PM 'did not raise Google tax row'

David CameronGoogle's controversial tax affairs were not raised by David Cameron when the internet giant's boss joined Downing Street talks about tackling avoidance schemes, Number 10 said.

The Prime Minister used the quarterly meeting of his Business Advisory Group to urge big firms to back his push for international action to crack down on the use of tax havens.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%But he did not directly raise MPs' fury about the sums Google pays in the UK with the search engine's executive chairman Eric Schmidt - who is a member of the high-level panel - or hold any separate talks with him.

The California-based firm was last week branded devious, calculating and unethical over efforts to shelter its multibillion-pound profits from UK taxes, during a stormy hearing before the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
Mr Cameron plans to use the G8 summit being hosted by the UK in Northern Ireland next month to push for co-ordinated global action to tackle "the scourge of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance".

A Downing Street source said that during the discussions - the details of which are not usually disclosed - the premier "did take the opportunity to set out his G8 agenda on tax and transparency".

He said he "hoped people would support the reforms he was proposing" and that businesses should pay the tax they owed but his comments were "not directed at anyone specifically". Number 10 said there was "broad agreement" that any action would need to be taken on a multilateral approach.

Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged at the weekend to write new rules to tackle corporate tax dodgers if he wins the next election, even if there is no international consensus for action.

Mr Schmidt was said to be among those who backed Mr Cameron's G8 approach.

Ahead of the meeting, the Prime Minister wrote to the leaders of Britain's offshore tax havens stressing the need to "get our own houses in order". In a message to 10 crown dependencies and British overseas territories Mr Cameron said he backed their right to be low tax jurisdictions but insisted that rules needed to be set and enforced fairly. The Prime Minister's letter calling for more transparency about tax information and the ownership of companies was sent to leaders in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

The top 10 Fortune 500 companies
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PM 'did not raise Google tax row'

Wal-Mart Stores, or Walmart, is a retailer that runs chains of discount department and warehouse stores around the world. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and has around 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names.

Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an oil and gas corporation formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, it has 37 oil refineries in 21 countries.

Chevron Corporation is an energy company headquartered in San Ramon, California. It is active in more than 180 countries and is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and generation.

Phillips 66 is a holding company - created when ConocoPhillips spun off its downstream assets - that only began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, 2012. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company has approximately 14,000 employees worldwide.

Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffet, is a multinational holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. The company wholly owns GEICO, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom and Helzberg Diamonds, as well as half of Heinz and significant minority holdings in American Express and The Coca-Cola Company.

At number 6 on the list, it's highest ever position, is iPhone and iPad manufacturer Apple. And Fortune managing editor Leigh Gallagher told CBS News that the computer giant could be even higher up the list if companies were ranked differently. Apple breaks into the top 10 for the first time this year," Gallagher said. "But if you were to rank the Fortune 500 by profits not revenues, it would be number two behind Exxon."

General Motors Company, or GM, is a multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It employs more than 200,000 people and manufactures the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Vauxhall brands, among others.

General Electric Company, or GE, operates in four segments: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance and Consumer & Industrial. Its foundation dates back to 1889, when Drexel, Morgan & Co. helped Thomas Edison to merge his many electricity-related companies to form Edison General Electric Company.

Valero Energy Corporation is the world's largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer. It has 16 refineries and 10 ethanol plants stretching from the US West and Gulf coasts to Canada, United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

Ford Motor Company (also known as Ford) is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Founded by Henry Ford in 1903, it is still controlled by the Ford family, which now has a minority stake.

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