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No apology on Google tax – Bruton

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Minister Richard Bruton

Minister Richard Bruton

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Minister Richard Bruton

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has said that Ireland "makes no apology" for the low tax regime that encourages multi-national corporations such as Google to locate their European headquarters here.

Mr Bruton was responding to criticism of the search-engine giant in Britain over their policy of paying most of their corporation tax here, despite having multi-billion pound sales in the UK.

Google's head of sales in northern Europe, Matt Brittin, was hauled before MPs at the House of Commons Public accounts committee on Thursday and challenged as to how it paid just £6m in tax in the UK in 2011 despite boasting sales of £3.2bn. Google's UK transactions are routed through its Dublin headquarters, allowing the company to take advantage of Ireland's 12.5pc rate of corporation tax.

Asked about the inferred criticism of the Irish tax regime by those MPs challenging Google, Mr Bruton said: "Ireland will make no apology for having a low tax regime.

"It has always been a low tax regime and we need to create employment and international companies employ over 150,000 people in Ireland."

Mr Bruton continued: "Of course, the interaction of tax codes in different countries can create environments where people choose the way they manage their business.

"It's for other countries, obviously, to manage their own regimes," he added.

He was speaking at a conference for start-up businesses where he announced that 'Dragons' Den' TV star Sean O'Sullivan would chair a new government forum on entrepreneurship.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr O'Sullivan said that entrepreneurship was "a kind of magic that impacts the entire economy".

The forum – which will comprise as many as six unpaid participants – will contribute to a National Entrepreneurship Policy Statement to be published by the end of the year. The minister said he was also launching a public consultation, inviting interested parties to make submissions prior to the publication of the document.

Irish Independent