In the Google tax story, which continues to run in the papers today, Labour has found a theme that it can exploit in the Commons and in speeches over the next few weeks. Given so many Tories were prepared to criticise the ‘derisory’ amount the tech giant has agreed to pay back when the Commons discussed the matter on Monday, Jeremy Corbyn will feel he is on reasonably safe ground raising the issue at PMQs today.
Tax is always a handy issue, not just because it allows oppositions to promise to spend more using only the fruit of the magic money tree of cracking down on tax avoidance, but also because it taps into that feeling of one rule for the big guys and another for the ordinary voter, which is why MPs across the house were annoyed earlier this week.
And even though George Osborne has done a great deal on tax over the past five years, ministers have made it a little easier this week for the Opposition to attack them, firstly with the Chancellor’s ‘major success’ comment about the £130m Google deal and secondly with David Gauke refusing to tell the Commons what the effective tax rate was for the company. These are threads the Opposition can pick up today.
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