Well done Ritchie, well done

I do not criticise the Church Commissioners for having a stake in that case but do believe that they have a duty to make clear that they expect the company to respond to shareholder demands, and that there are at least three of those. The first is that tax is paid in the right place, at the right rate and at the right time. That meets the company’s ethical and legal obligations. It also reduces shareholder risk, considerably.

The second is that that Alphabet (and other companies) make clear their commitment to this policy and not by some token gesture, boiler plate statement of the type the UK government is currently proposing but instead by the creation of policy on which they intend to proactively report in future.

Which means that the third demand should be that the company evidence its right behaviour by publishing full country-by-country reporting. Nothing less will do.

Might have been worth noting that the founders control the company through three classes of shares, those with no voting rights, those with one vote and those with 10x that one vote. Meaning that Larry and Sergei need take fuck all note of the Church Commissioners and their desires because they have a majority of the votes.

But then expecting Ritchie to master detail is like…..well, like what, neoliberal pendantry?

14 thoughts on “Well done Ritchie, well done”

  1. In addition to your point

    1. Tax is already paid in the right place, at the right rate, and at the right time. They’ve got an army of accountants and lawyers to make sure that it is. Why does Murphy keep wittering on about it? They pay every penny the tax man says they owe – but not a penny more. And since its the government that has all the guns, if the government is satisfied with the tribute rendered, why can’t he be?

    2. How much more clearer can their committment to the above be? They pay in full what’s demanded of them. A flowery statement of principles that you don’t actually hold to isn’t worth the paper its printed on – its what you *do* that matters, not what you say you’ll do. And Alphabet pays their tax in full. If HMRS finds an error in payment they’ll bring it to Alphabet’s attention who will then double check and either accept that they made a mistake and hand over the cash or provide evidence that there’s not actually been a mistake made.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    ” A flowery statement of principles that you don’t actually hold to isn’t worth the paper its printed on – its what you *do* ”

    Google already has a flowery statement that covers it:”Don’t be evil”

  3. In his post Ritchie says:-
    “…as I am engaging with a number of investors these days I share my opinion here.”
    He then most definitely does NOT say the Church Commissioners should disinvest in that awful group he so roundly condemned before the PAC; apparently it doesn’t match his definition of ‘egregious'(what does then one wonders)

    Does anyone else find that curious?

  4. Vastly wealthy international organisations with powerfully connected people who peddle snake oil to the masses, shape our laws and pay little tax need to be watched carefully. Anyway, enough about the CofE….

  5. Well, Cameron paid his tax at the right place, at the right rate and at the right time.

    Didn’t stop The Dick carping though, did it?

    Curiously, The Dick’s definition doesn’t mean you have to pay the right amount…

  6. “Curiously, The Dick’s definition doesn’t mean you have to pay the right amount…”

    Thats because the right amount is whatever The Dick says it is on any given day. Today it might be X, next week 3X, next month 5X, just because.

  7. @richard

    Be interested to see your evidence that the CCs are tax exempt in ways that similar organisations are not?

    (Clue – I think it is a conspiracy theory)

  8. If you can scrape together the 30 quid to buy the shareholder’s statement of accounts, there already is country by country reporting. If you’re too stingy for that, the public statement of accounts submitted to the US regulators lists USA, UK, Ireland and RestOfWorld.

  9. Matt W, only that they’re a charity.

    Used to be an exempt charity (i.e. not subject to oversight by the Charities Commission), but I think they’re now regulated.

    I think they’re a statutory charity, i.e. they are a charity because there’s a specific statutory provision that they are, rather than having to pass the general test. But I might be wrong on that; I can’t find the statute.

  10. @ Richard
    Prior to New Labour re-writing charity law to benefit their pals, providing education, supporting religion and helping the poor were automatically deserving of charitable status. Pension funds are also tax-exempt. The Church Commissioners mostly fund clergy pensions to impoverished retired clergy and their widows. So it it is doubly, occasionally trebly, entitled to exemption from tax.,

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