G4S Plc (GFS) paid no U.K. tax on British revenues of 1.9 billion pounds ($3 billion) in 2012, the year it failed to provide sufficient security for the London Olympics, according to a report from the National Audit Office.
The company, whose Chief Executive Officer Nick Buckles quit this year after the government had to call in the military at short notice to help protect the Olympics, said in a statement that it hadn’t paid tax because of exceptional losses in 2012.
G4S, the world’s biggest security-services provider, paid 85 million pounds of tax worldwide on profits of 175 million pounds, according to the report by the government spending watchdog published today. Its global revenues were 8 billion pounds, of which 700 million pounds came from the U.K. government.
Another major supplier to the U.K. government, Atos, an information-technology company based in Bezons, France, also paid no U.K. tax on British revenues of 1.4 billion pounds, of which half came from the U.K. government, according to the NAO.
“There is something particularly galling about the idea of a company who gets its income from the public purse not putting its rightful contribution back in,” Margaret Hodge, the Labour Party lawmaker who chairs Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said in an e-mailed statement. “We don’t actually know how much profit Atos and G4S made in the U.K. last year because this remains an area where there is a total lack of transparency. We need to lift that veil of secrecy.”
The NAO was looking at the way government contracts are awarded and managed. It concluded that while using private companies can save the government money and reduce risks, too much emphasis on cutting costs threatens to hamper innovation and investment.
“We don’t undertake any aggressive tax planning and everything booked in the U.K. is also billed here,” Atos (ATO) said in an e-mailed statement. “However, due to significant investment in the U.K. to maintain our business here as well as pension contributions we did not make enough profit last year to qualify for corporation tax.”
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