MPs Challenge Google Over UK Tax Reporting

Whistleblowers told Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee that Google had sold advertising within the UK and invoiced customers in the UK

Earlier Google had announced that UK customers were giving money for the Irish Google.

“No one in the UK can execute transactions,” said Google’s head of sales in Northern Europe, Matt Brittin.

He claims that “no money changes hands,” not considering the fact that he in fact employed sales staff in Britain with employment contracts.

Later Ms Hodge announced that the documentation showed clearly that the entire trading process and sales process took place in the UK.

She read from the official guide to parliamentary procedure, Erskine May: “A person prevaricating or giving false evidence can be considered to be in contempt of the House.”

She added that whistleblowers would not disappear until the whole truth about it is being revealed.

The worth of Google’s sales in the UK is £3.2bn but the major part of them came from Dublin as it gave £6m in UK corporation tax only in 2011.

It is a fact that Mr. Brittin mentioned, that each adviser in Europe would be glad to deal with

Google in Dublin, which provides job to about 3,000 people.

He said that as soon as they had come to Europe they had taken the decision that Dublin would be their headquarters.

The motive he pointed out was their wish to have access not only to the customers from the UK but to those from whole the Europe. The only way to achieve that was through Ireland as this was the place where intellectual property sat.

 

 

A New Survey Shows Whistleblowers are Ignored

The results of a recent survey showed that managers do not respond to about 60% of the whistleblowers who voice fears about their workplace. This could be to not having a proper whistleblowing policy.

Another data given from the charity Public Concern at Work stated that 19% of the questioned 1,000 whistleblowers answered they were disciplined or demoted after speaking up.

It all started after the scandal at Stafford Hospital where hundreds of patients died because of the insufficient care no matter that some members of staff tried to raise concerns.

Not long ago three people were arrested because they had given away many details of chauffeur-driven journeys taken by Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner.

In the opinion of Public Concern at Work the effectiveness of whistleblowing in the UK is not at the level it has to be.

Something else the report talks about is the description of the “typical” whistleblower. These are usually people who had not worked for the organization for more than two years and raise their concerns twice, usually internally. About 74% of the people who took part in the survey answered nothing had changed and 60% said they did not in fact receive any kind of response.

There were a few cases of grievance raised, which made impression but later those people had serious concerns they would be dismissed.

Senior whistleblowers suffer more, while junior staff are mainly ignored.

About a quarter of those who took part in the survey said they expected better outcomes as they relied to an official regulator.

Cathy James, chief executive of Public Concern at Work said:

“Too many workers still suffer reprisals which will not only impact negatively on the whistleblower, but will deter others from speaking up and allow a culture of silence to pervade.”

 

SRA with New Leniency Policy for Whistleblowers

According to new SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) proposals, whistleblowers, involved in misconduct will face lighter penalties.

A consultation on the introduction of co-operation agreements has been launched today by the SRA. According to those legal agreements, solicitors, who might have been involved in misconduct, but report  others` misconduct and help the investigation, will face lenient sanctions. This consultation will run until the 23rd of January.

The SRA intends to enter co-operation agreements not only with solicitors, but also witnesses, who may be facing regulatory difficulties. They will be required to disclose and report anything they know and even witness in court, if necessary. In return, their own conduct will be dealt as defined in the agreement.

The SRA plans, aiming to encourage people to disclose to the SRA , follow the example given by Financial Services Authority and their leniency scheme, which increased almost twice the calls to its whistleblowing line.

SRA director for legal and enforcement David Middleton said: ‘We anticipate cases in which potential witnesses who are worried about their own position will be more likely to come forward if there is potential certainty of regulatory outcome for them and an element of leniency consistent with the public interest.’

In addition Middleton said ‘Respondents to investigations are already aware that the early correction of problems and co-operating generally with us can significantly mitigate any failures on their part. ‘Earlier identification of problems could reduce the impact on clients and the compensation fund or insurers, so co-operation agreements would be another step forward in encouraging disclosure and co-operation.’

This aimed to underline that the proposed approach did not “water down” the requirements of the regulated community to report misconduct,

Whistleblowing can be useful for your business as well, please have a look at our Whitleblowing Policy.