back to article UK taxpayers funded Grand Theft Auto V maker to tune of £42m – while biz paid no corp tax and made billions

How "culturally British" is tax avoidance? Well, just ask Gary Barlow, Jimmy Carr and David Beckham, to name but a few. Now one "culturally British" games development house can be added to the list. Edinburgh-based Rockstar North – a subsidiary of NYC publisher Take-Two Interactive – is a household name thanks to the …

  1. codejunky Silver badge

    Woo

    Well done rockstar! They paid no corporation tax because they paid the workers and so the tax man even gains more!

    https://continentaltelegraph.com/business/chutzpah-thy-name-is-richer-over-rockstars-gta-v-taxation/

    1. DougS Silver badge

      That's fine, but

      Why should they get tax subsidies? I would set up the programs so at a minimum a corporation can't claim subsidies in excess of actual taxes paid. If you have a balance of subsidy of 'x' and try to claim a tax loss, you could only claim refunds for losses above the 'x' threshold.

      Its great that employees are getting the money, but are they all paying UK taxes? If they have offices in other countries, or they're working remotely (I don't know if Rockstar does that, but did the subsidy anticipate that?) then the UK gets nothing. What about the owners, I'm sure they get a lot of that money, are they paying UK taxes?

      If you know for 100% certain that the UK treasury is getting the money back through personal income taxes maybe you decide you don't care. But still, why does the company deserve a subsidy? If the idea is to encourage companies paying wages in the UK in a certain industry, why not give the tax breaks directly to the employees? That would be a hell of a recruiting tool - work for us and you will not only get the salary we're offering but also a special tax credit from the UK government that reduces your tax bill.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: That's fine, but

        "Its great that employees are getting the money, but are they all paying UK taxes?"

        For the amounts in question it's virtually certain that they're paying _very_ low rates of tax.

        The more you earn, the bigger the loopholes.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: That's fine, but

        >I would set up the programs so at a minimum a corporation can't claim subsidies in excess of actual taxes paid

        I'm not sure that works, if a company were making enough to pay corporation tax they probably wouldn't need a subsidy.

        You probably just need to stop giving tax breaks to Hollywood studios and massive games companies - but I don't suppose Dales farmhouse cheese makers pay much in lobbying

      3. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: That's fine, but

        @DougS

        "Why should they get tax subsidies?"

        Unfortunately the answer to that is the gov wanted to give them our money. As with all government spending, they think they can spend it better than us. In limited cases that is true, but very limited.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That's fine, but

          So, let's leave the EU and give our government more power, eh, CJ?

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: That's fine, but

            @AC

            "So, let's leave the EU and give our government more power, eh, CJ?"

            Good idea, lets do that.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's fine, but

        "Its great that employees are getting the money, but are they all paying UK taxes? If they have offices in other countries, or they're working remotely (I don't know if Rockstar does that, but did the subsidy anticipate that?) then the UK gets nothing."

        To be fair, that's how corporation tax works anyway. If the costs associated with the sales originate in another country, it reduces your corporation tax liability.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: That's fine, but

          Yes, but why would you give tax incentives to a company if you won't get them back and more to make your government's "investment" worth it? If you don't get it back via corporate taxes and don't get it back via employee's wage/income taxes, then it was a bad investment and the tax credits should have gone to a company that would make more money and pay more in UK corporate taxes, or hire more people in the UK who pay UK payroll/income taxes.

    2. IGotOut

      Re: Woo

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that businesses that DO pay corporation tax, also pay their employees.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Woo

        @IGotOut

        "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that businesses that DO pay corporation tax, also pay their employees."

        The point being income tax being higher than corporation tax. So they paid more in tax by paying the workers more. Thats win win surely?

        1. m0rt Silver badge

          Re: Woo

          ^ooooh that just gave me the warm fuzzies. Isn't capitalism just great? All hail Mammon.

        2. Gio Ciampa

          Re: Woo

          "The point being income tax being higher than corporation tax."

          Utter bollocks!

          Corporation tax at 20% on several £billion is hundreds of £millions ... I'll wager that the employees (bar the CEO) don't even earn anything near that amount ... let alone pay it in income tax.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Woo

            @Gio Ciampa

            "Corporation tax at 20% on several £billion is hundreds of £millions"

            Compare with income tax plus national insurance (employer and employee).

            1. Gio Ciampa

              Re: Woo

              Rockstar employed 2000 people in 2018

              Are you seriously telling me that they earn enough to pay hundreds of millions in tax?

              Come off it...

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Woo

                @Gio Ciampa

                Are you seriously telling me that your still crying rockstar didnt pay the corp tax but instead paid workers who would pay more tax on that money?

                Come off it...

                1. Gio Ciampa

                  Re: Woo

                  Bored now... go feed yourself, troll...

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Woo

                    @Gio Ciampa

                    "Bored now... go feed yourself, troll..."

                    Is this the new way of saying 'I was wrong'? If so dont worry about it, we all make mistakes and it helps talking things through for us all to learn new information.

                2. Richocet

                  Re: Woo

                  The way it is meant to work is that they pay their employees AND corporate tax, not one or the other.

                  1. jh27

                    Re: Woo

                    You don't pay both, on the same pound. Corporation tax is only paid on profit - money paid out in wages is not profit. The tax on money paid out in wages is generally more than that paid on profits, AFAICS

                    Regardless, Rockstar North don't make they rules, they just follow them. I don't think they've been accused of breaking any rules. IMHO, HMRC and the Government could make the whole system a lot simpler and fairer, but the people we've elected clearly aren't interested in that.

                  2. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Woo

                    @Richocet

                    "The way it is meant to work is that they pay their employees AND corporate tax, not one or the other."

                    Thats actually a problem. Because profit comes after costs and wages are a cost. So to do both they would have to pay their employees less.

                3. 96percentchimp

                  Re: Woo

                  Do you have any evidence that they paid their workers more while avoiding corporation tax, or is it one of those religiously-held libertarian beliefs, like trickle-down economics, for which there is no evidence?

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Woo

                    @96percentchimp

                    "Do you have any evidence that they paid their workers more while avoiding corporation tax"

                    I understand your scepticism but yes-

                    https://continentaltelegraph.com/business/chutzpah-thy-name-is-richer-over-rockstars-gta-v-taxation/

                    Also trickle down economics is only a belief? Thats a tough one to claim.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Woo

                      Also trickle down economics is only a belief? Thats a tough one to claim.

                      Well no, it's not a belief - it's a hoax obviously. Money given to the wealthy and large corporations stays in investments, it doesn't magically find its way to the less-well-off - it finds its way to offshore bank accounts. Remember who mentioned this nonsense - the political parties representing the wealthy.

                      Conversely, give a fiver to an unemployed 20-something, and they'll spend it, injecting more money directly into the economy and increasing the GDP.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: Woo

                        @AC

                        "Money given to the wealthy and large corporations stays in investments"

                        Ok, so what is an investment? You provide capital with the expectation of your capital plus interest. You invest to get more back. That is achieved by applying that capital to increasing productivity. This could be new products/services, more workers, better equipment, etc. So that invested money is put into the economy where it is invested.

                        "- it finds its way to offshore bank accounts"

                        What happens to the money in a bank account? It doesnt just sit there, it gets lent out by the bank into the economy.

                        "Conversely, give a fiver to an unemployed 20-something, and they'll spend it, injecting more money directly into the economy and increasing the GDP."

                        How many people does an unemployed 20-something hire? Do they hire a window cleaner? Do they take their car to a car wash? That isnt knocking the 20-something but instead of giving them £5 why not have that investment money sloshing around the economy and bring down the unemployment rate? that 20-something can now be employed and enjoy much more than £5 which they can use for food, shelter, clothing, transport etc and that is the economy.

                        I dont mean to knock your comment, a lot of people see that the money goes into a bank or the word 'investments' but without looking at what happens to that money from there. The economy is the bit after that.

                        1. BuckeyeB

                          Re: Woo

                          Finally, someone who understands economics.

                        2. RedCardinal

                          Re: Woo

                          The idea of "trickle down economics" was discredited as long ago as the 1980s. There's never been any evidence that giving tax breaks to the rich or to large companies provides any significant benefit to people further lower down the economic chain. Quite the contrary in fact, as various studies done over the years has never shown any evidence to support it.

                          It's a pity that it continues to be pushed.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: Woo

                            @RedCardinal

                            "The idea of "trickle down economics" was discredited as long ago as the 1980s."

                            Really? I know misrepresentations (straw men) had been discredited but the proof of its existence is evident everywhere. An example being the mobile phone which is a huge battery attached to a huge handset with an extortionate call plan that nobody could afford but the rich and obviously will never be in the reach of the common man. It is a huge life changer for poorer countries too thanks to the rich countries with their disposable (yet too expensive for a poor country) phones!

                            Even those who have never worked in their lives (e.g. children) have them they are so disposable. How many of us can afford F1 cars and parts? Yet we all benefit from the developments in technology from that. Who benefits from the massive reduction in living costs? Food used to be a majority portion of a household budget with sugars and exotic foodstuffs being the thing of the rich. Even silk stockings.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Woo

      From Continentaltelegraph.com: "Nazi Medals Should Be Legal Holocaust Or Not" - A nice bunch of assholes, aren't they?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Woo

        @Potemkine!

        And you read the article? If you did then your answer to your question is yes they are a nice bunch of arseholes. Try reading it- https://continentaltelegraph.com/civil-liberty/no-censorship-nazi-medals-should-be-legal-holocaust-or-not/

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Woo

          If you did then your answer to your question is yes they are a nice bunch of arseholes.

          I have no doubt about it, the writers of this piece of junk are definitively ones.

          1. Ben1892

            Re: Woo

            ...so are people that deliberately misquote headlines for dramatic effect, but hey there's no censorship here so you're free to think what you like

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Woo

        They also have a bunch of dangerously biased and outright wrong brexit articles, including this golden nugget:

        "Within a month of our departure from the EU, a small number of leftie activists will erect a co-ordinated vehicular sit-in somewhere on the M20. It will probably just be a few clapped out bangers and a few knackered trucks bought with Soros money.

        In a nice little roadblock, they will stack the vehicles across all lanes of the M20, and then once the emergency services arrive to clear them away, they will use every means they can think of to delay the removal. The chaos caused by these hippie roadblocks will immediately be chararacterised as a Brexit issue." - https://continentaltelegraph.com/brexit/hippie-roadblocks/

        The editor in chief is "29 Mar 2019 - 29 Mar 2019, 10:33am. Comment: The EU is shutting out views that do not chime with the Brussels elite. We can't leave too soon. Tim Worstall." - the very Tim Worst all of this very site.

        If it wasn't for knowing that, I'd have assumed the site was parody.

        Watch out for the Brussels Soros elite!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Woo

          I for one will be claiming my Soros banger money... The Antifa demonstration travel allowance isn't what it used to be

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Woo

            The Antifa demonstration travel allowance isn't what it used to be

            I know!... And how do you get one of those lovely black jackets with "ANTIFA" on the back?

            From the Trump website you say?

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Woo

      "They paid no corporation tax because they paid the workers"

      Incorrect. They paid no corporation tax because they pushed any profits to Take2.

      And as other people have noted, they could have paid all their staff very well indeed (and the income tax on those salaries) as well as paying corporation tax, and not claimed for tax relief, and still made a profit.

      In fact, GTAV is (still) making them so much money, they could probably have paid twice as much tax (and salaries etc. etc.) and still made a profit.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Woo

        This is the problem. Regardless of how much tax a business is paying, whether they're in profit or not doesn't really matter so far as subsidy is concerned. The idea is to develop industry (which can be a successful company, but preferably a skill base and supporting businesses) and build a market, ideally one that somehow attracts foreign capital into the economy, or at least into a disadvantaged area. If they successfully do that then all is good, however if instead the reason no tax is being paid is that profits are being transferred offshore then there is a problem, because it suggests the money being attracted is not staying in the area.

  2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    GOURANGA!

  3. AceRimmer1980
    Stop

    BUSTED!

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Cultural

    Could they at least produce a Britain mod?

    With another 40Million quid they could presumably imagine an Edinburgh with drugs, murders and prostitutes

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Cultural

      Yeah, but only if Downing Street agrees to fund it.

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Cultural

      "imagine an Edinburgh with drugs, murders and prostitutes"

      No, I can't imagine that

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Cultural

        What about an Edinburgh fringe version?

        Instead of murdering prostitutes you murder mimes?

        Extra points for escaping from theatre troops or hitting well known stand-ups

        All to close that shortbread deal

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Cultural

          Or the meanies (traffic cops)

        2. Just Enough

          Re: Cultural

          Already been done.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSnQSTZ460o

          Well, kind of.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "which allows the player to murder prostitutes "

      What's more culturally British than Jack The Ripper?

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Cultural

      How about Rebus - the video game?

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The Register has asked Rockstar to comment."

    Why not ask whoever is responsible for conducting the British values test? BTW the link to the test in the 2014 article now produces the most way-out 404 I've ever come across.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      We got rid of that page. Tell us about yourself.

      Worst chat-up line ever.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just like real life

    "... and pull off heists in pursuit of their goals. It's a lot of fun."

  7. simonlb

    Tax Avoidance?

    Possibly, but if the system is broken then change the system so the loopholes which allow these thing to occur are closed. Don't call out people or companies who legitimately game the country's broken tax system for their own benefit, even if you think it's 'morally wrong' when it's still completely legal.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Tax Avoidance?

      If you don't call out the injustice and bring attention to it, there never will be any incentive to change.

      Or are you intending to build a multi-billion dollar game franchise on public money as well ?

    2. codemonkey

      Re: Tax Avoidance?

      "broken tax system"...ha ha ha

    3. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Tax Avoidance?

      I assume this is the classical trick, where the UK-based business is paid like a third-party for the work they do, as if just any group of people picked from the street would create a product of the exact same quality.

      What we see is that the creators of the game generating the income are British, and happen to be owned by an American company. What the accountants see is that the company producing the game is American, and have outsourced the work to a random outfit that they pay just enough to not go bankrupt.

    4. Richocet

      Re: Tax Avoidance?

      These schemes are not usually completely legal. They are 90% legal, but they involve a step like inflating licensing fees or having the money pass through a secret shell company in a tax haven, and lying to the governments and tax offices about the ownership arrangements. Relying on the secrecy of the tax haven to prevent the lie being proven.

      This is why the Panama papers were so significant. They proved that the actual arrangements were different to those reported to authorities.

      A tax system that takes people's word and can only verify the truth if a secret tax haven discloses key information (which they are set up never to do) - is broken.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The FIFTH sequel?!

    Even ignoring titles that were exclusively for the console rabble, we have:

    Grand Theft Auto

    GTA: London 1969

    GTA2

    GTA3

    GTA Vice City

    GTA San Andreas

    GTA4

    GTA5

    Honestly, I'm more disappointed than angry.

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      It's just easier to say fifth sequel of a core series instead of trying to explain why the one called 5 is actually the 15th Grand Theft Auto game. Vice City and San Andreas are period throwbacks to the '80s and '90s – intermezzos in the main timeline. There must be some kind of internal "lore" logic to the numbering, but I've already wasted enough time on this comment.

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      London, Vice City and San Andreas are themed spin offs rather than the main series.

    3. eldakka Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      GTA: London 1969?

      That was probably sub-titled: The Culturally British Subsidy Edition .

      And they've been using that for the last ~20 years to justify the subsidies.

    4. iRadiate

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      Some of those are prequels.

    5. Unep Eurobats
      Headmaster

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      It's actually the fourth sequel but the fifth instalment, or iteration if you will.

      I read it in a memo from Jacob Rees-Mogg.

      1. Justin Case
        Headmaster

        Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

        Thank you. Thank you. I was just about to make the very self same point and you did it for me.

        Now where did I put my PIN number?

    6. Trilkhai

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      The numbering refers to the underlying engines, e.g GTA IV is the fourth generation, and its multi-platform expansions were The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. If we count all of the Rockstar-produced GTAs that either were numbered or direct expansions/spinoffs using a numbered engine — which then includes Vice City Stories & Liberty City Stories (as platform is kind of irrelevant) — we end up with GTA V technically being the thirteenth game in the series.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

      Seriously folks, forget about GTA and play the Saints Row series instead. Much better.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: The FIFTH sequel?!

        But skip the first because that's before the series realised that being something other than a pure GTA clone was probably a good idea.

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The Fifth Sequel

    Well, Vice City used the same engine as GTA3, but San Andreas as a big leap, so should have been the '4'.

  10. Time Waster

    Development costs

    It’s easy to villainise companies for paying no corporation tax on seemingly enormous sales figures but it’s not always quite as simple as articles such as this make out. I haven’t looked at the actual figures but RockStar is potentially a good example of this. While worldwide, there’s little doubt they’ve made massive profits on this franchise. The UK, however, presumably makes up for a relatively small fraction of these sales. On the other hand, given the majority of their workforce is presumably based in the UK, I assume costs to this subsidiary are significantly higher than anywhere else in the world, naturally resulting in vastly reduced profits (or, as I assume from their zero corporate tax payment, a loss). There is not necessarily anything particularly immoral or sinister about this. In fact, were they to start booking profits from their other subsidiaries in the UK (in an attempt to pay more tax here), this would seem equally unfair to taxpayers in the countries these profits were made in (see the case of Amazon / Google / etc in the UK). Likewise, from the UK’s perspective, employing significant numbers of people here, resulting in higher costs, hence low / zero corporation tax is arguably much better than the Irish situation of booking all your profits there, paying trivial rates of corporation tax, whilst ensuring all your costs (i.e. staff / acquisitions / etc) are in higher tax jurisdictions where you would prefer to minimise profits.

    The sanity of subsidising such companies with government handouts is another matter entirely, though I vaguely recollect at the time the general consensus was that it was a positive move in encouraging the industry to the UK and some concern that GTA might not actually qualify.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Development costs

      That's hardly the point. The UK government essentially paid for the production of this game, the game was then sold worldwide and the profits all booked somewhere for the US parent to avoid US tax.

      So apart from the number of kidney machines (or whatever the normal unit of government outrage) this cost the UK taxpayer, it also disrupts a lot of people's lives and careers.

      The production moved to Scotland for this subsidy, next year when Montreal or Wellington or Vancouver offer a better deal, these people will be fired and a similar bunch hired there.

      It also makes it difficult for other independent studios, who don't have the government covering their wage bill, to compete.

      If Germany announced that it was paying all VW's production costs and letting them pay no tax - allowing them to sell cars for half the price of anyone else, there would be an outcry but movie and games studios expect it.

      1. baud

        Re: Development costs

        > If Germany announced that it was paying all VW's production costs and letting them pay no tax

        They're not doing that already?

      2. phuzz Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Development costs

        "The production moved to Scotland for this subsidy"

        No, to be fair to Rockstar, they've been based in the UK since they were called DMA Design back in 1984. (Yes the creators of GTA were also the creators of Lemmings). The only move was from Dundee to Edinburgh (and who can fault them for that?).

        Hence part of the outcry, they've always been a UK company, making games in the UK, so deliberately moving their money elsewhere is a bit of a kick.

  11. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Subtle insult?

    'Tax Watch wryly suggested: "It is unlikely that the drafters of that guidance had in mind a game which allows the player to murder prostitutes when formulating the cultural test."'

    So Tax Watch is saying that they don't believe that HM Government intended to promote Jack the Ripper as an important part of UK culture?

  12. Flywheel Silver badge
    FAIL

    You've got it all wrong!

    The Government (more specifically that Chris Graying chappy) subsidised it as they believed it was a transport training simulator for when Brexit kicks in and the Irish Backstop vanishes. It was designed to accurately mirror the predicted scenes at what used to be The Border.

  13. mark l 2 Silver badge

    its hard to see how Rockstar North could be consider to producing 'culturally British' titles when pretty much their main two titles developed over the last decade have been heavily U.S. influenced titles in GTA and Red Dead Redemption.

    Ironically the one British spin off on GTA, London 1969 wasn't even developed by Rockstar North but by Rockstar Canada.

  14. gerdesj Silver badge
    Gimp

    Brexit edition

    Could someone put likenesses of all UK politicians into this cultural masterpiece please?

    I suspect it'll fly off the shelf even quicker hereabouts.

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Lawmakers prefer to have rich friends than poor ones

    I read some believe the tax system is broken... on the contrary, it works perfectly, it was made to create these loopholes the richest ones will use to avoid paying their fair share. In that case, the legal scam is quiet perfect, because honest taxpayers will in the end give money to these Nation's burglars. The ones who designed it were clever, it took years before the scandal is made public.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: GTA V is culturally British

      In 2018 there were 137 murders in London.

      That compares to a peak of 221 in 2003.

      Meanwhile 289 people were murdered in NYC in 2018.

  17. trollied

    $6 billion

    I'd have thought that World of Warcraft would have pulled in way more than $6 billion over the years.

  18. JDX Gold badge

    I wonder how they managed it

    Tax aside - it's a separate issue - I wonder how on earth one of the most successful franchises managed to convince anyone they were a good awardee of £40m given their highly profitable track record.

    There IS more to it than just CT because of the jobs involved (and huge amounts of corporate NI paid) but still it's pretty crass to take a huge grant and then pay 0. Sounds like they got a great person in their bidding department, but could hire someone in the PR department to advise on this sort of thing ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder how they managed it

      Well, they managed it because nobody bothered about the "cultural" bit. They all followed their orders and looked away. I mean, if you have a more or less cushy job, do you rock the boat? This carries a risk you might personally experience what it's like to be overboard. Now they'll spend another 10 years trying to establish what went wrong, spending more millions to do that - and failing miserably. No, I don't see a solution. Not one that will REALLY be applied; I've already lost any faith in human kind.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Based in Scotland? What a surprise!

    Why is anyone surprised a company in Scotland is following the Scottish MPs' lead in taking whatever they can get and giving nothing back?

    The Scots claim that having a separate Parliament means they don't have to pay any attention to anything coming out of Westminster, but somehow they don't have a problem using taxes raised from English workers to fund their subsidized NHS hospitals and prescription charges, failing shipbuilding industry etc. If they really want Independence then they can start by paying back all the misappropriated funding they have had since "Devolution".

    I won't hold my breath.

    1. Justin Case
      Boffin

      Re: Based in Scotland? What a surprise!

      >> I won't hold my breath.

      Don't worry, I've started holding mine.

      Let me know when I should stop.

    2. Michael Strorm

      Ah yes... the Big Lie that the English were subsidising the Scots

      It was revealed in 2005 that during the 1970s, the Westminster government had deliberately suppressed research that showed how hugely valuable North Sea oil was, estimating that an independent Scotland might be as prosperous as Switzerland. Both Labour and Conservative governments conspired in this.

      You can see why they might not have wanted that information to be accessible to the rapidly-growing Scottish nationalist movement.

      Instead, the vast majority of the money went to England and was squandered to- in effect- subsidise the Thatcher government's deindustrialisation and cover unemployment benefits, making the Tory policies look better than they were, keeping a government that was damaging to- and hated in- Scotland in power thanks to voters concentrated in the South East of England.

      Even if the allegations in your comment were true rather than the usual typical weasel-worded anti-Scottish "subsidy" smear/propaganda ignorant of how government funding actually works, any figures you could allege to be involved in *that* would be made to look risibly microscopic by the de facto theft of Scottish oil over forty-plus years.

      I won't hold *my* breath waiting for that back. Even if Westminster wanted to, they couldn't even begin to muster the funds involved.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Re: Ah yes... the Big Lie that the English were subsidising the Scots

        Oh, and the addendum I wasn't able to add within the ten minute limit...

        The worst of it isn't just that Scotland's oil was effectively stolen and wasted, it's that the money was used to prop up the Tories that most of Scotland was- and is- actively opposed to, and to lead us down an increasingly right-wing, English-directed path that ultimately led to Brexit and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

        That's what believing the lies of the Westminster government got us. An imminent, economically-damaging Brexit we strongly voted against led by a calculating, self-centred hard right Tory with an intentionally-cultivated air of "loveable" buffoonery that let him slip past the political radar with the English as one of their own "eccentrics", but which (oddly) Scotland doesn't seem to have the same anaesthetised tolerance for.

        And it was all done to us with the help of our own money.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Ah yes... the Big Lie that the English were subsidising the Scots

          It's Scotland's Money when we talk about the oil, but then its all Our Money when it comes to talking about Barnett Formula eh. This country would be even more shit if tax revenues stayed where they were generated.

  20. maffski

    Why do your research when you can get free PR by willful ignorance

    Hidden in the tax watch 'research' are these weasel words...

    '...and unnamed qualifying Rockstar employees...'

    So it's not a 'how do we get the money out' scheme, it's an employee reward scheme. Rather common in industries where revenue can swing wildly.

    'It is not known whether and how much UK income tax has been paid by the principals on these profit shares'

    Except of course it wasn't just the principals. It was normal employees paying UK income tax on their bonuses. As income tax is higher than corporation tax there's a fair chance the UK arm of Rockstar was responsible for more tax payments than if it had retained profits and paid corporation tax.

    Still, when your future as a think tank is governed by how many column inches of outrage you can generate then actual facts are just collateral damage.

  21. Fading Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Why is giving money to governments...

    considered a "Good Thing (tm)" given what they have a habit of spending it on?

  22. Daedalus Silver badge

    Paging Lord Goodman....

    Back in the day political influence was the way to divert subsidies meant to "enrich the culture" to more useful ends, like supporting the entertainment of the glitterati at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Allegedly an important player in this game of gaming the then-named Arts Council was the bloated voluptuary Lord named above. He has gone onto his reward, but one suspects his acolytes are still playing the game.....

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Paging Lord Goodman....

      You mean playing GTA5?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conmen donors?

    Are any of the big cheeses at Rockstar Tory party donors? Just asking. For a friend. Anon because I'm in so much trouble already with HMRC & my Tory MP.

  24. SVV Silver badge

    Grand Theft

    Yes, it's just a game really, where immorality is fun and you can use any means possible to grab as much loot as you can, without caring about the consequences for the general public.

    1. Trilkhai

      Re: Grand Theft

      That also describes most video games that take place in anything resembling civilization. The player is told that there's a big evil monster/person (who often isn't shown doing anything evil) they need to get rid of, and in order to do this, the player runs around honing their fighting skills by killing anything they can get away with killing, and earning money or gaining supplies by stealing from caves, buildings, dead bodies, or anywhere else they can find stuff — IOW, actively being closer to "evil" than the monster/person who spends the game waiting around for the 'hero' to show up.

      To be honest, I'd never even seen any of the GTAs until last December, so I had the same basic impression you do. It came as a bit of a shock to learn that many of the later GTAs have a strong stance against drug use, drunk driving, homophobia, xenophobia, gambling, or hypocrisy, that they're packed with police officers & SWAT teams eager to enforce the law, and that some make it painfully clear that joining a gang or the mafia has devastating consequences for the person's innocent friends & family. (I was also very surprised when it turned out that players often spend at least as much time in the game on legal recreation like bowling, golf, dance/comedy clubs, etc. as they do on illegal activity.)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Grand Theft

        "players often spend at least as much time in the game on legal recreation like bowling, golf, dance/comedy clubs, etc. as they do on illegal activity."

        Although I take and accept your point, that's hardly a glowing testimonial considering the vast majority of us spend almost zero time on illegal activity compared to legal activities.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, now I won't feel so guilty torrenting their next game release, as I've probably already paid for it in my taxes!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ,,,and that ladies and gentlemen is why we have austerity... to pay for corporation tax cuts. Never mind the deaths that have been caused by these cuts, as I say to my friends who vote Conservative 'enjoy your corporation tax cut' because that's what paid for it ! When you've held the hand of a relative dying in ICU because of Conservative cut backs, you have a different perspective on things.

  27. Paul Smith

    British Culture

    "It is unlikely that the drafters of that guidance had in mind a game which allows the player to murder prostitutes when formulating the cultural test."

    Oh, I don't know. Didn't his holiness JC, that god of all motoring knowledge (and former Top Gear presenter), once say that murdering prostitutes was the preferred proclivity for long distance lorry drivers?

  28. BuckeyeB
    Alert

    Corporations NEVER Pay Taxes

    What bothers me so much is that people don't realize that no corporation pays taxes. Not "really." A corporation will treat a tax as an expense. A company that is profitable is going to make whatever percentage of profit they require to pass onto their shareholders. Therefore, if you raise a company's taxes(expenses) they will just raise their prices. So what that means is that YOU, the consumer, will pay higher taxes. All taxes are paid by people. A politician that says, we're not going to raise YOUR taxes, we're gonna tax the corporations is either lying, or doesn't understand economics.

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