Yorkshire MPs will seek Parliamentary time to debate Yorkshire Water’s failure to pay any corporation tax last year after a meeting in Westminster failed to assuage their concerns.
Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith said it was “pretty shocking” to hear senior executives from the foreign-owned utility firm set out their justification for paying out dividends to shareholders worth more than £250m while also hiking bills by more than six per cent and not paying a penny in corporation tax.
“It was disappointing,” he said, following the crunch talks between Yorkshire Water bosses and around 10 Yorkshire MPs yesterday afternoon.
“We got an explanation of Yorkshire Water’s side of the story of why they didn’t pay tax last year, but we didn’t get any sense they were particularly concerned about it.
“It was fairly shocking from that point of view.”
Mr Smith said he does not dispute that Yorkshire Water is acting within the letter of the law, but will now seek to bring Parliamentary pressure on both the firm and its regulator, OFWAT, to address the situation.
In a statement released afterwards, Yorkshire Water stressed it has always acted “in total compliance with HMRC rules” and described the meeing as “constructive”.
“Today’s meeting was very constructive and enabled us to talk a number of Yorkshire MP’s through our accounts and reassure them that as a wholly UK tax resident company, we pay our tax in full and fully comply with both the letter and spirit of HMRC’s rules,” it said.
“We make a massive contribution to the regional economy through our investment, spending more than £1 million every day to improve drinking water quality, bathing water quality and to help ensure communities are better protected from flooding.
“The tax rules were designed by Government to encourage such investment in infrastructure, but if they wish to change
these rules then we are happy to be part of any future debates.”