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If Global really wanted to help needy kids...

There's something very simple that Global could be doing to make a real difference

By James Cridland
Posted 9 October 2014, 5.38am edt
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As the press release says, today is a charity day on Global's radio stations, as they unite their "23.2 million listeners" (RAJAR says 21.3m) in aid of their charity:

Global’s Make Some Noise is a national charity, established in 2014, that helps disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. Global has brought together its brands, Capital FM, Capital XTRA, Heart, Classic FM, Smooth, LBC, XFM and Gold, which reach a combined 23.2 million people every week, to raise money for one cause. Global’s Make Some Noise is awarding grants to projects that help children and young people who have been affected by illness, disability, bereavement or lack of opportunity. Global's Make Some Noise is an appeal operated by Global Charities, a registered charity in England and Wales (1091657) and Scotland (SC041475).

The broadcasting looks fun and engaging, and nobody would begrudge Global's clear ambition to do good things. To bring all their varied brands together for one big charity day is a good thing to do, and the owners of Global should be congratulated.

However, another way to help needy people affected by illness and disability would be to contribute towards the National Health Service. This is funded by general taxation including Corporation Tax.

As we listen to Global's charity broadcasting today, it's probably worth reminding ourselves that, even though Global made a profit of £33m in 2012, it paid nothing in Corporation Tax. Indeed, Corporate Watch reported in April that the UK ended up giving Global a tax credit of £257,000 for the year.

Corporation tax is currently 21%, which, were Global to pay on their 2013 profits alone, would represent £6.9m to the country.

As Radio Today noted in April, there's nothing illegal in this:

A spokesman for Global Radio said: "Global has invested over £500m in commercial radio in the UK over the past 6 years and played a major part in promoting and rejuvenating the sector. Global is a fully tax-compliant company, as agreed with HMRC."

As Richard Murphy, a commentator on tax issues, also comments:

The result is that one company is mopping up large parts of the local radio business, and all with the help of an implicit tax subsidy – precisely because local radio stations pay their tax and those structured like Global can avoid that obligation. It’s legal, no doubt. But it’s not ethical. And worse it is undermining markets.

It's not right to criticise Global's people today for their enthusiasm in being involved in a charity which is clearly of benefit to their audience. The output sounds great, and the audience is already donating in large numbers. But if Global wanted to really make some noise, they'd be a good corporate citizen too.

More information

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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Comments

3 years ago

This loophole needs to be closed as far too many companies, and individuals, are exploiting it to their own benefit. Isn't paying tax one of the two guarantees we have in life?

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