London Evening Standard, City Spy column [London Evening Standard]
(Evening Standard (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 03--Labour MP Margaret Hodge, scourge of Google, Amazon and Starbucks, has urged the mobile phone giant to "do the right thing" even though it says it will not have to pay UK capital gains tax on its pounds sterling 84 billion sale of its Verizon Wireless stake.
"We must demand reassurance that HMRC has really thoroughly examined this proposition to ensure British taxpayers get their rightful share of this massive profit," says Hodge, who seems unimpressed with Vodafone's point that it needs to pay virtually no tax on the profits because of UK exemption rules on substantial shareholdings in subsidiaries.
"If there's a flaw in legislation, it has to be urgently addressed by Treasury ministers," says Hodge, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee. "I don't understand how anyone can justify such a massive windfall without handing a fair share to the Exchequer."
Clearly Hodge has forgotten her own time as a Labour minister in the last decade when Gordon Brown introduced the legislation exempting firms from paying tax on the sale of substantial shareholdings in 2002.
"We are designing a new relief for corporate capital gains to facilitate the process of restructuring and reinvestment, helping business take advantage of emerging global opportunities," said the then Chancellor, who wanted companies like Vodafone to bring profits back to the UK.
If Hodge felt so strongly, perhaps she should have resigned as a minister?
SHEDDING LIGHT ON EASYJET FESTIVE SPIRIT
Budget carrier easyJet reckons it's the Grinch that saved Christmas. It has fired off a press release that "easyJet has come to the rescue of Luton's Christmas lights after Luton Borough Council had announced the festivities were at risk this year because of enforced efficiency savings."
It shouts about sponsoring the town's lights alongside community group Love Luton. The press release even has a quote from Love Luton chairman Andrew McConnell _ but does not mention that he is corporate affairs manager of easyJet. Probably made it a little smoother to secure that sponsorship.
"Lloyds Banking Group reduces complaints by 36 percent," screams the capital-letters headline of an email from said bank, whose chief spin doctor Matt Young is on a trifling pounds sterling 1.3 million-a-year pay-and-bonus package. Let's not get too carried away: Lloyds TSB and Halifax still received a whopping 548,403 complaints in just six months. At that rate, it should be around 1.3 million complaints a year...
Wonga was holding a press conference today to persuade the media that the payday lender isn't as bad as the critics say. "I am not going to come," declared one hack ahead of the event, "because I am worried I might like them."
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