Fraser Nelson

Tax refugees

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Shire Pharmaceutics, a FTSE100 firm worth GBP5.5bn, is to relist its head office offshore for tax reasons. Global firms (as Shire now is) can report profits anywhere – and Shire will move to Jersey and pay tax in Ireland (where corporation tax is 12.5% for trading income, not 28%). It is a move explicitly “designed to help protect the group’s taxation position”. Shire is fearing a bid from Pfizer, and perhaps quitting the UK tax system is a form of defence. This fits a trend. Hiscox and Amlin have already switched. Amazon recently headed to Ireland.

Businesses do not petulantly say: we’ve had enough of Brown, we’re off. This likely represents a ten-year forecast of what Britain will be like, and (I suspect) involves the conclusion that things would not get much better under the Conservatives – but will get better in our competitor nations. CityAM broke the story – read it here, and Shire’s statement here.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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