Eric Schmidt: Google Powers the UK So Stop Badgering Us About Tax

By Gary Cutlack on at

Eric Schmidt, Google's talkative executive chairman, has launched a mini offensive over the company's controversial UK tax affairs, claiming Google is a key element of the tech scene that's driving the UK's recovering economy so we ought to be grateful for its presence instead of moaning about its suspiciously low tax bills.

Talking on BBC Radio 4, the round-faced business expert tried to take credit for indirectly employing everyone who works in IT in the country, saying: "We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth. And we're a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country."

When pressured about Google's UK tax affairs, which saw the advertising and search behemoth contribute just £6m in corporation tax in 2011, Schmidt used the old excuse that the arrangements "fully comply with the law" and that its accountants are therefore only bending the rules by shoving all its earnings through an office registered in the tax friendly orbital jurisdiction of the International Space Station. [BBC]