Two of the country’s biggest private contractors paid no corporation tax in Britain last year, despite carrying out billions of pounds of taxpayer funded work for the Government, an official audit finds.
Two of the country’s biggest private contractors paid no corporation tax in Britain last year, despite carrying out billions of pounds of taxpayer funded work for the Government, an official audit has found.
A report by the National Audit Office, published today, disclosed for the first time how much Government work is now outsourced to the private sector.
It found that the four biggest suppliers – Atos, Capita, G4S and Serco – carried out £6.6billion-worth of work for the public sector and central Government last year.
Yet two of them – Atos and G4S which carried out £2billion-worth for work for the Government and public sector – paid no corporation tax at all in the UK in 2012. Capita paid between £50million and £56million, while Serco paid £25million in tax.
Atos and G4S were criticised by Margaret Hodge MP, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
She said: “Everyone has a duty to pay their fair share in tax, but there is something particularly galling about the idea of company who gets its income from the public purse not putting its rightful contribution back in.
“Of course, we don’t actually know how much profit Atos and G4S made in the UK last year because this remains an area where there is a total lack of transparency.
“We need to lift that veil of secrecy – and again, that duty of transparency should apply particularly to those who derive their income from taxpayers’ money.”
G4S sources said that the company did not pay any corporation tax last year because it had carried one-off losses over from the previous year. Overall it said it paid around £400million in PAYE-related taxes.
An spokesman for Atos, which is carrying out fit for work tests on sick and disabled benefits claimants, said: “We don’t undertake any aggressive tax planning and everything booked in the UK is also billed here which is why HM Revenue and Customs has classified us as low risk.
“However, due to significant investment in the UK to maintain our business here as well as pension contributions, we did not make enough profit last year to qualify for Corporation Tax.”
6:00AM GMT 12 Nov 2013