The Telegraph has reported today that Atos and G4S paid no corporation tax last year despite carrying out £2billion of taxpayer-funded work.
Two of the country’s biggest private contractors paid no corporation tax in Britain last year, despite carrying out billions of pounds of taxpayer funded work for the Government, an official audit finds.
Margaret Hodge MP, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: 'Everyone has a duty to pay their fair share in tax, but there is something particularly galling about the idea of company who gets its income from the public purse not putting its rightful contribution back in.'
A report by the National Audit Office, published today, disclosed for the first time how much Government work is now outsourced to the private sector.
It found that the four biggest suppliers - Atos, Capita, G4S and Serco - carried out £6.6billion-worth of work for the public sector and central Government last year.
Yet two of them – Atos and G4S which carried out £2billion-worth for work for the Government and public sector – paid no corporation tax at all in the UK in 2012.
Capita paid between £50million and £56million, while Serco paid £25million in tax.
Further detail from the NAO on the scale of the contracts is reported in the Independent:
Serco holds public sector contracts worth £1.8 billion - including £611 million with the Ministry of Defence and £382m with local government.
Capita has deals totalling £1.08bn, while the figures for G4S and Atos are £718m and £683m respectively.
Atos and G4S were criticised in a statement by Margaret Hodge MP, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
She said: “Of course, we don’t actually know how much profit Atos and G4S made in the UK last year because this remains an area where there is a total lack of transparency.
“We need to lift that veil of secrecy – and again, that duty of transparency should apply particularly to those who derive their income from taxpayers’ money.”
G4S sources said that the company did not pay any corporation tax last year because it had carried one-off losses over from the previous year. Overall it said it paid around £400million in PAYE-related taxes.
A spokesman for Atos, which is carrying out fit for work tests on sick and disabled benefits claimants, said: “… due to significant investment in the UK to maintain our business here as well as pension contributions, we did not make enough profit last year to qualify for Corporation Tax.”
In another Independent article Margaret Hodge MP is also reported as stating that “Departments have a duty to ensure that the taxpayer is not being ripped off and that people, not profit, remain at the heart of our public services.
Our thanks to Pre-Raphaelite Sister for spotting these news stories for us