google tax avoidance
On Wednesday, Ed Miliband made a speech at Google - a business that has been making headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. To the outsider, the profitability of its business model looks plain to see. Yet of £3bn of revenue earned in the UK, it has paid only £3m in tax. Google are not alone in this seeming imbalance. The UK tax bill paid by companies from Amazon to Apple to Starbucks has raised deep concerns among businesses and families who pay their fair share. These are all prominent examples of a more general conundrum: the struggles for national governments framing tax rules for global companies.
The problem for Miliband, and indeed anyone else looking to crack down on corporate tax avoidance, is that the world has changed. On this issue, the politicians are chasing the rampant forces of capitalism, and they appear powerless at the foot of the economic tornado.
The choices we make will begin to determine whether we have a responsible capitalism or an irresponsible one. The events of the past three weeks have only served to underline how distant and distracted David Cameron, not to mention his divided party, has become from addressing these issues.
Calls for a Google boycott in the wake of the latest tax avoidance revelations are gathering pace. But how easy would it