Almost a third of the UK’s 700 biggest businesses paid no Corporation Tax in 2005/06, while a further 30% paid less than £10m each, the National Audit Office has revealed. Financial Times

Of the tax paid, two-thirds came from just three industries – banking, insurance and oil and gas – while the real estate, alcohol, tobacco and car sectors contributed only a few hundred million pounds.

Altogether, these large public and private companies paid £24.4bn in 2005/06, or just more than half of all the Corporation Tax paid.

The study found that 50 businesses, or 7% of the 700, paid 67% of the tax while about 220 paid none and another 210 each paid less than £10m.