Uber now stands accused of avoiding all UK tax
Controversial alternative taxi firm Uber has now been hit by a new campaign by black-cab drivers in London, and this time it’s war. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said the campaign is to "highlight what we are up against" and sees taxis and billboards across London slapped with posters claiming that Uber does not pay tax in the UK.
Uber burst onto the scene as a cheaper and easier alternative to traditional cabs in London. Many consumers like the convenience and affordability but ‘proper’ taxi drivers in many cities are understandably peeved that Uber does not appear to be subject to the same stringent regulations. Following concerns, Uber has been banned in a number of cities across the world, together with questions over the adequacy of its driver checks.
The posters show Uber's senior vice president of policy and strategy Rachel Whetstone and Prime Minister David Cameron, with whom she is friends, beside a picture of Chancellor George Osborne – with an incorrect sum adding up to the fact that Uber apparently pays no tax in the UK.
"These ads are not anti-Uber," Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA told the BBC.
"The campaign is designed to highlight that the lobbying arm of Uber, a $50bn US company, has its tentacles embedded deep within Whitehall.
"The irony is that UK tax payers are subsidising Uber, a company that pays no tax in the UK, through tax credits and other DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) benefits paid to Uber drivers earning less than minimum wage."
Uber, whose head office is in the Netherlands, said in response: "The campaign is simply incorrect. We pay taxes in every country we operate in and comply with all local and international tax laws, this includes the UK."
Last year, Uber's tax affairs were referred to HMRC by Transport for London following a complaint from Labour MP Margaret Hodge that it was opting out of the UK tax regime. The campaign will initially feature on 250 cabs, three advertising vans and on more than 25 digital sites across London.