When we bailed out Ireland in November Osborne described the country as a ‘friend in need’. I assume in his delight at news that the Corporation Tax cut has prompted a WPP move back from Ireland to the UK, Osborne has checked that our ‘friend’, economically more in need than we are, is equally happy with this news?
Of course Ireland could be said to have started it with their own wincingly low and controversial rate – but where is all this meant to be leading? Do we enter into a bidding war with us where both countries lower their tax rates alternately to win WPP and its like, with company HQs pingponging back and forth across the Irish Sea for a decade or two? Definitely a boon for our removal companies, not sure if employees would see it the same way.
Of course nothing’s fair in love and business, and we can’t build trade policy on altruism alone, but there have to be better ways to strengthen an economy than to beggar our neighbours and ourselves with ever-reducing corporation tax. Colin Hines advocates ‘site here to sell here’ policies. Richard Murphy has plenty of ideas too.
Very bad language alert – but this blog puts it far more bluntly than I have.