It emerged in January that the Tory Government agreed a deal with Google that means that the tech giant will pay just £130 Million in taxes for the last decade.
As well as this shamefully small amount making up just 1/350th of their yearly sales, it can now be confirmed that the UK Government has been lobbying to protect one of the tax havens in which Google hides some of the money they owe the world, Bermuda.
The Government’s steps to protect Google's tax havens reflect a deep and incestuous relationship between business and government.
A “revolving door” between MPs and employees of big businesses is one popular argument to explain why the UK Government protect the profits of corporations over representing the public.
There have been many examples of this, with MPs leaving Parliament to then land top jobs in major businesses, making laws that favours their industry in the process. Find the list here.
Corporate sponsorship of political campaigns only adds to this issue, allowing companies to have huge influence on laws created by Parliament by directly financing the politicians. The Conservative Party is a much bigger culprit of this issue, with 25% of party donations made by companies. In comparison, Labour is only funded 3% by corporate donations.
And with a Conservative majority Government in place at the last election for the first time since 1997, it’s clear that the public sentiment is more right wing than it has been for a while, leaving a much weaker fight against corporate greed and corruption in politics.
This shift to the right has repercussions in every area of society. The shift makes punishing the poor with austerity for the abuse of mortgage loans in 2008 by the rich (directly causing the economic crash) seem “completely fine” to a silent majority of Conservative voters in this country.
The shift means that not only can corporations get away with avoiding taxes in the UK with “sweetheart” deals with our Government, funnelling £billions into tax havens instead of the countries they are based, but the Tory Government will actually privately lobby the EU to protect those tax havens with little backlash.
As much as New Labour in the 00s were guilty of being under the thumb of corporations, they were not savaging public services in the name of austerity at the same time, or publicly telling the country that we need to tighten our belts while one of the biggest companies in the world is paying just 3% tax on UK profits.
The Conservatives ultimately do not represent the general public against corporations because they are pro-capitalist and believe in the free market. These beliefs inevitably lead to corporate monopoly, a global set-up we are only just seeing the first stage of. The rich are only getting richer, and right wing governments will punish you for any global crisis caused by big businesses running wild.
This is incidentally why Jeremy Corbyn’s “loony left” policies are attacked so aggressively by the political class and mainstream journalism — politicians have had a corrupt working relationship with corporations for decades, making a true left wing alternative that’s hard on business seem completely insane.