The UK: no place to quit

Posted on

Two curious reports this morning, both covered by the FT. The first says:

Britain is the most popular destination in Europe for investment by foreign companies , according to a survey published today – and is likely to remain so for years to come.

The KPMG survey of large multinational companies from 15 leading economies found that one in seven expected to make a significant investment in the UK in the next year – with only the US and China more popular as destinations.

Funny that: I thought everyone was leaving? Worse, I thought our tax system was so uncompetitive that no one wanted to replace those quitting. Can both be wrong?

Then this:

The downturn in the housing market is a factor persuading wealthy foreigners to remain in Britain, according to research that shows few non-domiciled residents are moving to escape the new tax regime.

Despite this year’s introduction of higher taxes for non-doms, Britain’s career opportunities and culture have ensured that it remains one of the world’s most attractive regimes, according to the study commissioned by Barclays Wealth.

But, surely, aren’t they all going as well? Isn’t that what we were told?

Or is it, as I’ve always argued, straightforward nonsense that people and companies will leave the UK because of tax. The evidence is stacking that I’m right.

In which case, let’s stop acting as if the protagonists are right from now on and and call the bluff of those who say they’re going. They know where the door is and the evidence is clear: it’s tougher the other side of it. They’re welcome to try it, but I don’t think they will.

In that case let’s do the next obvious thing and create a tax policy for the UK, not those who want to leave it. Is that too much to ask?