Home Employment Why Tesco needs to be upfront about CEO Ken Murphy’s tax affairs

Why Tesco needs to be upfront about CEO Ken Murphy’s tax affairs

Tesco boss takes home £4.4 million – pays taxes in Ireland

That’s a lot, but not in line with peers (his Sainsbury rival got £3.8 million in the latest reported figures).

The point of interest was that Murphy appears to be resident in Ireland for tax purposes. Where he presumably pays less, and of course nothing, to the British government where most of the company is based.

At first Tesco said nothing at all. No confirmation, no denial, nothing.

Today it came together to say this: “We don’t comment on individual colleagues’ tax dealings”, as if Murphy were a private individual who runs a warehouse in Wigan, rather than the CEO of one of the UK’s largest and most important companies. Britain.

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In some ways, it may not matter much where Murphy pays taxes. He is Irish after all, he was born in Cork.

Maybe that’s what he’d say if asked – people say he’s a reasonable guy.

Yet the idea that his tax affairs are not a matter of public interest is downright absurd.

As indeed, the idea is that Tesco doesn’t comment on this sort of thing. It would, if it were remotely in his best interest to do so.

What happens now? Well, maybe nothing. But MPs have just launched an inquiry into rising food prices amid concerns that some in the trade are “unjustly” taking advantage of inflation in supermarkets.

Supermarkets are always monitored for things like this because what they sell is so important to the survival of the nation.

Usually they do well. They had a good pandemic and the competition in the industry is so fierce that it’s hard to see there could be a lot of price gouging in stores (suppliers may have a different story).

So they have a good story to tell. Why a CEO would risk that, risk his opinion being ignored in order to save a few tax dollars, is not clear.

Unless there’s a lot more going on than we know. MPs should ask. Live on TV.

Aside from that, today’s news is that one in five workers will be a senior taxpayer by 2027. That’s one in four teachers and one in eight nurses, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

In that context, seeing Tesco’s £4 million CEO’s tax affairs as a wholly private matter seems inconsequential.

Wouldn’t it be better if CEOs stated how much they have repaid in addition to the disclosures in the annual report about their stock options and bonus plans?

They could compete to see who paid the most taxes, rather than just who got the highest salary.

Why not?

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