Cable promises tax crackdown from chancellor

Elizabeth Fournier
BUSINESS secretary Vince Cable said yesterday he expects George Osborne to use his upcoming Autumn Statement to address the controversial issue of tax avoidance, after a string of companies were accused of diverting tax revenues away from the UK.

Speaking to Sky News, Cable said moves to prevent “systematic abuse” could be announced as early as next month, vowing that the government would “get to grips” with the problem. He also suggested firms’ tax avoidance schemes involved “playing one government off against another”.

Earlier this week, executives from Starbucks, Google and Amazon faced MPs to answer questions over their UK tax payments. Starbucks finance chief Troy Alstead denied the coffee chain was shifting profits out of the UK and blamed high rents for contributing to the company reporting losses for the past 13 years.

Senior representatives from Google and Amazon also defended their companies’ actions.