Google chief Eric Schmidt: UK tax criticism ignores our investment in Britain


Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has mounted a robust defence of the tech giant’s UK tax bill.

In an interview set to be broadcast on the BBC’s World at One today, the US business chief said criticism over it paying £6m in UK corporation tax “omits the fact that we also hire more than 2,000 employees and are investing heavily in Britain”.

He insisted that the media should look at Google’s record in the UK in its “totality”.

“Britain has been a very good market for us. We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth. And we’re a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country. So from our perspective I think, um, you have to look at it in totality.

“You’re describing the way taxes work globally. And the fact of the matter is these are the way taxes are done globally. The same is true for British firms operating in the US, for example. I think the most important thing to say about our taxes is that we fully comply with the law and we’ll obviously, should the law change, we’ll comply with that as well,” he said.

This comes after Google had to defend its tax arrangements before the Public Accounts Committee last year with Google UK CEO Matt Brittin under fire from MPs.

Committee chairman Margaret Hodge told hm: “We are not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral.”

Miles Dean, founding partner of Milestone International Tax Partners, said: “Google appear to view tax as they would any other cost to the business.

“They are entirely within their rights to do so and will undoubtedly have done so within the law. This begs the question of whether UK tax law as currently drafted is fit for purpose.”