Public Accounts CommitteeWritten evidence from Google

I am writing to you following a Reuters story about Google’s tax affairs.

Having engaged fully with your Committee in answering written and oral questions over the past months, I was very concerned to read allegations suggesting we had not fully represented how we operate in the UK. I wanted to write to you immediately to set the record straight and to prevent any misconceptions from gaining hold.

We have reviewed the evidence we gave to you during the extensive three hour evidence session and can assure you that my testimony was an honest and accurate account of how we work.

The Reuters article, on the other hand, is wilfully misleading. We explained to them in some detail how our company works and talked them through my evidence. They chose, however, to quote just a few words out of context and we have complained to the Editor about their approach. I am attaching the full statement we have issued this morning.

To take the Reuters claims in turn. First, there is a suggestion that I was less than open about the role of staff based in the UK. During the oral evidence, I told your Committee: “if [customers] want to buy advertising from us they are encouraged to do so by our people in the UK—they will buy it from our expert team in Dublin.” I went on to say “...the people on the ground [in the UK] are helping people make the most of the web and the people in Ireland are helping to operate the systems and sell advertising to the businesses that want to work with us.” We also said in our subsequent letter to your Committee: “Google UK Ltd provides sales, marketing and R&D support to Google Inc.” The second allegation made by Reuters concerns the adverts that we have placed for staff to work in our UK office. We accept that the wording of some of these adverts was confusing and we are working to fix that.

Over the past few months we have engaged fully with your Committee in helping you with your enquiries. I hope this letter addresses any questions that were raised by the incomplete picture this article painted.

Matt Brittin
Vice President, Northern and Central Europe

1 May 2013

Prepared 12th June 2013