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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 November 2012

National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC congress in Manchester September 2010, photo Paul Mattsson

National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC congress in Manchester September 2010, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Make the corporate tax dodgers pay up!

Nationalise gas, water and other utility companies

Starbucks, Google, Amazon, Pfizer - the list of corporate tax dodgers grows and grows. On top of that it has emerged that gas companies have allegedly been fixing the price of wholesale gas to further boost their mega profits. Becci Heagney explains another outrage in the utility companies.

Among the latest tax avoidance revelations, the Observer has exposed the water companies. Three main providers have paid little or no corporation tax, despite declaring hundreds of millions of pounds in profits and paying huge dividends to their shareholders.

Thames Water had a net cash inflow of 943 million in 2010-11 but only paid 26 million in tax and for 2012 they got a tax rebate of 79.6 million!

In 2012 Yorkshire Water paid just 2.9 million tax on operational profit of 303 million and one part of Anglian Water paid no corporation tax at all.

All of these companies paid their chief executives massive bonuses though. For example Peter Simpson, the boss of Anglian Water, got a bonus of 626,700 on top of his 300,000 salary. Collectively, between 2009 and 2011 these companies paid over 3 billion in dividends to their holding and financing companies.

Customers of these companies would be forgiven for thinking it strange, then, that their bills are going up this year. Anglian Water is increasing its bills on average by 22, Yorkshire Water by 21 and Thames Water by as much as 80 a year in 2014.

People feeling the pinch don't have much choice as in most areas one company has a monopoly and there is nowhere else you can go for lower prices. So much for Thatcher's 1989 Tory Party conference promise: "Once water is in the private sector, companies will...give the customer a far better deal."

These companies assert they are 'delaying', not 'avoiding', paying their tax. They borrow large sums of money and offset their interest payments against the amount of tax they are supposed to pay and also claim capital allowances on investments - promising to pay their tax 'somewhere' down the line.

We need to kick out these parasitical profiteers who increase prices, make massive profits but still refuse to pay tax.

All of the water companies should be brought back into public ownership. They should be run under democratic workers' control and management so that we have an efficient, affordable service.

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In The Socialist 14 November 2012:


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