David Cameron accused of double standards by keeping Google head as adviser despite corporate tax avoidance allegations levelled at the company

Prime Minister has been urged to drop Eric Schmidt

David Cameron has been accused of double standards after retaining the head of Google as an adviser even though the company has allegedly taken advantage of the corporate tax avoidance he has condemned.

The Prime Minister has been urged to drop Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, from his Business Advisory Panel to send a message that the Government is serious about cracking down on tax avoidance by multinationals like Google, Starbucks and Amazon. In 2011, Google paid £6m corporation tax on £2.5bn of revenues in the UK.

Mr Cameron has promised to use Britain’s year chairing the G8 leading economies to ensure more transparency over taxes paid by big companies, who are under growing pressure to disclose how much they pay on a country-by-country basis.

Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrats’ former Treasury spokesman, told Mr Cameron in a letter: “Your campaign as chairman of the G8 against tax dodging by big companies will be holed below the waterline if you keep Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, on your Business Advisory Panel.

“You attack Starbucks, who have at least accepted they must pay more tax in this country. But you are laying yourself wide open to a charge of selective indignation on tax dodging, as in the case of [the comedian] Jimmy Carr. Mr Schmidt sees no shame in Google paying almost no tax in Britain and using complex offshore arrangements to avoid massive amounts of tax.Google are world class tax-dodgers, with Starbucks merely minor league players.”

Downing Street declined to comment about Google’s position. Aides have insisted that Mr Cameron had never singled out individual firms.

A Google spokesman said last night: “We comply with all the tax rules in the UK. We make a substantial contribution to the UK economy through local, payroll and corporate taxes. We also employ over 2,000 people, help hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow online and invest millions supporting new tech businesses in East London.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in