Google UK pay staff average wage of £160,000

Google UK 'is not a back office support operation'

Thousands of Google’s UK staff earned an average wage of £160,000 each last year it has emerged.

The wage appears to contradict claims made by the company that its UK branch was a relatively small part of the organisation compared to its US headquarters and other global operations.

Margaret Hodge, former head of the Public Accounts committee, claimed the figure proves Google’s UK operations are more valuable to the company than previously stated.

Ms Hodge said the high average salary suggests Google UK “is not a back office support operation. These are clearly people who are paid a lot because they add value – selling advertising, closing deals and developing new products.”

The average salary of the UK staff is revealed following major criticism of Google’s UK tax operations.

The company has been accused of sending nearly £4.6 billion of UK sales through Ireland, then on through a labyrinth of companies in the Netherlands and Bermuda, the Guardian reports.

The UK tax authorities have been criticised for accepting Google’s claims its UK employees did not do business with British advertisers.

Last month the firm struck a controversial “sweetheart” deal with the Government to pay only £130m of back taxes on a decade’s worth of UK profits.

Calculations by The Independent suggested Google may owe as much as £700m in UK taxes.

Barney Jones, a tax whistle blower who worked for Google’s UK sales department and who handed over tens of thousands of emails to investigators revealing infromation about the search engine's UK tax, said: “Britain was a key player in generating sales for the tech firm’s global operations.

“They do a lot of high-value sales, marketing and engineering – all out of London. I find it utter baffling that HMRC accept that these people do almost nothing worthwhile.”