Under The Microscope…Those Evil Multi-National, Non-Tax Paying Corporations


The BBC is enthusiastic about exposing the supposed sins of corporations that minimise their tax obligations….all quite legally….but sooooo immoral!

We know that for some people the BBC is prepared to look the other way….one such person being Labour’s Margaret Hodge who has a near 10% share holding in a company that pays barely any tax at all in this country…..

Labour’s millionairess Margaret Hodge’s family business pays very little tax:
The Labour MP has been one of the fiercest critics of tax avoidance by companies such as Starbucks, Google and Amazon. However, she is likely to face questions over the limited tax paid by Stemcor, the steel trading company in which she owns shares and which was founded by her father and is run by her brother.Analysis of Stemcor’s latest accounts show that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of more than £2.1bn in 2011. However it is not known whether the company – which made profits of £65m – used similar controversial tax avoidance measures criticised in the past by Mrs Hodge. Stemcor’s tax bill to the exchequer equates to just 0.01pc of the revenues it booked through its UK-based business.

This from Guido:

Priti Patel Demands Hodge Calls Stemcor to PAC

Priti Patel has written a strongly worded letter to Margaret Hodge demanding that she calls Stemcor in front of the Public Accounts Committee for a grilling –  as Chair of the PAC she would have to stand aside when Stem or gave evidence to avoid a conflict of interest because of her position as a shareholder with millions tied up in Stemcor. Her family firm has a multi-billion pound turnover yet paid a mere £157,000 in tax.


…and engages in ‘Transfer pricing’  which is relevant to what follows.


The BBC are running what amounts to a campaign against such companies…part of which is this programme….which is a very one sided and cynical look at mining corporation Glencore…..and note the slightly sinister admission that the BBC has joined up with over 70 other broadcasters to ‘push’ what amounts to propaganda, around the world……the BBC accuse the company of using ‘transfer pricing’, especially, to avoid tax…..

Why Poverty? – 3. Stealing Africa

Christoffer Guldbrandsen investigates the dark heart of the tax system employed by multi-nationals and asks how much profit is fair.

A BBC Storyville film, produced in partnership with the Open University, Stealing Africa screens as part of Why Poverty? – when the BBC, in conjunction with more than 70 broadcasters around the world, hosts a debate about contemporary poverty. The global cross-media event sees the same eight films screened in 180 countries to explore why, in the 21st Century, a billion people still live in poverty.




After all that it might just be a little embarrassing for the BBC, which rakes in at least £1.5 billion from its own commercial activities, to be revealed as a corporation that hides behind that tired old phrase ‘for the purposes of journalism, art or literature‘ in order to stop people seeing how much tax it does, or doesn’t pay.


Remember this is the organisation that went after Student Loans company boss, Ed Lester who was found to be using a tax scheme that meant he didn’t pay tax at source…

Revelations by Newsnight that the chief executive of the Student Loans Company was avoiding paying tens of thousands of pounds in tax in an arrangement signed off by senior ministers has led to a dramatic rethink by the government’


However when the BBC was caught out for doing exactly the same thing it has insisted that it was not a tax dodging scheme…

‘The BBC is to review the way hundreds of TV and radio freelance presenters are paid, after suggestions it is aiding tax avoidance schemes.

A commons committee heard claims that one long-term presenter was urged to receive payment off the books “or face a substantial pay cut”.

The BBC insisted the arrangements are not in place to avoid paying tax.’


Here is a freedom of Information request that was made earlier this year asking about some of the tax liablities of the BBC in America…the BBC refuses to disclose this figure…..


The BBC reply:

Ken Tindell
Via email to – [FOI #114766 email]

23 May 2012

Dear Dr Tindall,

Freedom of Information request – RFI20120464 

Thank you for your request to the BBC of 25 April 2012, seeking the following information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

1. The total amount of revenue generated from advertising on the BBC news web site (or a wider
collection of BBC web sites if no specifics for the BBC news web site are available). 

2. What proportion of non-UK traffic of the web site / sites in (1) are from the USA.

3. How much US corporation tax is paid by the BBC on the advertising revenue in (1).

The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes
of ‘journalism, art or literature.’  The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to
you and will not be doing so on this occasion.  Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that
information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act
if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”.  The BBC is not
required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information
that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.1

You may not be aware that one of the main policy drivers behind the limited application of the Act
to public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of expression and the rights of the media
under Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).  The BBC, as a media
organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and
the importance of this function has been recognised by the European Court of Human Rights.

1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure which follows this letter.
Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the

Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.

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37 Responses to Under The Microscope…Those Evil Multi-National, Non-Tax Paying Corporations

  1. Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

    Under which heading does left-wing propaganda sit: journalism, art or literature?


  2. Derek says:

    When Blair bought in the Freedom of Information Act, he made sure that his friends would not be embarrased by having to disclose anything.


    • Doublethinker says:

      The BBC seems to be untouchable by any of the usual usual legal processes and methods of oversight which are applied to institutions and companies in this country.
      It is governed by its own trust which is stuffed full of its supporters and so avoids any regulation by OFCOM. It may well escape anything that Leveson dreams up for the rest of the press and media.
      It avoids the FOI Act and so we never know what it is up to.
      The present government lets it get away with Savilegate and Newsnightgate.
      It can pay its people what it likes and gives them enormous golden handshakes.
      Despite the appalling mess in recent weeks it can go and appoint a 30 year insider as its next DG and no one raises an eyebrow.
      It is allowed to inflict its own poll tax on all of us.
      Worst of all, it is allowed to pump out extremely biased reporting 24/7 where the truth isn’t allowed to obscure the political message.
      An increasing amount of its ‘entertainment’ has liberal/left political undertones.
      Why is it allowed to get away with all this when it is supposed to be unbiased and truthful?


      • Ian Hills says:

        It is no more a “trust” than are NHS “trusts”. Under English law trust accounts have to be made available to the beneficiaries.


      • johnnythefish says:

        ‘The present government lets it get away with Savilegate and Newsnightgate’.

        And don’t forget the CMEP ‘how do we communicate the AGW message’ meeting they tried to keep secret. A massive reason for an independent inquiry in my book, Leveson-style (without the left wing agenda/cliquery).


    • Mike Fowle says:

      But to be fair, they did bring in the Act. They may have miscalculated, but it has done a lot of good.


  3. Misterned says:

    What is never explained to the misguided and misled viewers of the BBC is several pertinent facts.

    1. Gordon Brown introduced many of the loopholes that these corporations use to minimise their tax liabilities. he did these to help what where his corporate banking buddies at the time. Gordon Brown created the longest tax code in the world, creating a massively complex tax system which the corporations can use to keep the Government wrapped up in court for years whilst their legally obligated amount of tax is calculated. Yet the BBC never ever blame labour for this current situation.

    2. Corporations have a lawful duty of care known as fisuciary duty, to their shareholders. This means that they are lawfully obligated to find any way to minimise their financial liabilities and maximise revenue, whilst still being able to continue their business. This means exploiting the loopholes that Gordon Brown built into the tax system, not that you will ever hear that on the BBC.

    and 3. That the most of the highest paid BBC staff, executives and presenters dodge tax in the same way themselves, BUT they do not have the fiduciary duty excuses for doing so.

    They are left wing hypocrites. NOTHING MORE JIM!


  4. Misterned says:

    Sorry, typo, fisuciary duty, second paragraph. should be fiduciary.


  5. David Brims says:

    Africa is not poor, it’s corrupt.

    Consider this, Africa is rich in gold, diamonds and other minerals , yet it’s poor.

    Saudi Arabia is a desert , it has far less than Africa, except oil, they’ve used it to build cities.

    The African political class is called ” Wahbenzi ” because of their love of Mercedes Benz cars.


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘Leadership’ is another funny concept.
      In most countries it refers to the bozos in charge, good and bad, who aspire to run things, and get the kudos or bolloxing as deserved. Or, in the case of the BBC’s PR clients, only the the first.
      What is odd is that in certain other countries, leaders get cut a big slice of slack to go with their commissions, and in fact are not held to account for what they do or don’t do no matter what.
      It actually gets even odder, and despite being ‘in charge’ of their own affairs for a fair old while, any failings are often attributed by those who ‘know’ on anyone but them.
      Funny old world.


  6. prole says:

    I’m lost as what the BBC is biased against that you object to. It appears you don’t want any investigation by the BBC (which is huge organisation) on any financial affairs. Surely not. Apart from Private Eye almost no investigation of tax dodgers is taking place and only the Uncut movement is exposing these tax dodgers and forcing some action. If you are saying the BBC is not doing enough, I agree. I’d like to see a lot more pilloried.

    But Hodge is being used by these vested interests as a convenient shield to cover the fact they don’t pay UK tax. Surely you can see that.

    What’s wrong with exposing bad businesses and tax dodgers?


    • ltwf1964 says:

      “What’s wrong with exposing bad businesses and tax dodgers?”

      like the bbc you mean

      all those lovely “self employed” employee tax dodges:)


      • Frank Words says:

        Yes, poor old Margaret Hodge. I realy feel her her.

        And Jimmy Carr.

        If they’re going to dodge tax then please don’t be a damn hypocrite


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘I’m lost as what the BBC is biased against’
      Still reeling at the shock of that.
      And the notion of such a neatly selected out non-sequitur cherry.
      ‘in order to stop people seeing how much tax it does, or doesn’t pay.’
      On the plus side, the UK public now has been given the green light to assess Fatty Pang’s toilette regime.
      Not sure if that’s a great deal vs. holding the the accounters’ accounts up to account when we’re the one’s uniquely keeping ’em in doubles all round… of standards.


    • SouthEastVoter says:

      Avoiding Tax is legal. There is nothing wrong legally or morally in seeking to avoid tax. What grates is when people who avoid tax (BBC, Margret Hodge, Ken Livingston) complain other people/organisations do the same as them.

      What is morally wrong is taking hard earned money from people/business and then wasting it. Which this and previous Governments love to do.


      • Wild says:

        The Left don’t produce anything (except envy) they leech – all socialism is theft.

        The BBC take money from the taxpayer to manufacture propaganda on behalf of (their fellow) leeches. Middle Class leeches call this system social justice.

        Half of the country feeds off the other half. The BBC earn their living hating the productive half . Their essential message is always the same – Vote Labour.

        A Labour MP (essentially) is a leech, elected by leeches, on behalf of leeches. When leeches outnumber the productive countries go into terminal decline.

        Socialists call this a “Crisis in Capitalism”.

        The solution offered by the Labour Party is the creation of more leeches – and the resulting death spiral is portrayed as “it is a new dawn is it not” in which socialist (and One Nation) MP’s get fat telling us they are the only ones with a conscience.


        • Jim Dandy says:

          Powerful stuff. We’re you Romney’s political strategist per chance.


        • London Calling says:

          Well said Wild.
          By observation, commenters on bBC sharpen their sword through daily combat with the devil’s spawn of the liberal metroplitan elite, to the point where their writing is of devastating accuracy and effectiveness.
          Ninja stuff, Wild.


    • chrisH says:

      Oh prole, your faith in the BBC is touching…and not in the Savile sense I assure you!
      Have a listen to the first section of P.M tonight( Tues 27/11/12…5pm onwards).
      How long is spent going over the “welfare to work” disappointment , as framed by the BBC…how many names like Abbie does the reporter bring up to show how let down and abandoned the “plebs” are, in their search for work by a cold and heartless Coalition.
      Takes the BBC ages-and then they ask Margaret Hodge..yes, Margaret Hodge from the P.A.C( and therefore “independent”, no doubt) to tell us all that Labour and Job Centre Plus…with more “investment” is the only solution to this crisis.
      Hodge ought to know this-her last lot caused this, and let it get worse for years-so let her tell us all again, just HOW Labour will get it right “once again”…and this is 15/20 mins I `d guess!
      Now prole-do you ever keep tabs on WHO is getting to “discuss” the latest “scandal” at each and every “opportunity” on the “current affairs” slots throughout Radio 4, Do an analysis if you would-% Tory, % interruptions, % slime thrown over the debates, % analysis of what is said by the “BBC correspondent/editor”…and come back and tell us that the BBC are not biased lefty bastards on perpetual manoevres.
      After Hodge we get Nadine Dorries-listen to the questions and insinuations of Carolyn Quinn as she pops at her Constituency Chairman for the 6pm soundbite…ever vigilant and in the hope that Dorries gets fired or whatever.
      25 minutes all this-and then try to grab the 30 second soundbite/gloss over about Patten in Parliament.
      You see prole-what`s the point on coming to the Biased BBC website to tell me that the BBC is not perennially creating, setting and forming its nasty little agenda…as if we don`t know the game!
      Why don`t you prole, my son?


    • I think it has more to do with the idea that the BBC like to fawn over Labour and this particularly comes to light when they (Labour) pretend to be vanguards of the ordinary people railing against the capitalist demon avoiding tax when the reality is they have been enablers of it.

      These same people make a big pro EU noise. This would be the same EU that has an agreement to allow corporations to choose which EU nation they pay their corporation tax. Suddenly that better off in argument comes head to head with the tax dodging story and no journalist pushes them on that. Curiously incurious you might say.

      Even Pol Pot would have marvelled at Labour and the BBC’s ability to pull of such an illusion of Year Zero.

      It’s not the tax avoidance for me. It’s the pretence that they’re fighting it that makes me want to vomit at their hypocrisy.


    • Span Ows says:

      “Uncut movement is exposing these tax dodgers and forcing some action”

      No, Uncut cause obstruction and harassment for several big corporations that pay millions in corporation tax, millions in business tax, millions in business rates/rent, provide millions of jobs etc. They do this not because these corporations pay as little as possible (legally) on one portion of those millions they pay but because they are capitalist. Uncut are a bunch of false flag shysters that by complete coincidence are also all left wing/Marxist fuck-wits.


    • pah says:

      I’m not suprised you are lost – there’s none so blind as those who won’t see.

      It is simple. Tax is payable by companies and there are rules and regulations that govern this. If a company sticks to these rules and regulations then, NO MATTER HOW MUCH TAX THEY PAY, what they are doing is legal.

      The likes of Hodge and Carr are also behaving in a legal manner. Their crime is hypocracy not tax dodging.

      Amazon, Starbucks et al could all pay more tax it is true. But why did Labour do anything about it? Both companies have not just started acting the way they do. Why did Labour not hound News International about its tax payments? Any ideas?

      The trouble is Amazon and Starbucks employ thousands of people in the UK, who, incidently, all pay tax. What if Amazon moved its distribution to Calais or a newly independant Scotland? Would you prefer that? Would that do enough damage to England for you?

      In the end this is just a blind from Labour and the left to distract the attention away from the fact that the public sector is too big and that tax receipts struggle to keep up.

      Smaller state = more cash to go around.

      See, simple isn’t it?.


  7. David Brims says:

    And where do all the fake scam emails come from ?

    Diane Sawyer of 60 minutes did a report on this subject a couple of years ago, the country is, Nigeria.

    What a surprise !


  8. Guest Who says:

    Speaking of the BBC, and its reporting on grasping greed merchants.. or not…
    Those cuts they bang on about must really have been hitting home in the Entwistle household.


  9. London Calling says:

    I struggle to understand why companies have to pay tax at all. “No taxation without representation is a good principle” and companies can’t vote.
    Their employees all pay tax, and they have votes. Profits are not “obscene”, the BBC Marxist mantra, they are the return on risk and enterprise. What’s it got to do with government? Why are they entitled to a share of profit – they didn’t build that.
    All politics of envy, and if you are not careful you get suckered on their rubbish assumptions – Rich Must Pay More – redistributive communism.


  10. Ian Hills says:

    Now I know why Hodge closed down an inquiry into child abuse when she ran Islington Council. The staff were needed to count her money.


  11. Gary Gimson says:

    All this week on BBC there has been a series of programmes such as Glencore’s mining operations in Zambia (a country I know well) and last evening’s hatchet job on Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand, etc.
    I have no objection to these programmes being made, but they are just so one-sided – the hatred of big business and the Republican Party.