Company accused of tax-dodging granted public money

AstraZeneca and its partners awarded £93m in grants

Today’s Guardian features Aditya Chakrabortty’s piece on tax avoidance and mentions my disclosure that AstraZeneca and its partners extracted over £93m in InnovateUK funding between 2007-2014.

AstraZeneca itself was awarded £1.4m where it was the lead applicant.

The data is from here: https://interact.innovateuk.org/projects

Many of AstraZeneca’s partners are state-funded universities. The company also no doubt benefits from generous tax policies that allow companies to claim tax credits against research and development activities:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-research-and-development-rd-relief

And, of course, AstraZeneca obtains a large part of its turnover from drug and other sales to the NHS and other public health systems around the world.

All of this may be fine. It may bring key benefits to the sick. But unless the government and big businesses clearly explain to citizens that they have to pump billions into private companies in order to incentivise business investment, boost company profits and socialise corporate risks, AstraZeneca and other tax-dodging companies should adhere to the basic principle of the welfare state: no rights without responsibilities. The government should tackle tax avoidance rather than continue to collude in it.

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