business

Starbucks global chief Troy Alstead faces MPs. Getty

Matt Brittin, chief executive officer of Google UK, Troy Alstead, Starbucks global chief financial officer, and Andrew Cecil, Amazon’s director of public policy have been questioned by MPs on why they pay so little corporation tax in the UK. For background, see our news story:

18:04: Hodge says British prime minister not happy, business secretary has branded all three companies a disgrace and wants their response.

18:03: All three company executives believe OECD guidelines on how a branch of a multinational on the internet should be reviewed. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

New Labour was very fond of appointing business figures to ceremonial jobs as a way to convince the world that they understood enterprise.

It was also a cunning device to create diversionary “good news” when events were not going to plan. The trend reached its surreal peak when Gordon Brown appointed Alan Sugar as Lord Sugar and made him enterprise tsar – on the day that the beleaguered Labour prime minister was almost toppled by an uprising of his own ministers.

In the post-CSR environment, David Cameron and his team are determined to foster a climate of upbeat events and news stories to shift the focus off the deepest cuts for a generation. This may explain why the prime minister was planning to unveil a new wave of “trade ambassadors” next week to co-incide with a trip to the Far East. This news management has alas been spoiled this evening by FT columnist Mark Kleinman (also business editor of Sky) who reveals on his blog* that Richard Lambert, the outgoing director-general of the CBI, is one of them. Read more >>