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Google boss tells MPs: I don't know how much I get paid

The UK boss of Google claims he "does not know how much he gets paid" as he was grilled by MPs today.

Matt Brittin said he "understood the anger and frustration" of UK taxpayers over his company's £130 million tax deal with HMRC.

But Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier hit back: "Do you really understand the anger Mr Brittin? What do you get paid?"

Mr Brittin repeatedly dodged the question saying: "I don't have the exact figure" and would provide it to the committee "privately, if it was relevant".

When pressed further, Ms Hillier said: "My point is, taxpayers out there, our constituents, are very angry.

"They live in a different world to you, clearly, if you can't even tell us what you actually get paid. I wonder if you've got tin ears."

Earlier the committee heard Google's Chief Executive was paid £138 million in the last year alone.


Businesses angry at 'unfair competition' in tax rules

A senior representative of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said many businesses are angry at what they see as "two parallel tax systems" in the UK.

Answering a question on Google's tax settlement with the UK government, Dr Adam Marshall told ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills "there is still a long way to go until a lot of businesses feel that tax is a level playing field and there is no unfair competition out there".

There is certainly a sense of anger amongst many businesses over what they see as being two parallel tax systems.

One that applies to them and another that applies to a small number of global and often multinational companies who are often able to shift their profits around the world and conduct tax avoidance scheme.

– Dr Adam Marshall, BCC's Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs

The BCC's executive director of policy and external affairs added that there is a growing perception that "there is something not right in the system".

The British Chambers of Commerce represents thousands of businesses of all sizes and sectors, which altogether employ more than 5,000,000 people.


Airbus boss: It's easy for companies to be open with HMRC

As a European investigation looms over Google's £130m deal with the Treasury, the president of Airbus UK, Paul Kahn told ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills that issues surrounding the tax affairs of multinationals is a matter of concern.

He said it was easy for businesses to be "straightforward and open" but when pressed on companies that are not, he said: "I couldn't possibly comment on that."

It's very easy to play in a very straightforward and open manner with governments including in the UK with HMRC.

– Airbus UK President, Paul Kahn

Chancellor George Osborne visited the Airbus factory in Bristol on Thursday, as he announced the sale of the government's final stake in Lloyds Banking Group was being postponed because of the current turbulence in global financial markets.

Watch Joel Hills' report:

Google defends itself in Financial Times

Google has defended itself in a letter to the Financial Times Credit: PA

Google has written to the Financial Times to defend itself in the row over its tax regime.

The tech group claimed it is being unfairly targeted as the public backlash over its £130 million payment to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs continues.

Google adds that it is complying with British law.

Peter Barron, Google’s European public affairs chief, writes in the FT: “Governments make tax law, the tax authorities independently enforce the law, and Google complies with the law.”

EU commissioner: Google tax deal could be investigated

Margrethe Vestager has not ruled out an investigation into the deal Credit: PA

Google's tax deal with the Treasury could be investigated if something appears "not as it should be," the European Union's Competition Commissioner has said.

Margrethe Vestager told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she is able to "use state aid tools to look for more individual companies and more selective advantages being given out in the form of tax rulings."

Her comments come a day after David Cameron was forced to defend the Treasury's tax deal with Google that sees the internet giant pay £130 million on profit estimated at £6 billion backdating 10 years.

Danish politician Ms Vestager described so-called "sweetheart deals" for big companies as "unfair" and sometimes "illegal state aid."

Asked whether she would examine the situation, the commissioner said: "That is way too early to say because I don't know the details of the deal.

"If we find there is something to be concerned about, if someone writes to us and says this is maybe not as it should be, then we will take a look."

Later on the programme, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, former chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said Ms Vestager should "take a look" at the deal.

"The whole thing here is that we need greater transparency. If we think it is unfair we lose confidence in the integrity of the tax system."

– Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking
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