The Sunday Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has launched another attack on Google, presumably in its continuing battle with the Internet giant over access to free news. The Times claims that Google has paid little if any tax in the UK as its legal base is in Ireland.
Politicians have of course waded in saying that Google is avoiding its social responsibility. Vince Cable said that this “really sticks in the throat” and Labour’s Austin Mitchell, who fights against tax avoidance, said that Google was not only sucking advertising money out of local newspapers but by avoiding tax it was also draining public finances.
The Times goes on to show that the highest paid UK Director for Google earned £1.1 million last year and that the average UK Google worker earned some £90,000.
The newspaper also points out that David Cameron, the Conservative leader appointed Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt, onto the party’s Economic Recovery Committee and soon afterwards suggested that Google could run the NHS records system.
But what short memories The Times hopes we all have. As far back as 19th March 1999 it was reported by the BBC that, according to the Economist, Rupert Murdoch had not then paid any UK tax for 11 years.
More recently it was reported in the Guardian (2nd December 2009) that News Corp was under fire from the Australian government for setting up complex tax avoidance measures when it moved its headquarters to the US, which has they say has wrongly deprived Australia, the UK and the US billions in tax. I found these snippets and many, many more just by Googling it of course.