POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Seizes On Google Tax Row As Labour Puts Tory Perks For 'Millionaires' At Heart Of Local Elections Campaign

05/03/2016 20:00 GMT

Labour has made the Google tax row a centrepiece of its local elections campaign as Jeremy Corbyn declared his party would take on Tory tax breaks for “millionaires”.

The party’s new posters for the campaign, revealed to HuffPostUK, ridicule George Osborne for failing to crack down harder on big corporations which have huge sales in the UK but pay relatively tiny sums in tax.

One poster - and animated online gif - depicts the Chancellor driving a ‘dodge-em’ car at a funfair as Google cars speed past him.

google tax

Labour's new attack ad

Another carries the slogan “The Tories Don’t Seem To Understand Fair Tax Contributions. Perhaps They Should Google It”.

Google agreed a controversial deal earlier this year to pay just £130m in back taxes to HM Customs and Revenue, despite making billions in revenues in the UK.

Mr Osborne sparked a backlash when he hailed the deal as a "victory", while Labour's John McDonnell said the sums were "trivial".

Using its slogan ‘Standing up, not standing by’, Labour aims to contrast the way the millionaires have been given tax breaks under the Conservatives while many ordinary Britons have seen their wages fail to keep up with the cost of living.

The billboards were published as Mr Corbyn set out his stall for the May 5 local elections, with its key themes focused on the economy, housing, policing and the NHS.

google tax

One of the new posters

“This election is a chance to vote for a Labour Party that will stand up for you – the alternative to a Tory government in hock to vested interests, whose unfair choices are putting at risk people’s living standards and the public services we rely on,” he said.

“The damaging choices the Tories are making - cutting in-work support while millionaires get tax breaks - are a risk to family finances, while their failure to invest for the future is putting economic recovery at risk.

“Deep Tory cuts are putting the public services we rely on are at risk, with thousands of police officers axed and the NHS going backwards, with longer waits and financial crisis.”

The Google tax row is ‘symbolic’ of the wider issue Labour wants to raise about the priorities of the Tory government, a Labour source said.

This week Facebook finally appeared to be close to a deal on the taxes it ought to pay in Britain. The social media giant paid a mere £4,327 in corporation tax in the UK in 2014, despite the UK being one of the company's biggest markets outside the US.

May 5 is the biggest national electoral test for Mr Corbyn since he won his leadership by a landslide among Labour party members.

As well as English town halls, there are elections for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, the Mayor of London and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

jeremy corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Corbyn said that Labour under his leadership would "stand up" strongly to Tory austerity that was hitting police services, housing and the economy more widely.

“Labour will take a different approach. We will stand up for working people to build an economy which works for all – one where prosperity is shared, pay is fair and jobs are secure," he said.

“We will stand up for families and individuals struggling to buy or rent a home, by delivering more and better housing. And we will stand up against the unfair Tory cuts to protect the vital public services we all rely on. We will protect the police from deep Tory cuts. And we will invest in the NHS to rescue it from Tory neglect.

“That’s the choice at this election: a Tory Government which is putting the living standards of millions of working families at risk, or a Labour Party that will stand up for you.”

Labour has seized on figures showing that cuts to benefits and tax changes will leave over two million families on average £1,600 a year worse off, while those at the very top have been given tax breaks such as the cut from the 50p rate to 45p.