Nick Smith MP has challenged the Prime Minister to get tough on taxing the UK profits of some of the world’s biggest companies after new figures revealed yet another collection slump.
The Blaenau Gwent MP took the chance at PMQs to grill David Cameron on figures that proved seven US technology giants paid just £54m in Corporation Tax in 2012.
A year ago, the PM said he would make “damn sure” that foreign companies paid higher taxes after revelations over the tax arrangements of the likes of Google, Amazon and Starbucks.
But with $15bn in 2012 sales from the seven companies (Apple, eBay, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Amazon), Mr Smith said the taxpayer was missing out on millions of vital revenue.
Speaking after the PMQs session, Mr Smith said: “In my work on the Public Accounts Committee, we have seen first-hand the labyrinthine tax arrangements these companies deal in.
“They mean some of the biggest presences in our homes and high streets are reaping the benefits of our economy with very little obligation in return.
“When I hear a Prime Minister stand at the Dispatch Box and forcefully state he will make ‘damn sure’ this doesn’t continue to happen, I and the rest of the country expect action.
“Instead, this seems like a case of another Government promise Gone with the Wind, where frankly the Prime Minister doesn’t give a damn.”
Mr Smith has on several occasions called for the HMRC to make sure a fair share of tax is being paid after branding Amazon’s £2.4m contribution on £4bn of sales “pathetic” back in November 2012.
1) In Prime Minister’s Questions on January 8 2014, Nick Smith MP asked the following:
“A year ago the PM said he would make “damn sure” that foreign companies paid higher taxes. But in the FT on the weekend it was shown that companies like Apple and eBay are paying even less. Why isn’t the Prime Minister’s tough talk adding up to very much? “
In response, the Prime Minister said: “I think we are, I think he’s being a little unfair, I think we are making progress on this very difficult issue because we raised at the G8 the importance of having international rules on tax reporting and I think more countries working together on tax reporting and huge progress has been made not least in the European Union where for the first time countries like Luxembourg and Austria that have always held out against this information exchange are now taking part. The OECD work is going ahead apace partly because Britain has put its full efforts behind this vital work.
2) The figures were obtained from the Financial Times on Saturday, January 4.