By Claire West

According to an investigation by the Sunday Times eBay has paid only £1.2m in tax in the UK on sales of £800 million.

Following on the revelations last week that Starbucks was paying next to no tax on its UK earnings this has surely got to be top of the pile of George Osborne's to-do list?

There is no question that either of these organisations are breaking the law and the auction site told the BBC: "eBay in Europe works with tax authorities and complies fully with all applicable tax laws and regimes - including national, EU, and internationally recognised OECD rules."

In April a similar investigation by the Guardian showed that Amazon had not paid any corporation tax on the profits from sales of more than £7.6bn in the UK over the past three years.

The 'crime' here has not been committed by any of these companies - in reality they are obliged to deliver the best returns for their shareholders - but by the madness that is the EU.

EU Member States have control of their own taxes and therefore a business can be set up in a country with a lower corporation tax despite the fact that its earnings are elsewhere.