Energy supplier EDF Energy was forced to defend its tax record over the weekend after Tory MP Charlie Elphicke suggested it paid no tax.
Mr Elphicke made the claims during a speech in the Commons last week when he also lambasted nine water companies for allegedly paying a collective £541million in tax despite combined profits of £10billion a year which he said worked out at “an effective tax rate of 5%”.
He told the House he was “concerned about whether utility companies are paying the appropriate amount of tax”.
The Conservative backbencher who is also a tax lawyer went on: “Over the three most recent years for which figures are available, EDF, which is owned by the French Government, made £268.4 million of interest payments to group companies.
According to my calculations, the tax forgone is potentially £70 million, if we assume a corporation tax rate of about the average, 26%.”
His comments went down well with some members of the public, with one tweeting: “Impressed with Charles Elphicke, MP for Dover calling for companies like EDF Energy to reduce their customers bills! #Tax”.
However the French-owned firm hit back on Saturday by stating it paid £156million to the taxman in 2011 and £116million in 2012. In a statement, the generator which is set to build the UK’s next generation of nuclear power plants said it “wishes to make clear that it pays all corporation tax due to HM Treasury”.
The firm said this was on top of investments in its nuclear and coal power stations, new generation capacity, gas storage and in its customer supply business of £1.1 billion in 2011 and £1.3bn in 2012.
It added: “These investments benefit businesses and consumers across the UK.”
Earlier this year energy supplier npower was embroiled in the ever-growing tax row which has also seen Amazon, Apple and Starbucks fall into the public eye for paying low levels of tax. There is no suggestion that the companies have done anything outside of the law.