Google pays 20% tax in UK, senior executive tells MPs

Google Boss Grilled About Pay in Tax Row Hearing

A senior Google executive has told MPs that he understands public anger over reports of the internet giant's tax payments, but insisted it paid tax at 20% like any other company operating in the UK.

But Matt Brittin came under attack from the chairwoman of an influential House of Commons committee after he told her he did not know how much he was paid.

Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier told the Google president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa that he must have "tin ears" if he did not understand how ordinary taxpayers would be angered by his comments and Google's £130 million tax settlement with HM Revenue and Customs for 10 years' operations in the UK.

As the committee subjected Mr Brittin to a grilling in Westminster, he confirmed to Ms Hillier that Google had made profits of £106 million on revenues of £1.18 billion in the UK in the last 18 months alone, and that 11% of the company's global sales to customers occurred in the UK.

Ms Hillier told him: "We are here for the taxpayers in Britain. Do you hear the anger and frustration out there that with these huge figures, you settled for a figure of £130 million."

She demanded four times to be told what Mr Brittin was personally paid, but he responded: "I don't have the figure but I will happily provide it."

Ms Hillier responded: "You don't know what you get paid? ... Out there, taxpayers, our constituents, are very angry, they live in a different world clearly to the world you live in, if you can't even tell us what you are paid.

"It seems a bit of a PR disaster if you didn't have the nous to realise in the same week that taxpayers were filing their tax returns, and sweating over a little bit of bank interest and getting it in on time, and you announce this as a good deal."

Mr Brittin responded: "I understand the anger and understand that people when they see reported that we are paying 3% tax would be angry. But we're not. We're paying 20% tax."

The £130 million figure was "the conclusion of a six-year rigorous, independent tax audit in which we are paying tax at 20% like every other UK company", he said. "We are paying tax at 20% on the activities in the UK."