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East Anglia: Water company defends tax payments

19:21 12 November 2012

Anglian Water: To be clear, we will pay our tax bill in full as part of our continuing commitment to paying our way, and to being a responsible UK company.

Anglian Water: To be clear, we will pay our tax bill in full as part of our continuing commitment to paying our way, and to being a responsible UK company.

David Devins/newscast

ANGLIAN Water bosses have insisted they have “fulfilled their obligations” after it was revealed the company deferred payment of corporation tax in the last financial year.

According to the utility firm’s cash-flow statement for 2012, Anglian Water paid no corporation tax on its regulated water business in the financial year ending in March.

The company, which made £110.9million profit before tax, paid £500,000 corporation tax in the previous year and £1.4m the year before.

The revelation comes as multinationals such as Starbucks, Google and Amazon were questioned by MPs in the public accounts committee (PAC) over their decision to base their European businesses outside the UK to legally avoid paying full UK tax.

Last night MPs in Suffolk and Essex called for an investigation into any company that is allegedly avoiding corporation tax.

But bosses at Anglian, which for tax purposes is registered in the UK unlike the companies at the PAC, said there was no comparison with brands such as Starbucks and said they had deferred and not avoided tax.

A spokesman for the company said: “Media reports suggesting we haven’t fulfilled our tax obligations are misleading.

“For tax purposes we are registered in the UK, and we pay our full tax liability in accordance with government rules.

“Last year we contributed over £150 million to the economy through taxes we pay or collect on behalf of the government, made up of things like employers’ taxes, environmental taxes, business rates and fuel duty, amongst many others.

“We employ almost 4,000 people, and are spending £2.3 billion on the region’s water infrastructure between 2010 and 2015, which helps create and secure jobs as well as support economic growth.

“We will pay our tax on this in full, but the Government and the UK’s tax regime allow us to defer some tax payments for a period to encourage us to invest as much as we can afford at such an important time for the economy.”

Anglian said that any “temporary tax benefits” from deferring payment is passed on to customers to keep bills low.

A spokesman added: “To be clear, we will pay our tax bill in full as part of our continuing commitment to paying our way, and to being a responsible UK company.”

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said he has already asked the chair of the treasury select committee, of which he is a member, to hold a hearing to quiz chief executives of companies that are allegedly avoiding corporation tax.

He added: “I am looking forward to them coming in front of us.”

Sir Bob Russell, MP, for Colchester, said he was “fed up” with corporations who did not pay tax while members of the public are “quite rightly expected to pay personal taxation.”

He added: “Everybody should pay tax that is due to them.”

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