STEPHEN HEPBURN: Google should pay its fair share of tax

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If you or I missed Sunday’s deadline to file a tax return and pay what’s owed, we’d be hit with an immediate £100 fine followed by further penalties, interest and potential legal action.

So here in this area thousands of people who are self-employed and running small businesses sweated blood to get theirs in on time.

Try Googling the US internet giant Google and you’ll read the fabulously profitable corporation did a sweetheart deal with Tory Chancellor George Osborne and handed over what was for them a bit of loose change to cover 10 years tax. TEN years!

The owners must be sniggering behind their skinny lattes while pretending they’re doing us a favour when they pay a tax rate calculated by experts to be just 3% when the basic rate for everybody with a job is nearly seven times higher at 20%.

I’ve always believed that everybody should pay their fair dues to fund nurses, teachers, council staff, firefighters, police officers, the armed forces and every public service which makes Britain a civilised country and great place to live.

Except there is nothing fair about companies such as Google giving a few coppers when the average salary of its team in Britain is tens of thousands of pounds a year and the firm’s able to afford a £1 billion new HQ in London.

Google likes to think of itself as super cool and its offices include – get this – allotments, rocking chairs, a dance studio and, for meetings, a padded cell.

I don’t know about you but I’m fed up with these multinationals enjoying preferential treatment, the more they earn the less they pay.

An inquiry into Google was set up in 2009 during the last Labour Government because it appeared to be paying little or no tax and after all these years later the Tories have let it get away with paying scandalously little tax.

The £130m agreed is peanuts when Google’s annual sales are £4.6 billion a year in Britain and if that is a “major success”, as Chancer Osborne boasted, I’d hate to see what he considers a failure.

Osborne should remember he’s supposed to be representing British taxpayers instead of sounding like Google’s spokesman in Britain.

You deserve a Government on your side yet once again we find the Tories on the wrong side.

It isn’t just the kid glove treatment of Google.

They’re swinging a wrecking ball into the NHS and we must never forgive the Conservatives for shutting our Jarrow Walk In Centre.

The £12 billion social security cuts take most money out of the wage packets of people in work, the strivers and toilers who graft and their thanks from Osborne and the rest of the Tories is a pay cut.

The cruellest cut of all was the bedroom tax and what does Tory axeman Iain Duncan Smith do when judges ruled his illegal policy discriminated against families with a disabled member and women terrorised by domestic violence? He squanders more taxpayers’ money on a legal appeal, prolonging the agony of his victims.

Heartless doesn’t begin to describe the nastiness of incompetent Conservatives showing their true colours after the dishonest soft soap of that party’s election campaign.

But did you really expect anything less from Conservatives who let big corporations off the hook while punishing the disabled and battered wives?

No. Me neither.