Beyond the bailouts going to the Bigs in the U.S., it was reported last week by The London Economic that almost a third of companies receiving coronavirus bailouts from the Bank of England are based in a tax haven or owned by someone living there.
The think tank TaxWatch UK reported that £4.79 billion in bailout cash, or 30 percent of the money loaned under the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, not only went to companies with links to tax havens but also to firms complicit in financial controversies.
- Baker Hughes, a subsidiary of American giant General Electric, was granted a £600 million loan despite the fact that its parent company has been sued by HMRC over unpaid taxes dating back 16 years.
- Chanel, the luxury fashion brand whose parent company is based in the Cayman Islands, received £600 million, as did EasyJet, which is part-owned by a trust based in the Caribbean territory. Carnival, whose ships were registered in Panama, received £25 million.
- Proving it pays to contribute to political elections, Netherlands-based machine manufacturer JCB, which donated more than £50,000 to Boris Johnson in 2019 and its chairman, Lord Bamford, contributed a further £20,000 to the prime minister’s leadership campaign, received a £600 million bailout.
In response to the findings, Dame Margaret Hodge, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax, said, “I am utterly disgusted at the big companies that avoid paying their fair share of tax that have been abusing the Government’s support schemes during the pandemic.”