Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/766/16726
Big business tax avoidance scandal
Make the corporate fat cats pay!
We've been robbed! Every day big corporations are stealing millions from us; millions that could be used to employ doctors and nurses, to build desperately needed houses and to reverse the massive cuts being made by this Con-Dem coalition.
But hang on, it's okay. "It's called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I'm not confused about this," said Google chairman Eric Schmidt in defence of his company paying only £6 million in corporation tax while earning a staggering £2.7 billion from sales in Britain.
That amounts to a rate of 3.2% - a miniscule amount compared, for instance, to UK basic taxpayers who have to pay a rate of 20%.
Schmidt himself has done very well out of capitalism - he's number 45 in the Forbes 400 richest individuals in America and is 'worth' $8.2 billion, no wonder he's not confused!
Google's corporate motto urges: "Don't be evil". Presumably that exhortation is directed at anyone except the people who run the company itself.
Fellow evil-doers Amazon managed to top even this. They actually got more in government grants than they paid in tax; grants of £2.5 million covered its corporate tax bill of just £2.4 million, while the company had sales in Britain of £4.2 billion.
Where will these companies' ill-gotten profits go? They'll add to the over £850 billion of corporate profits already in the bank vaults in Europe or go to shareholders to be stashed in tax-havens for the super-rich, bulging with up to £20 trillion world-wide.
Eric Schmidt will be able to trade in his $72 million yacht and his $42 million jet for even swankier models.
Meanwhile, ordinary people are being driven into depression and suicide as they seek to cut their already meagre budgets in order to pay the bedroom tax, or a fuel bill higher than it needs to be because of the price-fixing of the energy companies.
Dave Cameron, known for his fearless pursuit of comedian Jimmy Carr over his tax avoidance, met Eric Schmidt this week and you would expect that the subject of Google's tax-dodging would've come up.
But no, apparently the issue of tax 'transparency' was only raised in a general fashion in preparation for the G8 group of countries meeting in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
Cameron is forced to make a speech from time to time about corporate tax avoidance, so that the Con-Dem government can appear even-handed as they inflict savage cuts and wage freezes on the working class.
But their real attitude is summed up by Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson after Cameron had criticised Starbucks for not paying any tax in Britain: "We should stop bashing wealth creation - such talk is absolute nonsense."
The Con-Dems won't control these huge companies - they are parties of big business. "It's called capitalism" - a system of production for profit and the capitalists will take as much as they can get away with.
We demand that these companies and the super-rich who own and run them should pay their tax and more - they could pay off the deficit tomorrow.
But only by nationalising these companies under democratic workers' control and management will we be able to harness their wealth-producing power to meet peoples' needs and end this economic madness where our jobs, education and futures have to be sacrificed to line the pockets of the super-rich.
- Over 100 of Britain's richest people are hiding billions of pounds in offshore tax havens
- 98 of the top 100 companies on the FTSE stock exchange are using tax havens, with firms such as Tesco and Barclays each owning hundreds of offshore subsidiaries
In The Socialist 22 May 2013:
Fight the bedroom tax
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news