Top bosses grilled over tax payments

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US giants Starbucks, Google and Amazon appeared before MPs yesterday to explain why they are paying so little tax while racking up billions of pounds in sales in the UK.

The three companies gave evidence amid mounting concern about tax avoidance by big international companies.

In a separate move Yorkshire Water defended its lowly £2.9m tax bill. The company said it invests more than £1m a day improving water quality and protecting communities from flooding.

“We have always been nothing less than completely open and honest around our accounts. We play by the rules,” said a spokesman.

Starbucks chief Troy Alstead was told his claims that the coffee chain continually made a loss in the UK “just doesn’t ring true”. The US chain has filed losses with Companies House for most of the years it has been operating in the UK.

The MPs also questioned Matt Brittin, chief executive officer of Google UK and Andrew Cecil, public policy director at Amazon.