Treasury Minister Lord Sassoon refused to comment on reports today that US coffee giant Starbucks has paid nothing in corporation tax to Britain over the last three years.
Lord Sassoon told peers at question time that he could not comment on the tax affairs of "any individual taxpayer."
And he defended the role of foreign-owned companies in paying billions of pounds in tax each year through other means like VAT.
Hugely profitable Starbucks was recently reported to have paid just £8.6 million in corporation tax in Britain over 14 years.
There has also been anger at reports that Google contributed just £6m to the Exchequer in 2011 on a £395m turnover.
Challenged by Labour Lord Campbell-Savours on the issue, Lord Sassoon replied: "You aren't going to expect me for one moment to start commenting on the tax affairs of any individual taxpayer."
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