Osborne hails Google tax deal a 'major success'


George Osborne has insisted a tax deal with Google is a "major success" amid complaints that the internet giant has been let off too lightly and calls for an investigation into a possible breach of EU rules.

The Chancellor said he understood "frustration and anger" over multinationals avoiding big bills but blamed international laws and said he always sought "the best deal for Britain".

The £130 million 10-year deal with HM Revenue and Customs on back taxes was hailed as a "victory" by Mr Osborne when it was announced at the weekend but immediately came under fire.

One of Google's biggest British shareholders called on the company to pay "much more" in British taxes and said it was in the firm's own interest to pay a "decent" rate of tax.

And the EU's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager indicated she is ready to look into complaints that the settlement breached EU rules  - as the Scottish National Party confirmed it was writing to her calling for an investigation.

Asked if he stood by his initial assessment of the deal, Mr Osborne told Sky News: "My only interest, as the country's Chancellor of the Exchequer, is to get the best deal for Britain - to bring the jobs here, the businesses here and to make sure that taxes are paid here.

"When I became Chancellor Google paid no tax. Now Google is paying tax and I have introduced a new thing called a diverted profits tax to make sure they pay tax in the future.

"I regard that as a major success.

"Is there more to do? Clearly there is. We've got to make sure the international rules catch up and we are leading that effort.

"But ultimately the solution to all of this is to make sure we have got more British companies out there that are great successes in areas like tech."