Cameron ‘happy’ for Commission to investigate Google tax deal

PM defends deal which sees internet giant hand over £130m in back taxes for 10 years

Google’s controversial £130 million 10-year deal with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on back taxes could be investigated by the European Commission following complaints. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Google’s controversial £130 million 10-year deal with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on back taxes could be investigated by the European Commission following complaints. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

 

British prime minister David Cameron has insisted he would be “very happy” for the European Commission to examine the UK’s controversial tax deal with Google.

Mr Cameron again defended the agreement, under which the internet giant handed over £130 million in back taxes covering the last decade, as a “success” and stressed the firm was now subject to tougher rules.

Asked on BBC Radio Scotland about the EU competition commissioner’s suggestion that she could consider whether the deal amounted to state subsidy, Mr Cameron said: “I am very happy for the EU to see what role it can play.

“I think the most important thing is to get countries to cooperate and I put this on the agenda at the G8 in Northern Ireland back in 2012 so that we exchange information about who is moving money where and who is paying taxes where.”

Mr Cameron, who has been visiting Aberdeen, said his administration had done more on bolstering international tax arrangements than “almost any government anywhere in the world”.

“I would say it (the deal) is a success because previously Google was not paying any tax at all,” he said.

“We’ve achieved this payment and now we want to see these companies pay more in future.”

Google’s controversial £130 million 10-year deal with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on back taxes could be investigated by the European Commission following complaints from the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager indicated she was ready to look into complaints that the settlement breached EU rules.

Both the SNP and Labour have written to Ms Vestager calling for an EU-level investigation into the arrangement. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested the deal could have broken state aid rules by offering Google “favourable treatment”.