Since we have completely run out of money- tax avoidance has suddenly become the same sort of wickedness as tax evasion in the minds of the same expense-fiddling spendthrift politicians that wasted the entire reserves of the UK, and then another TRILLION quid. And mostly on hare-brained schemes designed to buy votes for their respective parties.
Although the Daily Mail has picked on
Amazon and Google - with passing references to Microsoft and Apple, let us not forget those other stateless bucaneers that have very effectively "stuck up" bricks and mortar business that pay taxes and rates - eBay and PayPal.
But to focus on tax avoidance and fat cats is to precariously miss the point.
US - or should we say - Global? - online corporations that don't pay the same taxes as native businesses is just the start; they tend to source the cheapest skilled labour from the cheapest countries.
As to the “fair game” argument, it has consequences. The US would certainly not allow UK companies to have invaded their commercial life in the same way; they have re-written copyright and patent laws to suit themsleves, and now set about imposing them by turfing foreign citizens from their beds in their own countries at 4am to face extradition.
Ultimately customers who buy the products are going to be victims: when you choose an Apple Product, you are voting to accept - in the inevitable long run - the same type of working and living conditions that apply in the countries of manufacture. Use Google and look up “apple manufacture china scandal”.
Moreover, once a big US player is in a market, it is impossible for a UK (or any other) entrepreneur to get any sort of venture funding for a product or idea that it perceived to be even slightly competing in a vaguely similar market, because the venture money assumption is that the behemoth will steamroller the market sooner or later.
This is a crucial and fundamental issue and deserving of a proper Mail crusading effort; our utterly useless governnment and opposition do not have a plan or a clue how to deal with it, and the sight of Dave & Gideon sucking up to Google and rest without a plan, is simply apalling.
So then, consider the consequences of reducing UK corporation tax to 10% - and telling the EU and US to swivel on it? We really don’t have much time left to turn this mess around for the benefit of the UK.