So Apple have been ordered to pay 13 billion Euro’s (£11 billion pounds) in Tax to Ireland as it has been found guilty of having a sweetheart deal with the Irish Government that amounted to illegal state aid under EU rules.
The Irish Government are not happy as this decision might rob them of their low tax economy within the EU, the US Government are not happy and feel this will threaten the economic partnership between the EU and the USA. Of course Apple are not happy and says this ruling will threaten investment and jobs (surprise surprise).
The UK Government has said it would welcome any jobs in the UK with a Downing Street spokesman quoted as saying “The narrative of the Government has been well set out. Britain is open for business; we welcome any company wishing to invest in Britain and Britain’s workforce”. All is fair in love and war eh!
Basically Apple has paid no, or virtually no, tax on any profits made in the EU in the last 13 years or longer. However they have said they will appeal and are confident of winning any appeal. The Irish Government may appeal also but there are those who welcome the decision as they believe that the Irish Government have affectively been guilty of tax abuse over the years to attract multi national companies.
I have no sympathy for Apple or the Irish Government, even if they do pull out jobs. The simple fact is that multinational tax abuse, supported by any government, is a moral crime in my eyes and it hurts us. We end up paying for their tax avoidance through higher taxes, cuts to services and the drive to the bottom to attract low paid jobs with poor conditions.
The list of companies suspected of avoiding UK tax is huge, list, now many of those will do so under the full knowledge of the Government but that does not make it right.
How can it be right that shareholders are treated to the benefits of socialism and the people are treated to the full force of the market economy. While we continue to get poorer by the day, face unemployment and resorting to foodbanks, there are a small percentage of people getting richer, and richer and richer at our expense. I really hope any appeal loses but I will believe it when I see it. What it will do though is open the door to a lot of companies deciding where to locate, where to produce, it could lead to a trade war or it might just be the start of a clean up, but again I won’t hold my breath.
We can do our bit if we feel strongly enough by not buying the products of the companies that are ultimately stealing from us, but saying that, given that they are all at it you might find yourself naked and living in a cave. Basically it feels like we have no power, no say, are poorer and pawns to be played with by the brands and the few.
What a sad state of affairs.