Google chief to escape tax wrath of PM

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt will meet David Cameron next week, just days after the internet giant was mauled by a Commons committee over its tax affairs.

Downing Street confirmed Mr Schmidt is expected to attend a regular quarterly meeting of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group on Monday.

The Google chief is one of 16 members of the group used as a sounding board for the PM to hear business leaders’ concerns and discuss government policies.

A Downing Street spokesman said that Monday’s meeting has been in the diary for some time and was not called in response to the recent controversy over the levels of tax Google pays.

Details of the discussions are not normally released by Downing Street, but the spokesman said he was not aware of any plans for tax arrangements to be on the agenda. On Thursday, Google was branded devious, and calculating, as MPs stepped up pressure on them over efforts to shelter profits from UK taxes.

At the Commons Public Accounts Committee, members did not believe claims the firm – which paid just £6 million in corporation tax in 2011 – did not carry out advertising sales in the UK, despite more than £3 billion in yearly revenues.