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A panel of MPs has criticised the country's tax authority for being too lenient on big business and urged it to take companies to court to force them to pay more tax. Corporate tax avoidance has risen to the top of the political agenda after revelations about the cross-border structures used by companies such as Google to reap billions of dollars of sales in Britain but pay little or no tax there. The government has trumpeted its role in international efforts to tackle these profit-shifting tactics, but Britain's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in Thursday's annual report on tax collection performance that Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) remains too corporate-friendly. While efforts have been made to clamp down on profit-shifting, Britain has drastically reduced corporate tax rates and introduced other reforms requested by big business to make the country a more attractive location for foreign investment.
New York (United States) (AFP) - US stocks Wednesday surged to new records after the US Federal Reserve modestly scaled back its bond-buying program, while signaling it would continue to keep interest rates low.
By David Lawder and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed a two-year budget deal on Wednesday to ease automatic spending cuts and reduce the risk of a government shutdown, but fights were already breaking out over how to implement the budget pact. By a vote of 64-36, the Senate sent the measure to President Barack Obama to be signed into law, an achievement for a divided Congress that has failed to agree on a budget since 2009. He also urged Congress to pass an extension of long-term unemployment benefits that expire at year-end for some 1.3 million jobless Americans, a move sought by Democrats that was not part of the deal struck by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. The budget measure, passed in the House of Representatives last week by an overwhelming margin, restores overall fiscal 2014 spending levels for government agencies to $1.012 trillion, trimming the across-the-board budget cuts that were set to begin next month by about $63 billion over two years.