Yes, consistent with the spirit of the age, and no doubt inspired by Google and Amazon, the British Council has made the new appointment of Head, Global Tax. The new man, Toby Bushill, starts work on June 17th and his tax avoidance credentials, having worked with Deloitte, Coopers and Lybrand and Price Waterhouse are impeccable. The announcement from the office of the British Council's Finance Chief, says:
"Toby will be a key member of the Finance Leadership Team, reporting directly into myself. His wealth of expertise and experience place him well to support the British Councils growth ambition, and in particular, relating to the development and management of our group and subsidiaries structure."
We have remarked many times over the years how nobody seems to mind - government, charity commission, parliamentary select committees, the NAO etc. - that a taxpayer funded organisation should have the freedom to compete, by definition unfairly, with the private sector, and in more recent years have 12 subsidiary companies all over the world. And now the org is making a senior appointment (and not a cheap one I dare say) whose job is to see that the org pays the minimum of tax.That is after all the purpose of all those subsidiary companies.
Can there be any right thinking person who thinks this is OK? Whatever you think of the arrangements made by Google and Amazon and co., they are for profit companies and so will necessarily organise their affairs to pay the minimum. The British Council, however, is (supposedly) not for profit, and would not exist without the millions donated by the taxpayer.
It's an ugly organisation, and it just got uglier.
PS. Tip for Toby: in organisations where you have to report into your superior, it's a good idea to keep your back to the wall.