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Ed Balls pledges to keep low corporation tax rate

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is to set out how Labour would help nurture British business by maintaining the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7 group of major industrialised nations.

At a speech in London, Mr Balls will say: "The last Labour Government left Britain with the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7 and we are committed to maintaining that position."

Ed Balls is setting out how business taxes would look under a Labour government. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

However he will also argue that a further cut in corporation tax next year is not "the right priority", instead committing Labour to a freeze on business rates that would affect 1.5 million business properties.

He will say the aim of Labour's business tax approach will be to make the UK "a great place to do business, not simply a cheap place to shift their profits".


Npower hasn't paid corporation tax for three years

Energy company RWE npower's new gas-fired Pembroke Power Station during its completion ceremony in Pembroke, Wales September 19, 2012. Credit: REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

The chief executive of one of the country's biggest energy firms, npower, has admitted to MPs that his firm has not paid corporation tax for three years.

It comes after the company's profits rose 34% to £413 million last year.

Paul Massara told the Energy and Climate Change select committee that the company invested more than £5 billion over the last five years in UK infrastructure.

This investment, combined with losses in their retail business between 2009-2010, meant they weren't eligible for corporation tax.

Mr Massara said: "This is in no way tax avoidance, and all of our business is taxable in the UK.

"We've not paid corporation tax because we've been investing hundreds of millions to keep the UK's lights on."