Ratton pupils shun Google in tax protest

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Ratton School pupils are making a stand against tax avoidance by not using Google’s search engine for a week.

The plan was masterminded by Matthew Bristow, assistant headteacher for strategic ICT, because he felt a political protest against tax avoidance schemes was needed.

He said, “We are encouraging all students and all staff to make a consumer stand and avoid Google for a week in direct action.

“We found that some of the students had heard about it on the news but didn’t know fully what was going on.

“We explained it to them and many said it was really unfair and they wanted to make a protest against it.”

Mr Bristow is encouraging all 1,200 children at the school not to use Google for searches in their ITC lessons or at home.

Vikash Thulasitharan, a 16-year-old Year 11 student, said, “As soon as I heard about it, I thought it was really unfair that they were not paying their taxes when others were.”

“I can’t say it has been easy though. We use Google so much.

“You Tube is quite common with teenagers and that is owned by Google, so it has been quite a challenge.

“Most of my mates are doing it too and I have been avoiding Google at home as well as at school.”

Mr Bristow said, “Google is almost default now when you are on the internet, so it is not easy to avoid.

“It is difficult to tell how many students are taking part in the protest this week but many of them seem to be in agreement.”

Mr Bristow says he will email Google UK to tell them about Ratton School’s protest on the matter.

Google, Starbucks and Amazon are among many international companies who have been named in the national press recently for their tax avoidance schemes.

Google’s UK unit paid just £6m to the Treasury in 2011 on a turnover of £395m, according to the Telegraph.