Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - one fifth of big companies paid no tax on their profits

Issue No. 2635

Protesting at Centrica fat cats in 2017

Protesting at Centrica fat cats in 2017 (Pic: Reclaim The Power/Flickr)

One in five of Britain’s biggest listed companies paid not a penny of tax on their profits last year.

Details of the tax paid by 69 of the 100 largest companies on the stock market has emerged. The remaining 31 refused to disclose their tax payments.

Some 13 firms either paid no corporation tax in Britain or even got a tax credit from the government.

The list includes BP, Royal Mail and British Gas owner Centrica.

Usually firms pay corporation tax of 19 percent of their total profits.

BP made £5.6 billion in profit last year—yet still received tax credits worth £134 million.

That meant it paid no tax on its profits.

Royal Mail boss Rico Back stands to earn £1.8 million this year on top of a glittering £5.8 million “golden hello” for joining the company.

Royal Mail made around £39 million profit here last year and £212 million globally. Yet it got a tax credit of £93 million.

Centrica’s annual report says it “received a cash refund of tax overpaid in periods prior to 2015”.

Randgold Resources, which mines gold in Africa, is based in the Channel Islands and pays no tax in Britain. Chief executive Mark Bristow received over £7 million last year.

Land speculators British Land and Segro, paid no tax last year. Liverpool Football Club shirt sponsors Standard Chartered bank, which made £1.8 billion profit last year, got a £12 million tax credit.

MPs ‘misled’ about the real cost of HS2

Parliament was misled about the cost of the HS2 high-speed rail project, whistleblower Doug Thornton told the BBC’s Panorama programme last month.

The former senior staff member said that MPs’ decision to approve HS2 was based on cost estimates that were hundreds of millions of pounds too low.

Thornton said HS2 managers ignored warnings about the wrong estimates. HS2 denied it misled parliament.

Thames Water fined for pollution

Thames Water was fined £2 million last month for a “reckless failure” that saw a tributary of the Thames river polluted with raw sewage.

Untreated sewage flowed into a brook near Milton-under-Wychwood in the Cotswolds in August 2015. A court heard that Thames Water ignored over 1,000 alarms from the Bruern Road sewage pumping station in west Oxfordshire in the six weeks leading up to the incident.

More British arms sales to dictators

Nearly a third of arms exports authorised by Britain over the past decade went to countries with the worst records on human rights.

The Action on Armed Violence group looked at arms deals worth an estimated £39 billion between 2008 and 2017.

Some £12 billion went to states on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights “priority countries” list.

There are 30 countries on the list of states with poor human rights records.

The only one that Britain did not approve arms export deals to over the period was North Korea.

The number of arms export licences to nations on the watchlist in 2017 is almost double the figure of the previous year.

Britain provided Saudi Arabia with military exports worth £10.3 billion over the past decade.

Bosses pay young illegally low wages

One in five young workers are being illegally paid less than the national minimum wage, according to a charity.

The Young Women’s Trust said that the figure for young black people is one in four.

It surveyed over 4,000 people aged between 18 and 30. Those in London were most likely to report being underpaid.

Wages in parts of Britain are still worth a third less than they were a decade ago, according to the TUC.

The average worker has lost £11,800 in real earnings since 2008.

Black workers are losing over £3 billion a year

Black, Asian and ethnic minority workers are losing £3.2 billion a year in wages compared with white workers doing the same work.

The research by the Resolution Foundation looked at pay for Britain’s 1.9 million black and minority ethnic workers.

It found that the pay gap rose to as much as 17 percent or £3.90 an hour for some workers.

A previous audit of public sector pay in London showed that black and minority ethnic workers are paid up to 37 percent less on average than white workers.

Netanyahu banned from Facebook

Binyamin Netanyahu’s son was temporarily banned from Facebook last month.

Yair Netanyahu had made a series of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian posts. One said that he would prefer all Muslims to leave Israel.

He previously posted material which many Jewish groups described as antisemitic.

Disgraced Tories reinstated for confidence vote

Two Tory MPs suspended over “serious allegations” of sexual misconduct had their suspensions lifted so they could take part in the confidence vote on Theresa May’s leadership of the Tories.

The reinstatement of Charlie Elphicke and Andrew Griffiths caused fury. May survived the vote although 117 voted against her.

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