog. I won’t be bothered with you for a while.

Comments are closed.