Feeds

Ed Miliband brands Google's UK tax avoidance 'WRONG'

Pfft. 'Just capitalism? I disagree!'

Top three mobile application threats

Big Tent Ed Miliband launched a caustic attack on Google today, saying: "When Google goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying its taxes, I say it’s wrong."

The Labour party leader - who was speaking at Google's annual Big Tent event in Watford - accused the "biggest companies" of having a "culture of irresponsibility" when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes in the UK.

He likened corporate attitudes toward taxation to the careless attitudes of British bankers prior to the banking crisis, telling the crowd: "I do have deep problems about the culture [at internet firms] and I don't think it's that different from the banks." But he stopped short of saying the actions of Google and other tech corporations, such as Apple, could "lead to a [financial] meltdown".

Miliband argued that a country was more able to succeed if companies adopted a approach that embodied corporate responsibility.

The leader of the opposition also paid tribute to Google for its successes, saying the firm remained "at the forefront" of the internet.

Miliband went on to talk about the "vested interests" of larger companies, which he said operated within the current law when it comes to the contentious issue of taxes, but could do a lot better.

"Power shouldn't accumulate between a few powerful firms," he said.

Miliband said that balance was needed to prevent monopolies forming while ensuring that innovation wasn't stifled.

His party has called on a digital ombudsman to simplify the complex existing regulation around intellectual property, design and piracy.

The Labour leader added that he welcomed Google's call for tax reform. Miliband said he wanted country-by-country accountability, transfer pricing to be addressed and a crackdown on tax havens. He also claimed his party would, if elected, act alone if an international agreement failed to be reached.

Watch out, Ed, Google's behind you!

Google had failed to stick to the company's notorious "don't be evil" motto, he claimed. He said the ad giant had been "wrong" to pay such a small amount of tax on its UK revenues, and cited Google's founders' pledge to take a hit with short-term results in order to avoid being "evil".

"I can’t be the only person here who feels disappointed that such a great company as Google, with such great founding principles, will be reduced to arguing that when it employs thousands of people in Britain, makes billions of pounds of revenue in Britain, it’s fair that it should pay just a fraction of one per cent of that in tax," he said.

"So when Google does great things for the world, I applaud you. But when [Google exec chairman] Eric Schmidt says its current approach to tax is just 'capitalism', I disagree."

Miliband added: "When Google goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying its taxes, I say it’s wrong."

At one point, Reg readers might be delighted to hear that Miliband flashed up a picture of the Chocolate Factory's Willy Wonka to show how the fictional sweet-toothed character believed that the route to a fairer society was via capitalism. Google, of course, certainly agrees with that. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.