News Round-Up – Tax, tomato ketchup, and satin bras

Google giggle

Google has used the tax haven of Bermuda to shelter £30billion of profits including £3bn from the UK, the company has admitted.   Bermuda has a corporation tax rate of 0%.  Google has no office and no staff there.  But vice-president Peter Barron said the Bermuda arrangement had no bearing on the amount of tax paid in the UK., where it paid the standard 20% rate of tax. Google has recently agreed to pay £130m in back taxes on £7.2bn of profits earned in the UK in the past decade, following a six-year audit.

Paying for nothing

Supermarkets are marketing ‘gluten-free’ products at a price premium, even though regular cheaper versions contain no gluten anyway.  Tesco’s own brand tomato ketchup is 65p, and contains no gluten. But the giant also sells a ‘gluten-free’ version for £1.20.  Sainsbury’s basic tomato and basil soup is 50p, but the fancy ‘free from’ version is three times more expensive at £1.50.  Some 13 per cent of the population are said to have adopted a gluten-free diet, though experts say the benefits are limited.

Nicola backs Amazon

The Amazon distribution centre in Gourock.

The  Scottish Government was right to give Amazon almost £1m in taxpayers’ money, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.   Questioned by LibDem leader Willie Rennie over the company’s reputation for paying low wages and running “an exceptionally horrible place to work” at Dunfermline,  Sturgeon said the grant was justified by the hundreds of jobs created, and her government was taking a UK lead in promoting the Living Wage.   Amazon said its permanent staff started on £7.20 an hour which went up by at least 11% within two years.

Doomsday debt

The average Briton can expect to become debt-free at the age of 69 – which is 12 years later than they hope to. People typically expect to be clear of their debts, including mortgages, by the time they are 57, according to a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Research for by peer-to-peer lender Zopa meanwhile warned that people reaching adulthood now are likely to have an even longer wait to reach their ‘debt-free birthday’.  Someone aged between 16 and 24 now could be  74 by the time they can celebrate becoming debt-free, the report claimed – as rising property prices lead to bigger mortgage debts. And someone aged between 25 and 34 could be 71 by the time they are free of home loans and other debts.

Bra wars

Looking to buy some glamorous lingerie ahead of Valentines Day by any chance? You can pick up your satin bra, lacy briefs and silky kimono in a range that costs only £17.97 in total and comes not from M & S ….but from Aldi.  The cheapest item is £3.99 and the German discounter says it expects the undies to “fly off the shelves”.

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