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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Give the Beeb a break and target the tax avoiders

There is a huge amount of energy and hot air being expended on the future of the BBC and whether its ex-Director General should be given a full year’s pay-off for resigning.

The Corporation seems to be in a state of meltdown at the moment, with people calling for it to be reorganised, programmes to be scrapped and various people’s heads to decorate the railings of Buckingham Palace.

All this pales into insignificance compared to the tax avoidance trails and tangles used by some of our major High Street names.

Whether or not George Entwistle is paid £450,000 severance is chickenfeed compared to the billions that this country is owed in taxes by big business.

You may have missed it, but the head of Google UK and top brass from Starbucks and Amazon appeared before the Public Accounts Committee in the House of Commons this week to discuss their tax payments. Or lack of them.

Starbucks has reported a taxable profit only once in its 15 years of operating in the UK.

All three companies admitted they use favourable tax deals with other European nations to avoid full tax payments in this country. Margaret Hodge, who chairs the parliamentary committee, said she thought it was right for customers to boycott the three companies.

It would be better if she urged the Government to clamp down on such avoidance schemes.

As for the Beeb, we need to think more clearly and calmly about all of this.

The integrity of the Corporation has been called into question over two appalling errors of judgement. But they must be taken into account in context and judged alongside its massive output and past performances.

It’s just one example, but everyone seems to have forgotten about the brilliant exposé by Panorama of the abuse of residents at the Winterbourne View private care home in Bristol.

We are currently engaged in trial by troll. The internet should be used as a tool for information and entertainment. Not as a court of law.

The integrity of the BBC was upheld by Radio 4 Today anchorman John Humphrys when he interviewed under-fire director general George Entwistle on Saturday morning.

Entwistle’s poor performance under the presenter’s hard and forensic questioning is said to have forced his resignation.

I can’t think of any other organisation where an employer would have thought of questioning their boss so fiercely, let alone have been allowed to.

I don’t remember Rupert Murdoch appearing on Sky TV at the height of the News of the World furore...

ITV has not been held to account for the stupid stunt by Philip Schofield of handing over a sheet of names of suspected paedophiles that he had trawled the internet for.

There has been an apology, but no mention of reprimands for him, the show director or studio manager for such a crass move and which David Cameron handled so well.

Changes are probably needed at the BBC. Management could be tightened and should be more transparent.

But we all need to take a deep breath and calm down and focus on what is more important for the country.

Like tightening and making more transparent our business tax regulations.

Have your say

news and star, do you check the articles you print ? there is a massive difference between the BBC and the listed companies mark green uses to compare it with. this is a "non article" and a waste of space.

Posted by craig on 9 January 2013 at 04:13

Business Tax Regulations

"All three companies admitted they use favourable tax deals" - yes, and all LEGAL otherwise they would have been prosecuted surely.

If you are reading this are you guilty of : Having an ISA? Buying duty free goods? Making a "favourable" entry on your tax return? Living abroad? Living on the Isle of Man? Having a bank account on the Isle of Man or in Switzerland? any other method of legitimate tax relief?

These companies have been doing this for years; it's a legitimate method of maximising profit, and I for one don't blame them, what with the stupid rates of purchase, income and corporation tax in this country compounded with minimum rates of pay, high property rates & rents, it's really difficult to see how a shop on the high street can pay it's way these days. I guess they got to buy cheap and sell expensive then cut any other costs when and where they can. Yeehaw !

Posted by Derek on 11 December 2012 at 11:48

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