Is Ed Miliband picking a fight with Google?

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In his interview with the Observer yesterday, Ed Miliband singled out Google as a company who aren’t “living up to their responsibilities” on tax, saying:

” I don’t think [Google] are living up to their responsibilities at the moment, and I will be very clear about that on Wednesday. It is part of a culture of irresponsibility. If everyone approaches their tax affairs as some of these companies have approached their tax affairs we wouldn’t have a health service, we wouldn’t have an education system. And actually the point I will make at Google is that will undermine Google.”

This follows a statement last week from the Labour leader which also attacked Google, and a report from Ed Balls and Catherine McKinnell on tax avoidance.

Ed Miliband has a “long standing” commitment at the Google “Big tent” event on Wednesday when he’ll be speaking to the great and the good of the UK’s corporates and the tech industry. The question is – will he be as harsh on Google at their event as he has been in advance? Whilst some were concerned that Miliband was trying to get his views on Google out ahead of the event to avoid an on the day confrontation, it now seems that the Labour leader intends to take on the internet giant on their home patch…

That’s potentially a double edged sword though – because although tax avoidance of the like Google has been accused of is unpopular with the public, it has had little impact on Google’s massive global success.

Then again – the intention may be to draw attention to David Cameron – who, after all, is advised on business by none other than Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt.

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