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Google's European boss faced the fire and brimstone of enraged British MPs when the parliamentarians quizzed him over the technology giant's controversial tax settlement with the UK government. Matt Brittin almost immediately made headlines when he told the Public Accounts Committee's no-nonsense chairwoman that he did not know his own salary.
The persistent Meg Hillier questioned Brittin, Google president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, five times on the issue. Britten failed to immediately meet the Labour MP's demands, but promised to provide the influential Committee with the pay and perk figures after the 11 February session.
The top executive said he "understood" the anger from the British public over the controversial £130m ($188m ) back tax settlement with HMRC. "Do you really understand the anger, Mr Brittin?" Hillier intervened. "What do you get paid, Mr Brittin?". The Google man eventually conceded: "I don't have the figure but I'll provide the figure privately, if it's relevant to the committee to understand my salary."
The admission prompted Hillier to claim that Brittin lived on a "different world". "Out there taxpayers are very angry. They live in a different world, clearly, if you can't even tell us what you're actually paid," the Labour MP argued.
But beyond the initial fireworks of the session, Google told the MPs that it was paying 20% on its UK profits, not the 3% reported, and that the HMRC deal was a product of a six-year-long "rigorous" and "intense" independent audit.
Tom Hutchinson, the firm's tax chief, also claimed that Google was "paying the right amount of taxes" globally. "It's up to governments to decide where we should be paying that tax. I would love to see the system more simple so we wouldn't have to come to hearings like this to explain it, but we need governments to work together to develop an overall worldwide system to take that 19% and split it in a simple way," he argued.
The executives said the Californian company had paid $3.3bn (£2.2bn) in corporation tax in 2015 across its worldwide operations, most of it being paid in the US.
HMRC boss Dame Lim Homer also defended the settlement with Google and said that she was "confident" that "we have got the full tax that's due". The exchange came after Chancellor George Osborne trumpeted the deal as a "victory" for the government.
The top Tory faced criticism for the comments, particularly from Labour's John McDonnell. "It's time that Osborne got a grip of this situation as it's becoming a daily occurrence that we read yet another multinational are not paying their fair share in tax meaning other taxpayers have to shoulder the burden," the shadow chancellor said.
"Osborne should use the EU negotiations not to cut the pay of people on low incomes but to get a deal at EU level on tax so that we are getting the tax status of these big multinationals under control."