BBC BLOGS - Peston's Picks
« Previous | Main | Next »

As WPP returns, will HSBC quit UK?

Robert Peston | 09:04 UK time, Thursday, 24 March 2011

In a symbolic sense, it matters that Sir Martin Sorrell has decided that the government's corporation tax reforms and cuts are enough to lure his advertising giant back from Dublin to the UK.

The chief executive and founder of WPP told me:

"We've now had a chance to read the small print. It is subject to drafting and enactment of the relevant legislation, and to board and shareowners' approval".

But he confirmed what he told the BBC's Today Programme - which overnight he made up his mind that the Chancellor has done enough to bring the home of WPP back to London (last night on the Ten O'clock News he applauded the reforms, but hadn't yet bought his ticket back from Dublin).

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

The government cannot contain its delight at WPP's decision - largely because its corporate tax changes are designed to make the UK a better place for multinationals to base themselves.

Those reforms aren't cheap. By the government's own estimates - and critics say they under-estimate the cost - they will lead to around £2bn of lost revenue a year by 2015 (and see my note from yesterday for more on the detail of the reforms to the so-called Controlled Foreign Company Rules, the taxation of multinationals' branches, and cuts in the rate of corporation tax).

For the avoidance of doubt, WPP's intentions don't constitute a trend. It is too early to say whether they will lead to the kind of investment and job creation in the UK by multinationals that the government desires.

We don't yet know whether Shire, the pharmaceuticals group, or UBM, the media company, will follow WPP's lead.

And it is unclear whether Sorrell's thinking has been influenced by the economic weakness of Ireland, which may ultimately undermine the new Irish government's ability to maintain low tax arrangements for multinationals that other EU members such as Germany want the Irish to scrap.

All that said, this morning George Osborne has had the kind of advertising from an advertising giant that money can't buy.

Of course, some may say that is because Sir Martin Sorrell is just one of the usual Tory suspects. But I don't think that's quite right: he was on reasonable terms with the last government. That said, he has been a supporter of the government's public spending cuts. And he is a member of David Cameron's business advisory group.

One more thing. There is a reasonable chance that if WPP comes back, like a giant ship in the night it may well pass HSBC - the giant international bank - travelling in the opposite direction.

It is not corporation tax that particularly irks HSBC but George Osborne's new levy on the banks. Emigration from the UK is a very live option, that comes up for discussion at every board meeting, I am reliably told.

The reason for HSBC's itchy feet, as I've mentioned here before, is that it is furious that George Osborne's new bank levy is applied to the money it borrows outside the UK, as well as its domestic liabilities. And that really matters, because HSBC has far more of its assets and liabilities outside the country than inside.

HSBC estimates that it could save itself more than £250m in levy every year by the simple expedient of moving its HQ for tax purposes somewhere else. And HSBC's directors tell me that the bank's shareholders - its owners - tell them that they don't see why HSBC should needlessly pay this tax, so are urging them to move their caravan on.

Now some of you - who don't seem to be fond of banks - might well say "good riddance". But the Treasury tells me it definitely wouldn't want to see HSBC go, though doesn't seem to have a cunning plan to persuade it to stay.

Update 13:25: But to where on earth could HSBC move its home?

A source at the top of the bank told me the group now sees the centre of its world as Africa - in the sense that Asia, Africa and the Middle East are expected to deliver most of the future growth.

So in an ideal world, it might move its domicile to Qatar or Dubai.

But with most of the Gulf either in flames or looking pretty combustible right now, emigrating there at his juncture could look eccentric, to say the least.

Now in spite of rumours to the contrary, my HSBC sources say there is no possibility of the bank returning the legal HQ to Hong Kong.

One of them muttered something about it not being a brilliant idea to sit under the clenched fist of a one-party Communist state. I can't imagine what he means.

On the other hand, HSBC is so big in Hong Kong and mainland China that moving home to the US is thought to be out of the question - because to do so would not go down especially well with the Chinese authorities, for geopolitical reasons (it was that consideration which made it impossible for HSBC to appoint the former Goldman Sachs partner, John Thornton, as chairman).

Now some months ago, I was told Australia was favourite as alternative domicile.

But given the sheer size of HSBC - a balance sheet roughly equivalent to UK GDP - it's not clear that the Australian central bank would quite cut the mustard as lender of last resort for the global giant.

In the end, the magnitude of the UK economy, the potential resources deliverable by British taxpayers (or us), and the size of the Bank of England's balance sheet combine to mean that the UK looks a decent place to be based, given that the credibility of all banks depends on them having access to emergency liquidity in a disaster.

For HSBC, is it worth paying an extra £250m a year in a special levy to the Treasury for the guarantee that the Bank of England and British taxpayers would always bail the bank out, whatever the weather.

HSBC's board might grump about the cost (they do), but that fat fee might represent value for money.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    "Now some of you - who don't seem to be fond of banks - might well say "good riddance". But the Treasury tells me it definitely wouldn't want to see HSBC go, though doesn't seem to have a cunning plan to persuade it to stay."

    Here's a cunning plan.
    Threaten to take away their license to accept deposits and make loans in sterling. Strike it off the list.

  • Comment number 2.

    Re: WPP moving its "HQ" from Southern Ireland - there's the impression that this will mean a shift in jobs etc, but isn't this purely an accounting wheeze? Any company that already runs a branch in Southern Ireland, that has a least one or two resident directors and who agrees to hold fully-minuted general meetings there satisfies the residence requirements to call the Southern Irish branch their "HQ". Oh there's shifting cost centres about in the most efficient manner to maximize the tax breaks as well, but I doubt this would equate to significant bodies.

  • Comment number 3.

    Since by far we do not match Ireland's corporation tax of 12% there are other factors in the WPP decision - e.g. the directors prefer London. We have to be grown up about this otherwise it is a race to the bottom. The EU should adopt a minimum and maximum levels for corporation tax to support fair competition across the community and if companies still want to emigrate there are ways of making exiled businesses life more difficult. We are taking HQ's here not the whole shooting match unless they want to cease trading here in effect.

  • Comment number 4.

    If WPP move, not a done deal as has being pointed out, how long would they stay? After all the costs involved in moving a multinational company cannot be that much in this the 21st century, the IT systems should (with luck and good company management ) handle staff wherever they are in the world.

    Next budget would not the accountants suddenly say 'time to move on again?'
    Not as a good a story really, more the post budget look how good it was headlines, sorry but not a good budget at all. Time for a cabinet reshuffle...

  • Comment number 5.

    Sorrell is merely moving to support his chums within Government. He head-quartered WPP in Ireland to take advantage of 12% Corporation Tax - so Osbornes non budget will not have persuaded him to return.

    Of great concern is HSBC's view that the media (the BBC in particular) and the ConDems simply do not understand Banking. HSBC are huge contributors to the UK economy.

    Fools who say "simply remove HSBC from the Authorised List UK Bankers" have no grasp of International Business or Law. Even worse they cannot explain how such action would help the loss of Corporation Tax Revenues.

  • Comment number 6.

    The on-going negative climate of banker bashing in the UK needs to stop. The departure of banking businesses from the City of London is going to come back to bite the UK and the UK government in the btm. If I were on the board of HSBC I would certainly be giving serious consideration to any tabled proposal to relocate from London.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Now some of you - who don't seem to be fond of banks - might well say 'good riddance.'"

    Should they stay or should they go now?
    If they go, there will be trouble
    And if they stay, it will be double...

  • Comment number 8.

    Personally I would prefer that WPP stayed where it was, advertising companies (or more accurately marketing companies) are part of the problem not part of the solution.

    Persuading people they need things that they don't telling them they deserve unnecessary luxury items and finally telling them that getting credit is easy and everyone does it.

    Not forgetting "there is a piece of legislation that means that you don't have to pay back any of teh money you owe....." on the TV and unwanted on my phone.

    Ban marketing and we are a long way to getting to a better, fairer society. Pure advertising is fine but no advertising agency has engaged in that in a long time.

    What we need are companies that design and make things not more parasites.

  • Comment number 9.

    I would expect the bulk of the tax paying employees would still be left here if they moved the HQ.

    To me its quite simple if you do not have a HQ here that is registered for paying tax at the same rate as other banks that do, then there will be no guarantee applied to its savings accounts .

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    7. At 10:08am on 24th Mar 2011, rock_and_roll_economics wrote:
    "Now some of you - who don't seem to be fond of banks - might well say 'good riddance.'"

    Should they stay or should they go now?
    If they go, there will be trouble
    And if they stay, it will be double...

    ===========================================================

    a surprisingly good analogy, keep up the good work R&R

  • Comment number 12.

    This is just a re-run of the 'Flags of Convenience' debate from the the 70's and 80's, when the entire shipping industry moved to Liberia in order to benefit from a looser regulatory regime.

    The G7 and G20 should put this whole issue high on their agenda for co-ordinated action and stop the virtual merry go round of corporate relocations.

  • Comment number 13.

    The budget really confirms that the only plan George has is to attract companies to low corporate tax UK and hope. A bit like Ireland did - doh!

    Osborne's "Britain is open for business" quip was truly absurd, it clearly isn't and won't be for some time if you look at todays consumer sales figures for February and revision for January. Growth negative and revised down, forecast growth reduced and a country wracked by increasing inflation, yep very attractive to all but advertisers and asset strippers.

    And, don't believe HSBC or the oil companies whinging, corporation tax down 5% over four years, they're loving it.

  • Comment number 14.

    I suspect that the reason HSBC has yet to leave may have something to do with the implicit guarantee they enjoy from the UK government which allows them to borrow at much cheaper rates. If they move from the UK, they would lose that backing and there are not too many countries with the clout to give them equal treatment elsewhere plus the legal protections they enjoy in the UK. Hong Kong would be the obvious location for their new HQ, but could the Hong Kong government bail out HSBC in a crisis? In the event it couldn't, would the alternative of Hong Kong's big brother China really be palatable - remember, the bail out would mean government ownership!! I think the £250 million in extra level may well turn out to be a very cheap price to pay for the certainty of UK regulation/law and the guarantee of the UK government.

  • Comment number 15.

    At a time of worldwide environmental disasters and potential East Asian property bubbles boring old UK ought to seem quite a nice place to have your HQ. In that context £250 million maybe isn't really that much?

  • Comment number 16.

    3. At 09:44am on 24th Mar 2011, watriler wrote:
    Since by far we do not match Ireland's corporation tax of 12% there are other factors in the WPP decision - e.g. the directors prefer London. We have to be grown up about this otherwise it is a race to the bottom. The EU should adopt a minimum and maximum levels for corporation tax to support fair competition across the community and if companies still want to emigrate there are ways of making exiled businesses life more difficult. We are taking HQ's here not the whole shooting match unless they want to cease trading here in effect.

    ===========================

    WPP pay 25% tax in Ireland which is their rate for non-trading companies, i.e. ones which effectively do no business, provide few jobs and other than the odd hotel stay for board meetings.

    The move on corporation tax is designed to bring back these rate tarts of the corporate world. They will not ultimately bring much in the way of jobs or other things back (not least becuase they never left in the first place) - however they will bring back some tax revenue which is to be welcomed.

  • Comment number 17.

    the revolving door that is the tax whim of our lords and masters grubbing around from tax haven to tax haven to maximise shareholder benefit (who mostly just happen to be the investment funds of employees made redundant by their game of production line musical chairs). You couldn't maker it up... well you could but most decent people would not be able to face their kids in the morning.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think it's about time that companies had the choice of where their HQ is taken away: it should be where the most HQ staff work, or where most of the HQ business (not just board meeting) is done. I don't think its just a UK thing: I've known a company which had its HQ very definitely in a big building in Munich; but registered HQ was at a sales office in the Netherlands, with the odd board meeting there.

  • Comment number 19.

    just re read the last bit of your blog Mr Preston - has anyone really asked the shareholders if they want to leave. More likely they have asked their pension fund chief exec mates who see another zero on their bonuses not the poor plebs who pay into the pot like me. I have never been asked if I want to see tax paying corporations move abroad. What's the point in a 1 or 2% increase in dividend yield if the local hospital which looks after my children has to close capacity because of a shortfall in revenue? Still as long as the chief trough gorger (sorry ..chairman gets a new Bentley....)

  • Comment number 20.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    WPP moving to UK from The Republic of Ireland due to changes by our Chancellor?

    Hmm. Didn't we recently loan ROI £millions this year due to it's deficit crisis? Their austerity budget changed the favourable corporation conditions that attracted WPP and numerous other multinationals for decades to ROI in the first place. Every cloud, as they say.

    We have just lent Portugal £millions too, btw. What's going on?

  • Comment number 22.


    WPP is not a company whose opinion I value but if I was intending to move a company back to the UK then London is probably the last place I'd pick to put it.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well KRY if you had your way then HSBC definitely wouldn't be domiciled in the UK. Think you might have wanted to check their workforce distribution before suggesting that one.

  • Comment number 24.

    I wonder if WPP were on the move anyway given the terms the Germans will impose on Ireland and it's corporate tax rate to bail them out? I suspect Ireland will have to raise rates on companies as politically they cant soak their population.
    No doubt moving corporate headquarters to UK will bring in extra tax income but any jobs created will be in London and wont do much to help the North/South divide and unemployment. Perhaps we need to create local tax rates in areas away from London to try to promote HQs outside London; US states do this (see all Pharma Cos HQ'd in New Jersey and Delaware) but might not work in UK as country too small?
    Regarding staff moving, we are already seeing main board directors in my company relocating to US to avoid 50% tax band - whether Singapore or Switzerland will be seen as desirable locations for folk to live is yet to be seen, the culture and way things are done are very different to UK.

  • Comment number 25.

    Financial firms generated about 11 percent of the nation’s tax revenue in the year ended March 2010, contributing 53.4 billion pounds ($87 billion) in corporation, sales and employee taxes, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

    Equally, there is a need to differentiate between the regrettable size of the bail-out, and the net final position of the exchequer (due to additional taxes and interest levied, the ongoing dividends and the potential value realised on divestment of these interests.)

    Are we not in danger of killing the golden goose with all this anti-bank sentiment? Can any of us take an 11% tax increase to balance the books?

    ...I'm not in the financial sector, but best of luck to HSBC. The UK including the media, the people and the politicians are going to need to find another sucker to pay for OUR systematic, endemic and cultural pursuit of cheap credit...!!

    Grow up Britain, smell the coffee!! How many front-line nurses have they already paid for?

  • Comment number 26.

    If WPP can be persuaded to move its HQ to take advantage of a mere 1% extra decrease in corporation tax, how long will it be before it moves again in response to a competitive tax reduction elsewhere.

  • Comment number 27.

    What amazes me with this Martin Sorrell and WPP saga is the fact that we seem to think because these people can run a business they can run a nation. Martin Sorrell and his ilk are only interested in making money for themselves. So they will do whatever it takes to make a profit and ear fat bonuses for themselves.

  • Comment number 28.

    All of this is about tax. Companies want to make money from us, but don't want to contribute to our society. They fail to realise that the money they make is OUR money. It comes from OUR pockets. That's all profit is - success in relocating money from the customer to the supplier. The profits they make used to be our cash.

    To be honest, every time I hear a company threaten to leave, I have the same thought - let them go, but also prevent them from operating in the UK at all. If HSBC object to paying tax, I'm sure there will be a million entrepreneurs willing to take over their market position, and happily pay tax on £billions of profit. Let's have some competition.

    The big corporations think they have us over a barrel. Time to show them how wrong they are.

  • Comment number 29.

    25. At 11:05am on 24th Mar 2011, Dave wrote:

    Its been good knowing you, once the anit-capitalists see this they're going to blow their lids.

    but you do have a very good point that even with all the hatred towards them they do still contribute a lot to the countries tax revenues. Of course it would be nice to see them stop trying to pay the maximum that they should be paying but even the amount which they do pay is still not to be thrown away merely because some people dont like bankers.

  • Comment number 30.

    28. At 11:15am on 24th Mar 2011, Russell Jones wrote:
    "All of this is about tax. Companies want to make money from us, but don't want to contribute to our society. They fail to realise that the money they make is OUR money. It comes from OUR pockets. That's all profit is - success in relocating money from the customer to the supplier. The profits they make used to be our cash."

    And where does your money come from?

    If you are employed in a private company, then from the very people you are berating

    If in the public sector, then from the very taxes these companies and their workers pay

    It is good the companies are being attracted back to the UK and yes, a small change elsewhere might make them think of moving again, so perhaps we need to remain competitive in the first place


  • Comment number 31.

    Simply put, the board of directors of HSBC are subversive to the State. At best, they are guilty of exploiting every advantage they have here in the UK, including access to our commercial markets, savings, corporate accounts and use of bank of england instruments, state-secured financial markets and taxpayer-funded facilities, advantages which they treat with arrogant contempt. At worst, the UK citizens on that board are guilty of treasonous disregard for their country and the well-being of their fellow citizens.

    If they do jump ship, the correct punishments must be applied. These should include a complete ban on access to any taxpayer-backed support, a complete ban on future trading activities in this country and removal of any government service from them.

    Companies that refuse to pay taxes here should not be entitled to gain any benefit from British taxpayers. If their offices are on fire, why should the fire engines we pay for be sent to help them? If a thief is taking money from them, why should our police help them?

  • Comment number 32.

    To the defenders of the bankers....
    'they generate money and tax etc etc....
    No they do not. Not really.
    Company A gets stuff (raw materials-coal-iron-gravel, whatever)
    Company B makes stuff. (cars/toothpaste/novelty santas, whatever)
    Company's C,D,E and F (insurance, accountants, banks, consultants, advertising)takes their cut from the real value of the product.
    Their services are needed but in the UK they make a larger % of the economy then company A and B. There is a level of unsubstainability there, the 2008 bust exposed it, that's why countries that have more A and B came out well of the 'Global' recession. Countries with an excess amount of companies that leech of A and B are suffering. Its better to feel the pain now of all these service industries profits being put back in line to the primary and secondary otherwise by 2018 I predict we will be having another far worse crash. (apologies for spelling, i'm in a hurry)

  • Comment number 33.

    #6.
    Banker bashing will stop when the totally obscene bonuses paid to many bankers stop. The vast majority of the general public believes that successful professionals in any field should be well rewarded for their successes but there is no other field where large numbers of staff receive bonuses over £1m.

    When society sees a greater fairness in the distribution of reward for talent and achievement, then banker bashing will stop. Bankers in the past have been well remunerated but never with amounts that are out of all proportion as at present.

  • Comment number 34.

    When HSBC leave - won't a 'new competitior' enter the market and replace them?

    .....or is that all a theory?

  • Comment number 35.

    Robert Peston.

    "In a symbolic sense, it matters that Sir Martin Sorrell has decided that the government's corporation tax reforms and cuts are enough.."

    really? one would think that a business person who has been awarded the honorific 'Sir' ("..the correct styling for a knight or a baronet.."), will be more careful in their choice of words re critique of the budget than Joe Average.

    "That said, [Sorrell] has been a supporter of the government's public spending cuts. And he is a member of David Cameron's business advisory group."

    well, that explains it.

  • Comment number 36.

    14. Tim, I think you make an important point. But perhaps HSBC is not looking for a potential bail-out, rather it believes that it can manage its own risks? After all, which bank's shareholders would choose the location of its HQ based on which government it would like to be owned by? If the government owns the bank, the shareholders are out. And I seem to recall HSBC did not require much of a bail-out last time around. Maybe it's the other way around, and they do not want to *pay* for a bail-out insurance (and the level of ignorant bank-bashing) that they do not believe they will need?





  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    NorthSeaHalibut #13.

    "Osborne's "Britain is open for business" quip was truly absurd, it clearly isn't and won't be for some time.."

    perhaps we should start sending pictures of the many boarded-up (commercial) properties to Mr Osborne? it is possible he simply does not know. ;-)

  • Comment number 39.

    31. At 11:38am on 24th Mar 2011, DespairingLiberal wrote:
    " If their offices are on fire, why should the fire engines we pay for be sent to help them? If a thief is taking money from them, why should our police help them?"

    Oh I don't know, perhaps because of business rates, tax and NI the people working there pay?

    Or perhaps we should take your point to the logical extreme - why should anyone who does not pay tax, get any help? So that would include public sector, benefit claimants (not all, but some) etc Doesn't really work does it

    Back on topic, if HSBC leave, it will be because of the uncertainty around operations within the country. No effective planning occurs when there is uncertainty and businesses need some certainty to make longer term plans


  • Comment number 40.

    #25. At 11:05am on 24th Mar 2011, Dave wrote:

    "Financial firms generated about 11 percent of the nation’s tax revenue in the year ended March 2010, contributing 53.4 billion pounds ($87 billion) in corporation, sales and employee taxes, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Your argument would be fine if it wasn't for the fact most of the tax revenues came from sales and employees taxes. HSBC and Barclays the two flagships for banking apologists barely paid any other tax at all, Barclays even bragged about it recently.

    Seeing as the vast majority of employees won't be going overseas with them these revenues will only dwindle as the banks inevitibly cull them, which is anyway happening whether they move or not. As for bank sales taxes, well people aren't buying into bank products while their income is squeezed so these will fall as well, and didn't you spot the corporation tax reductions, quite sizeable over the next three years, so that's going down as well.

    Overall 11% seems reasonable tax from banks but when you cut it up the tax they pay on their profits are disproportionate to their income and is but a mere drop of this 11%, I reckon they should be paying nearer 20% - 25% of the UK tax revenues based on their proprtion of GDP.

  • Comment number 41.

    "Now some of you - who don't seem to be fond of banks - might well say "good riddance". But the Treasury tells me it definitely wouldn't want to see HSBC go, though doesn't seem to have a cunning plan to persuade it to stay."
    ....
    Ever get the feeling we have had a gun put to our heads. I'm becoming very tired of the threats. Banks are wealth extractors from the economy. We dont need large banks sucking the life out of us, with their complex array of instruments of financial mass destruction. It seems to me the enemy is not the dictators in the middle east, but the bankers in the square mile. Surely its only a matter of time before we have an insurrection against the global banking occupation.

  • Comment number 42.

    My wife is an accountant at HSBC HQ & it's true that from the type of work she has been working on these last few months that the moving of the HQ is very much on the cards.
    It has suited the politicians and just about everyone else thus far to make the Banks the scapegoat for all our ills, that way the 'failure' of our politicians, Government & regulalatory system don't need to be addressed. Nor do we need to look at ourselves and the way we live our lives.
    For decades we've been living beyond our means, funding ourselves on credit and unsustainable asset growth both personally and as a country.
    HSBC may well go and others will follow I suggest ...., financial services are responsible for between 10 & 15% of business tax take (you can take your pick for the figure you believe), a major dent in that % will hurt, as to will the unemployment and the loss of income tax take from those big salaries etc. And don't forget all those businesses that rely and feed off the back of banks.
    A major hit all round I'd suggest......, still we can keep scapegoating them can't we?

  • Comment number 43.

    #25 Dave

    "Are we not in danger of killing the golden goose with all this anti-bank sentiment? "

    I think Moses said it first when he said, "beware of false idols"!

  • Comment number 44.

    An unequivocal good news story this. That's what I like to see from a Government - cut the size of the state and lower taxes. And guess what, the private sector starts to work for us all again. Wow, who'd have thought it?

    It never ceases to amaze me how successive socialist Governments come in and try to direct the economy with ludicrous and byzantine schemes to prop this little bit of the economy up and penalise that little bit. All it ends up with is a pile of money spent, more regulation and a larger public sector workforce to administer all the schemes.

    Can't be bothered rebutting all the silliness today from the lefties nursing a black eye for being made to look very very foolish after WPP's statement. Face it, socialists never understood business and never will. That's why Portugal, Greece and Ireland are in a mess. And that's why we were in a mess but are going to get out of it. Three cheers for George!

  • Comment number 45.

    If I were CEO of HSBC I would separate out the former Midland Bank retail business and sell it back to the public in an IPO. I would then probably move the HQ to Singapore nearer to the core business.

  • Comment number 46.

    Constancy and foresight is what business folk need to plan for their businesses, unfortunately this has never been the chancellor's forte. Each and every one likes to fiddle, at the expense of business residency, or investment.

    It even caught me out in my personal planning. Filled the car up, in expectation of a rise in duty at the pumps (even though the supermarket had increased the price in the morning) and hey presto - The price goes down a penny.

    How can anyone plan, let alone an oil company with billions to invest. I don't bame them one iota for turning their back on Britain nor banks and other companies relocating away. The only way to get a better deal is to walk. Unfortunately it is not so easy for small firms or individuals, nor so good for the remaining rats on this sinking ship.

  • Comment number 47.

    The days of huge Head Offices emplying hundreds of functionaries is over. With computers and telecomms you can now manage a multinational from a small office and rent a meeting room when needed over the local pub. What it means now is where you pay your taxes and how much those taxes are.

    Taxation is the driver as always in this sort of calculation. The same applies to those who are called the rich. Will they go, or will they stay? How close do they need to be to their nice little earner (sorry, Arthur, that's your cliche)?

    Without reintroducing exchange controls there is not a lot anyone can do about this. Yet there remains the argument that money made by business in this country should stay here and be reinvested, otherwise what is the point of all the public investment in the legal frameork, intellectual property rights and economic infrastructure that makes that profit possible in the first place?

    Maybe we need to reintroduce the concept of a common wealth into our economic arrangments. I would define `common wealth' as the entire moral, intellectual, institutional, cultural, legal, and physical infrastructure of the country, including the population, that contribute to making a business successful. In short the successful have to recognise that their success was not wholly the consequence of their genius as the milieu for their transactions also made it possible.

  • Comment number 48.

    "And HSBC's directors tell me that the bank's shareholders - its owners - tell them that they don't see why HSBC should needlessly pay this tax, so are urging them to move their caravan on."
    ----------------------------------

    How nice of the HSBC directors to care about their shareholders so much to want to save them the whole £250m per year. I guess they can prove themselves worthy of their huge remunerations by arguing about petty things against an easy target, the Government.

    Perhaps they should look into their bonus arrangements first - this could come to a sizeable multiple of that levy. Now, that would be in the definite interest of shareholders....

  • Comment number 49.

    I've no objection to banks being based in the UK and contributing to the national wealth. It's how they generate that wealth that sticks in the throats of many people who who do their weekly grind for their £20-30K annual paycheck. Banks are reported to have MADE circa £2billion profit but in fact they MAKE nothing at all, they just bet on the movement of stocks/currencies/commodities and generate profits. If I take out a loan from XYZ bank, why are they allowed to sell on my loan to a third party without my consent? If I take out insurance with ABC Ltd then I expect them to compensate me for any claims I make (regardless of how many other companies they may spread the risk with). I want the name on the cheque to be ABC Ltd. Unfortunately banks 'appear' to have carte blanche to create their own ways of turning a pound into five and the regulators don't have the knowledge or the gumption to tell them that their theories don't actually work - it is all smoke and mirrors mortgaging our children's future by creating wealth that doesn't exist. Many people here may consider me a Luddite but I believe that turning raw materials into usable components (i.e. adding value) is real wealth creation but modern banking does not do this. I am not a socialist but the obscene amounts of money bankers suck out of society makes me want to chuck...

  • Comment number 50.

    Strange, isn't it, how many of these blogs turn into bank bashing?

  • Comment number 51.

    44. At 12:41pm on 24th Mar 2011, a_sensible_comment wrote:
    Three cheers for George!

    I can hear all the public school boys going:

    Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah

    Lefty? Moi ? Surely not


  • Comment number 52.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 53.

    42. At 12:25pm on 24th Mar 2011, Jesoal_Kotarohe wrote:
    "..."

    Are you saying HSBC are planning to move/outsource all of their employees? Branch staff and everything?

  • Comment number 54.

    Russell Jones in posting 28. has got it right when he asked:

    And where does your money come from?

    That is it in a nutshell ...., all those who 'speil' their anti-business rhetoric need to explain - Where does the money come from?
    Should they come back with a communist arguement then you might want to listen because that at least it is a well thought out answer....., the rest I suggest are just 'ranters' & not worth paying much attention to.

    We operate in a capitalist system and that requires the UK to be competative.

  • Comment number 55.

    25. At 11:05am on 24th Mar 2011, Dave wrote:

    "Financial firms generated about 11 percent of the nation’s tax revenue in the year ended March 2010, contributing 53.4 billion pounds ($87 billion) in corporation, sales and employee taxes, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. "

    ------------------------------------------

    You are quite right about that. What you omitted to mention is that they are also ripping us all off by driving the prices of commodities relentlessly upward, to earn their dubious bonuses on the largesse provided by the country (otherwise known as QE).

    So when the time comes when you pay £5 for a litre of petrol and £3 for a loaf of bread please take comfort from the fact that the culprits will have contributed the whole 11% to the tax revenues. Of your own money too, that is...

  • Comment number 56.

    44. At 12:41pm on 24th Mar 2011, a_sensible_comment wrote:
    "And that's why we were in a mess but are going to get out of it. Three cheers for George!"
    I'm not convinced. Here's a good example of why I disagree.
    https://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/straight-talk-john-rubino-damage-already-done/54475
    "Our choices have narrowed to only two: a crash that will dwarf the Great Depression or a hyperinflation that wipes out a whole generation’s savings."
    "Today’s debate over .....spending and taxes is just so much fantasy. We’re like a family arguing about redoing the kitchen while the house burns down. It’s an irrelevant, annoying discussion."
    Time will prove whether George was on the right track.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Ban marketing and we are a long way to getting to a better, fairer society....What we need are companies that design and make things not more parasites."

    Why would any company bother to design and make anything if they couldn't market it?


  • Comment number 58.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 59.

    You'll have to excuse me if the prospect of more corporations basing themselves in the UK for the benefit of people who are already extremely wealthy doesn't fill me with me with the joys of spring. Will the further tax generated in anyway make the general public any better off, no. Will we still live in tax farm where our sweat equiry is taxed every which way without any improvements in public services or standard of living but those higher up in the food chain see their wealth and lving standards rise and rise? Yes.

  • Comment number 60.

    42. At 12:25pm on 24th Mar 2011, Jesoal_Kotarohe wrote:

    It has suited the politicians and just about everyone else thus far to make the Banks the scapegoat for all our ills

    Indeed it has and heres the reason..... not even the Banks PR people can dress this up corporation tax Barclays £113m HSBC £236m total UK corporation tax £58 Bn so 2 massive corporates provide less than 1% of the total .

    Its a myth , that they are the only people who matter in this or any other country.

    Of course banking is important, but in its present form we cant afford to have them.

    How much for example did these banks benefit from not having to write off losses in Ireland when at the drop of a hat we provided £4 Bn on top of what we had already agreed to pay from the euro bailout. We are now looking as though we will be faced with the same again if Portugal need bailing out, remember all these bailouts dont trickle down to the actual people of the countries its all to support the Banking system,the people still have to pay it back in spades, whilst the bankers smile and tell us how we cant do without them and deserve a bigger slice.

    Dont get me wrong i appreciate that we do need banking as a service, it is important but in its present form is totally and utterly unsustainable, although absolutely nothing has been done to change that state of affairs, and in some cases it has made things worse.

  • Comment number 61.

    42

    I have not been funding my life on credit and resent being told that I have. I can recall the day I cleared off my last mortgage when I was almost as good as called a fool by the financial adviser at the bank as `everyone else was borrowing, so why don't you'. I informed said gentleman their judgement was their affair and mine was my own.

    The problem the so-called financial services industry has with the people of this country is that they lost the plot and entered into a set of arrangements that has wrecked the economy. The banks were supported in this endeavour by the regulators and the government of the day. In the end the people of Britain were conscripted into supporting the financial services industry from collapse.

    Now I fully appreciate that HSBC largely managed to avoid the stupidity of the other banks but my view is that if RBS and Lloyds had gone down in 2008 then HSBC would not have been that far behind.

    As one of those taxpayers conscripted into funding the bank guarantee I am waiting for someone within the banking industry to express contrition, apologise, thank me for my sacrifice, moderate their incomes in recognition of their financial condition and push for the necessary banking reform to stop this happening all over again. I do not consider these to be unreasonable expectations.

    Unfortunately these very reasonable and moderate requests have been rejected in a surly and ungracious manner by the banking industry followed on very quickly by a screeching that their excessive `compensation' is a matter of right and none of my business. I am sorry but I can only be offensive to people who have demonstrated such utter disrespect to all and sundry.

    Whilst I understand that if any bank left the UK that it would have an effect on the tax-take but I would much rather be poor yet free in an honest country than reduced to slavery in a dishonest one.

  • Comment number 62.

    52. At 13:00pm on 24th Mar 2011, burnallmoney wrote:
    These poor guys probably would not have 'cut it' in the banking world...

    'Japan nuclear plant workers in hospital after radiation exposure'
    https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/24/japan-nuclear-plant-workers-hospital


    ...and the bankers' priorities???

    'Banker exodus from Japan'
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8385524/Banker-exodus-from-Japan.html

    ..........
    Like rats escaping the sinking ship.

  • Comment number 63.

    ''44. At 12:41pm on 24th Mar 2011, a_sensible_comment wrote:

    Can't be bothered rebutting all the silliness today from the lefties nursing a black eye for being made to look very very foolish after WPP's statement. Face it, socialists never understood business and never will. That's why Portugal, Greece and Ireland are in a mess. And that's why we were in a mess but are going to get out of it. Three cheers for George!''

    Whats silly is you beleive in the left and right and that at the top levels there is any difference? Do people really still beleive this? Can people not see the left right paradigm for what it is? It's there to fool you theuir is a choice and they will do things differently from each other when there's obviously not. They are there to make money for their elite masters, not offer you any choice. Wise up to this very simple trick, they all follow the same agenda. When there is a 2 (or 2 and half) horse race and they're all owned by the same owner it doesn't matter who comes in where, the owner still wins the payout.

  • Comment number 64.

    37. At 12:00pm on 24th Mar 2011, You wrote:

    Your comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain


    This is ridiculous - the article is about WPP and I can't mention WPP?

    THEY'RE AN ADVERTISING AGENCY - the people can work the rest out for themselves.
    ....or are the moderators going to DISPUTE THAT FACT TOO?

    This is where we know we're into Fascism, when our publicly owned media is deliberately blocking comments of the people in order to protect themselves from the LAW which they fear as it always comes down on the side of the corporation (in fascist states)

    When will the BBC MODERATOR STOP BEING COMPLICIT IN THE BUILDING OF THE FASCIST STATE?

  • Comment number 65.

    re #1
    Now I know why you are on these Blogs so much: none too bright and struggling to keep up at college so hoping to pick up on some gems from the rest of us.

    If you had been suggesting that for, say Bradford & Bingley, and we were back in 2005 I might have agreed with you. But HSBC? Now?

    How well do you know HSBC? Have you really thought about the contents and consequences of #1?

  • Comment number 66.

    So if HSBC move their headquarters abroad, is it not the imperative of those who reside here to move their savings to a British headquartered bank to show their solidarity with their neighbours?

    Maybe a little simplistic but surely a way in which people can invest in the country to who they owe much of their privilege? Let the banks chase us for a change maybe? The difference between banks for most in the way of interest or savings is minimal but surely this is a way of really being "in it together".

  • Comment number 67.

    #52. At 13:00pm on 24th Mar 2011, burnallmoney

    Brilliant. I take my hat off to you.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    PS: Are DEC mobilising support for Japanese victims of earthquake and tsunami?

    Contacted 'Comic Relief' website, last week, regarding their record-breaking contributions from the British public. Asked if they could spare a proportion of these funds to help in Japan? Was told that 'Comic Relief' are devastated by the situation in Japan, but that their funds are only for long term aid in Africa.

    They directed me to DEC as a site to donate to for helping Japanese victims. Will do so. However, it will remain in my memory and my family's too, that Comic Relief are so 'insular'? Let's hope that Save the Children will get a few quid from 'Comic Relief' to help orphaned children in Japan?

    Would like to say more, but it would be impolite.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just remember HSBC - you can run...but you cannot hide.

    50. At 12:57pm on 24th Mar 2011, JeremyO wrote:

    "Strange, isn't it, how many of these blogs turn into bank bashing?"

    I wonder why - I mean do you prefer it when the accused in the stand is the 'wrong guy'? Do you love those miscarriages of justice?

    You see some of us don't live in bubbles - we can see the connections between events and participants in the crisis. Only capitalists living in bubbles think the budget isn't related to the banks (and will be for the foreseeable future)

    In order to be a capitalist you have to believe in an awful lot of 'market coincidences' - and some of us simply cannot agree with such an absurd fantasy.

    44. At 12:41pm on 24th Mar 2011, a_sensible_comment wrote:

    "Can't be bothered rebutting all the silliness today from the lefties nursing a black eye for being made to look very very foolish after WPP's statement. Face it, socialists never understood business and never will. That's why Portugal, Greece and Ireland are in a mess. And that's why we were in a mess but are going to get out of it. Three cheers for George!"

    By that absurd argument the Lybians should be happy to accept Gadaffi as their leader because despite being a tyranical despot - who controls all the oil - and consequently all the capital of the country. If he leaves with all their gold then they will suffer the same consequences as you propose we will when the banks leave.

    So it's clear what sort of person you are then.

    Personally I couldn't give too hoots what WPP say - as I tried to explain above - they are a PR COMPANY - it doesn't take a genius to work out what's going on there.
    ...but you have to have some intelligence - granted.

  • Comment number 71.

    It was dismaying to see Mr Osborne at the Despatch Box almost relishing the de facto exclusion of the banks from a decrease in Corporation Tax via an increase in the bank levy.

    Cheers, jeers, and sneers from all sides of the House.

    Another cheap political gag at the expense of the healing the economy and society need to pass through so we can have a better future.

    And further, it appears to me that the WPP saga is also contrived political theatre rather than anything real.

  • Comment number 72.

    Sir Martin Sorrel? Surely that's going to be "Lord Sorrel" sometime soon. After all, he scratches their back...

  • Comment number 73.

    Oh and see how the foolish 'tribal' politico's fell over themselves congratulating the 'whizzy whizz' of George with his fuel price change.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12850205

    Do you think they were tipped off per-chance?

    Even better the oil companies make a demand - either we pass it to the people - or we remove their jobs.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12844157

    Great isn't it - nobody wants to pay for this crisis - and on Saturday you will hear the people announce that they are not paying it either!

    What a shame, the bill remains and nobody wants to pay it - better get on with defaulting then because I cannot see this being settled amicably.

    ...and it certainly won't be solved with 'growth' - soon the people will start striking in huge numbers - then where is the growth?

    WPP Can base themselves wherever they like - they will not be generating a penny without a workforce.

    It's going to end in a 'blinking' contest the first person to blink out of Government (default), corporation (reduced profit) or the workforce (increased taxes and inflation) will end up footing the bill.

    ...and it's not going to be the workers this time....I personally will quit my job and sit on my finger rather than pay additional taxation to support the corporate fascist state.

    ...those who 'believe in capitalism' take note - because if this is truly a meritocracy then by definition I am a very productive member of society. When people like me stop working - oh dear - all you'll be left with it the highly paid parasites who produce very little but expect a lot in return.

    ...but don't let that worry you - I mean I'm sure you can think of a good reason why this isn't the case.

  • Comment number 74.

    It really is simple.
    I don't get taxed based on the 'profit' I make when I go to work, run my car, feed and cloth myself, put a roof over my head and so on. I pay tax on the money I am paid - my 'turnover'.
    We should tax companies the same. If we tax them on their 'turnover' in the UK then we get several wins:
    a) Companies like Barclays can't use 'central administration charges' to move profit from the UK to a cheap tax haven. They will instead pay on the basis of the money they turnover here. Thus moving to an offshore tax haven would make no difference at all to HSBC - they won't pay less tax by doing so.
    b) Companies in the UK will want to export, by exporting they will not be 'turning over' money in the UK, it will be 'turned over' in the rest of the world, this will be a good thing for GB plc as it will encourage much needed exports.
    c) The corner shop will not be paying UK corporation tax while TopShop pays nothing because it is now based in outer bolivia (or whereever it is). They will pay the SAME tax level, so the playing field will be level and the corner shop will have a better chance of competing.

    The reasons to make this tax change are compelling, the government just doesn't seem able to make the big and intelligent changes needed to make the much needed big changes to our economy

  • Comment number 75.

    52. At 13:00pm on 24th Mar 2011, burnallmoney wrote:
    These poor guys probably would not have 'cut it' in the banking world...

    'Japan nuclear plant workers in hospital after radiation exposure'
    https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/24/japan-nuclear-plant-workers-hospital


    ...and the bankers' priorities???

    'Banker exodus from Japan'
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8385524/Banker-exodus-from-Japan.html

    ..................

    Makes you think doesn't it.

    In the first headline, the workers at Fukushima who stayed on to try and contain the situation knew it was a suicide mission, even if they succeeded in saving the world from a nuclear meltdown they were condemning themselves. I do not know their annual wage but I can imagine an investment banker in the UK earns more in a week.

    In the second headline we see the bankers for what they really are. They don't take personal risks at all and they fled like cowards. The same cowards who don't risk their own money to make obscene wage packets and bonuses, the same cowards who went running to the governments worldwide to bail them out. The same cowards who threaten to quit the UK if we tax them a little bit more.

    The risk v's reward argument that parasitic bankers use to justify their over inflated salaries is truly exposed in these two headlines.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hmm.. - I'm new to this - let me get this right - i) HSBS executives are traitors and/or ii) HSBC relocating overseas will close hospitals and/or iii) banks serve no useful purpose and the bigger the bank the bigger the purpose is not served and/or iv) there has to be a better way cos this just aint fair. That it? Just thought I'd check - so basically you all rage against the machine then go check how your pension pot is doing - or even more interesting - you check how the taxpayer is increasing your pension. Thought I was missing something here - I'm not

  • Comment number 77.

    HSBC operates in over 80 countries. It's UK bank is just one of the many separately capitalised subsidiaries under the holding company.

    It's future is not made or broken by what happens in the UK, but its chairman has repeatedly said that they wish to remain headquartered in the UK. It is the Group's investors that are pressing for a move. And as I understand it they are doing so because although HSBC is one of the best capitalised, most prudently managed banks in the world, needed no financial support (in fact probably helped liquidity in the market) it is paying more under the proposed asset levies than weaker banks that were less well run and which needed government money. The UK government is charging the Holding company an asset levy on its global assets because the Holding company happens to be domiciled in the UK.

    The comments about an implicit guarantee allowing it to borrow cheaply don't apply to HSBC. It raises its funds from millions of individual far eastern depositors who have an approach to savings which is radically different from ours in the west.

    Too many of the previous posts are in the 'little Englander' category that don't seem to understand what a global bank with separately capitalised subsidiaries is. And please bear in mind that its not the bank that's holding any gun to anybody's head; Robert P and other journos are speculating about what pressure HSBC management might be under to mitigate the cost of the banking levy.

    If there was one bank I would feel safe buying shares in its HSBC. And I would have said this every year for the last 5 years.

  • Comment number 78.

    'As WPP returns, will HSBC quit UK?'

    I may be being cynical here ... but WPP would not be expecting any more ... a bit extra in return from any relocating to the UK would they? This isn't about ministerial access and other establishment, 'over-privileged' favours is it? The kind of favours that HSBC would be mad to give up?

    I'd like to see HSBC go back to China/Hong Kong and let us all see what competent real command economy strategic management wthin the aggressively protectionist environment there can do with HSBC's massive capital ... as HSBC do not use their corporate capital in the bets interests of British taxpayers/ citizens ... Why should they ... they're a spivving self interest over-sized SOFOMT (some other forms of money traders) and not even recognisable a 'bank' by their overall structure, transactions and operations.

    Business as usual for the over-privileged. The only businesses that will now return to Britain or now enter Britain as a new entrant, are the one's getting special favours over and above what is 'transparent'.

    Meanwhile Britian is still bombing its way around the world ... but our cowardly politicians are still unable to send a bunch of Chamberlain's to Brussels and Strasbourg and make sure our UK Chancellor has a free hand in slashing UK VAT ... and it is high level VAT which is a major killer of our UK domestic economy, a major cause of UK price inflation and a daily steal on millions of British people ... as always and as still set up to be largely avoided by big business.

    No wonder big global business hardly ever mentions VAT ... they very rarely pay the VAT tax or their full tax liability!

  • Comment number 79.

    will they stay or will they go? they'll stay. no question.

    they can threaten to leave London all they want. Set up shop in Qatar. How many employees will follow them? Not enough. London is a magnet, a big part of the attraction for the "banking" fraternity.

    They could obviously write off many employees and say that they can hire in the new territory but it makes a bit of a mockery of the need to pay big bonuses to keep the best talent then doesn't it.

    We made a big move to ask that bonuses be related to performance and so less cash payments were given, replaced by shares that were tied to future performance. Mistake. Let them pay whatever they want in cash bonuses but any payment higher than £100k should be taxed at 60% or 70%. That way it all gets back to the treasury anyway and everyone can stop whinging about it because if they are forced to contribute that amount in tax then even the leftist of left leaning fools can see that they would be paying their fair share.

    in fairness to all the people that avoid paying their taxes (the rich and the self employed), it does seem that we don't get much for it. broken roads, less rubbish collections, schools and hospitals on a seemingly never ending spiral downwards, rush hour trains that could almost be considered a breach of human rights and a bunch of muppets that won't answer direct questions and put moat maintenance on expenses. do you blame them?

  • Comment number 80.

    ...and nobody's mentioning Portugal at all.

    I wonder why?

    Could it be that too many banks are on the hook? - what about the margin increase to 35% by LCH clearnet for Irish debt? - not worth mentioning I bet.

    That's the problem with these 'left wing predictions' - they seem to be coming right more and more often - meanwhile the capitalist predictions are on a 100% loosing streak.

    If anyone bothers to look, the downgrading that's going on retrospectively are showing how wrong the capitalists are about recovery.

    Growth downgraded
    Employment downgraded
    Sales revised and downgraded

    The US are playing the same trick - a 'good' first estimate to bubble up the markets - followed by a later downgrade, slipped in under the new figures which are suitably elevated.

    No one has ever lied themselves out of recovery - the US tried it in the 1930's and afterward they realised what a waste of time it was.

  • Comment number 81.

    76. At 14:07pm on 24th Mar 2011, kumasi wrote:
    so basically you all rage against the machine then go check how your pension pot is doing -
    ......
    That would be the pensions that are no longer 'affordable'. The pension thing is a racket. We fleece you all to make a big profit, take a handsome reward for ourselves and then hand back penny's in the form of dividends to the peoples.

    77. At 14:11pm on 24th Mar 2011, JustKBO wrote
    If there was one bank I would feel safe buying shares in its HSBC. And I would have said this every year for the last 5 years.
    ....
    Good luck with that, Bet you dont though. I'll put my money on real wealth, precious metals, thanks all the same.

  • Comment number 82.

    44. At 12:41pm on 24th Mar 2011, a_sensible_comment wrote:

    Can't be bothered rebutting all the silliness today from the lefties nursing a black eye for being made to look very very foolish after WPP's statement. Face it, socialists never understood business and never will. That's why Portugal, Greece and Ireland are in a mess. And that's why we were in a mess but are going to get out of it. Three cheers for George!
    ========================================

    You have never posted a sensible comment yet. Just rubbish.

    Tell me the last time Ireland had a socialist government, then?

    The answer is never.

  • Comment number 83.

    76. At 14:07pm on 24th Mar 2011, kumasi wrote:

    "Hmm.. - I'm new to this - let me get this right - i) HSBS executives are traitors and/or ii) HSBC relocating overseas will close hospitals and/or iii) banks serve no useful purpose and the bigger the bank the bigger the purpose is not served and/or iv) there has to be a better way cos this just aint fair. That it? Just thought I'd check - so basically you all rage against the machine then go check how your pension pot is doing - or even more interesting - you check how the taxpayer is increasing your pension. Thought I was missing something here - I'm not"

    I wasn't foolish enough to start a pension - sorry you got suckered - maybe you should have investigated it a little better.

    Of course it would be spiteful of me to point out that the ONLY reason you can cite a reliance on HSBC through people's pensions is because the state pension has been obliterated by successive Governments.

    ...it's almost like it was all planned - think you have a chip in the game? - think again.

  • Comment number 84.

    corum-populo-2010 #69.

    "..DEC as a site to donate to for helping Japanese victims.."

    the Tokyo Post has links.

  • Comment number 85.

    When Sorrell moved WPP's HQ to Dublin he had to demonstrate that the move was 'permanent' in order to satisfy the UK tax rules. Doesn't look very permanent now, does it?

    Why is so much attention paid to individuals who choose to move their businesses, capital and families abroad? Why do we give knighthoods to these same people? Why does the BBC pay so much attention to the views of the chief executive of a Jersey-registered company domiciled in the Irish Republic? Let RTE do the job instead.

    https://cantankerous.co.uk/?p=297

  • Comment number 86.

    80. At 14:43pm on 24th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    .....
    I do recall someone on here saying "its only a recession". Not heard it repeated for a while now. I wonder why. Your name becomes more relevant by the day.

  • Comment number 87.

    From post 54

    "We operate in a capitalist system and that requires the UK to be competative."

    First, get you're spelling right if trying to make a big point.
    Then get educated about money systems, but quickly.
    Here is a clue, people come before money.

  • Comment number 88.

    Even more complete claptrap today than normal. As is usual about half of those posting haven't got a clue about the facts they are commenting on.

    Robert blogged previously on the issues of why company HQs matter (or don't) but it basically just relates to human psychology.

    First, chief executives and board members will spend time working where their company HQs are based and will hence understand that country. When it comes to finely balanced investment decisions, that knowledge will help skew decisions in favour of the 'home' country. The effect is small but potentially significant long term.

    Secondly, there is the herd instinct. If lots of mining companies are basing themselves in the UK and listing shares on the LSE then more similar companies are likely to follow suit. Equally, if several big companies leave the UK then other companies may think about following suit. The global marketplace is not static and things can and do change, sometime rapidly.

    We need to be realistic, the UK has some strengths but there are lots of nicer places in the world that rich industrialists could live. Perhaps our biggest advantage over other western liberal democracies is maintaining the critical mass of existing large multi-nationals that we have. In the midst of the biggest ever Government funding crisis the UK cannot risk any perception that multi-nationals are not welcome.

    In that context, the Chancellor's policy is broadly sensible and the treatment of overseas earning is just an evolution of his predecessor's rather than any sort of major change.

    As regards comments about countries avoiding a 'race to the bottom' on corporate taxation, one of the positive outcomes of the Eurozone crisis is that Germany has belatedly coerced its Euro neighbours into agreeing to move towards harmonising corporation tax. [The irony of the EU is that it has standardised, legislated and regulated on trivia and minutiae of employment but ignored the massively important things like pension age and corporation tax.]

    Finally, on the banking debate, we need some perspective. The credit crunch was due to the post-2000 rise in short-term bank borrowing to fund the bubble in housing and commercial property. It was NOT primarily due to hedge funds or investment bankers, it was boring old retail bankers who threw aside several centuries of prudence and good practice.

    If there was any natural justice, RBS's Fred Goodwin and other executives like Northern Rock's Adam Applegarth and Matt Ridley would be looking forward to penniless retirements. We all know that is not the case, but taking out our frustration 4 years later on the current incumbents like Antonio Horta-Osorio at Lloyds or Bob Diamond at Barclays is at best a distraction and at worst self-defeating.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Arrogant bankers wheedling and whining their way out of tax. Huffing and puffing hot air with each spurious economic prediction that never quite comes true. Grasping for bonuses. Begging for bailouts. Lemmings in the markets. Pinstripes turn brown when someone yells: 'radiation'.

    What sad examples of humanity they make. Their every action reeks of greed; every deed utterly predictable and depressingly uninspiring.

    Until they change their ways, it is the sacred duty of every human to bash them.

    We're trying to evolve. In such dark times, we don't need pathetic specimens like these.

  • Comment number 91.

    86. At 15:17pm on 24th Mar 2011, Averagejoe wrote:

    "I do recall someone on here saying "its only a recession". Not heard it repeated for a while now. I wonder why. Your name becomes more relevant by the day."

    Ah yes - that takes me back - remember the good old days joe? When the arguments came in about 'this not being serious' - similar to the market reaction to nearly every economic catastrophe these days?

    Eventually they will have to wise up.

    My real concern is the wavelength of all this - like a Tsunami the bigger it is - the more damage it will do when it reaches shore.

    Currently we're been in 'fantasy boom' fuelled by QE for about 2 years now - it's never been done before (except by Japan who didn't have a boom, just trying to tread water) - when it's over, even if it ended today - I'd expect the fallout to last for at least doble that time (4 years) with no guarantee of avoiding sovereign default in the meantime.

    Should be a good Olympics!

  • Comment number 92.

    88. At 15:37pm on 24th Mar 2011, The_Ex_Engineer wrote:

    How can you follow this...

    "Even more complete claptrap today than normal. As is usual about half of those posting haven't got a clue about the facts they are commenting on."

    with this?

    "Finally, on the banking debate, we need some perspective. The credit crunch was due to the post-2000 rise in short-term bank borrowing to fund the bubble in housing and commercial property. It was NOT primarily due to hedge funds or investment bankers, it was boring old retail bankers who threw aside several centuries of prudence and good practice. "

    Oh really? - so what about AIG? - were they a 'boring retail bank'? - what about Lehmans - I didn't even know they had branches!

    Love to see another blind capitalist supporter re-quoting 'stuff he heard' without realising how silly it looks to those of us who have thought about it.

    If you want to be simplistic - then it was the investment banks that repackaged that debt and sold it on 'overrated' - not the retail banks who merely arranged the loan to begin with.

    If you want the REAL answer then you need to ask yourself the fundamental question - why does this keep happening? - excessive lending was the 'cause' of the crash in the late 80's - so why would any self-preserving bank do the same all over again?

    Oh look - here's the reason.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tendency_of_the_rate_of_profit_to_fall

    Now go away silly man with your baseless claims which cite the symptoms as the cause of the problems.

    Bad doctors do that, your diagnosis is inaccurate and flawed.

  • Comment number 93.

    The reason we have a banking industry is a historical legacy, banking (speculators) financed the British Empire, it paid for the exploration and collection of resouces around the World. It paid for the Navy to keep them British.
    To the rest of the World the stereo type for a banker is quite often an Englishman - Why? because historically we're good at it.
    Banking is an important industry in the UK - it is no longer about land grabbing, spice & cotton plantations etc, but it is still very much about international business.
    The comments here about home bank accounts etc are naive in the extreem.

  • Comment number 94.

    86. At 15:17pm on 24th Mar 2011, Averagejoe wrote:
    80. At 14:43pm on 24th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ".....
    I do recall someone on here saying "its only a recession". Not heard it repeated for a while now. I wonder why. Your name becomes more relevant by the day."

    Because the recession ended as soon as positive growth occurred in one quarter and there have not been two negative growth quarters since :-)

  • Comment number 95.

    94. At 16:02pm on 24th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:
    86. At 15:17pm on 24th Mar 2011, Averagejoe wrote:
    80. At 14:43pm on 24th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ".....
    I do recall someone on here saying "its only a recession". Not heard it repeated for a while now. I wonder why. Your name becomes more relevant by the day."

    Because the recession ended as soon as positive growth occurred in one quarter and there have not been two negative growth quarters since :-)

    ....
    Ah of course. Everything is fine then.

  • Comment number 96.

    95. At 16:38pm on 24th Mar 2011, Averagejoe wrote:

    Ah of course. Everything is fine then.

    =========================================================

    Well he never said that did he. All he did was state that we arent in a recession anymore which if you go by the figures then we aren't. Thats not to say that there aren't going to be difficult times ahead of us all, nobody is saying that. he was merely answering WOTW and your previous comments as to why people are no longer talking about being in a recession

  • Comment number 97.

    87. At 15:22pm on 24th Mar 2011, thomas_paine wrote:
    From post 54

    "We operate in a capitalist system and that requires the UK to be competative."

    First, get you're spelling right if trying to make a big point.
    Then get educated about money systems, but quickly.
    Here is a clue, people come before money.

    Well Thomas,

    In my view being able to spell is no indication of an ability to think logically and problem solve. Anyway here's my education and work history..., I have A-levels in Pure Mathematics, Physics & Chemistry. I have a BSc and MSc in Civil Engineering and I worked for five years as a design engineer of bridges and ports (a nuclear submarine base in Scotland in the main). After that I worked in Kuwait in the construction of oil terminals after the first Gulf War. The recession of early 90's hit and I decided it was time to change profession. I worked the City and gained various regulatory qualifications and within five years I started my first (another one later on after two of the directers fell out with each other) financial company.
    I then sold that company five years back.

    In your personal life people should come before money, but in international capitalism it is all about being competitive and not spelling.

  • Comment number 98.

    @87. At 15:22pm on 24th Mar 2011, thomas_paine wrote:
    "First, get you're spelling right if trying to make a big point."

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 99.

    250 million, are these people having a laugh?
    First of all, tax would be levied wherever they go (except maybe Monaco) and secondly, 250 million vs a (or several/wait for the next crash, it's coming soon) potential multi-billion pound bailout?

    Banks need to have 25% capital (at least) and sub-prime "products" or hedging should be outlawed. As for banks like Barclays that got off virtually scot free, why aren't Customs & Excise so rigorous with these companies as they are with ones like Portsmouth FC. Take these money grabbing leeches down, make them contribute to the society and infrastucture they enjoy making use of. Just because the government builds power stations. set up a telecommunication network, rail network etc (subsequently privatised) it doesn't mean that "everybody else" has to stump up the cash to pay for it all and this lot say "cheers" and then get out of contributing as everyone else is forced to by the tax man.

  • Comment number 100.

    @5. At 10:01am on 24th Mar 2011, Decentjohn wrote:
    Sorrell is merely moving to support his chums within Government. He head-quartered WPP in Ireland to take advantage of 12% Corporation Tax - so Osbornes non budget will not have persuaded him to return.

    >> Agreed, theres nothing in this budget that would persuade someone to move a company back. Whatever the motive it isn't a promise to reduce UK corporation tax to 23% when you are currently only paying 12%. Perhaps we look less closely at the dodgy accounting practices that lead to highly profitable companies not making enough money to pay corporation tax...


    Of great concern is HSBC's view that the media (the BBC in particular) and the ConDems simply do not understand Banking. HSBC are huge contributors to the UK economy.

    >> Here I disagree. HSBC are, just the same as other banks, leaches on the economy. They broker loans between a few rich and the majority taking a massive slice out of the middle. They gamble with the deposits of those with money and occasionally come unstuck from it falling back on the state for a prop up. True they employ a few people, but if the business loans were made affordable, the business overdrafts not withdrawn other private business would employ far more people per pound than the bank. They fail to pay corporation tax on vast amounts of money by accounting practices which could be politely phrased as sharp. HSBC is no worse, might even be slightly better, than others, but angels and massive contributors they most certainly are not.

    Fools who say "simply remove HSBC from the Authorised List UK Bankers" have no grasp of International Business or Law. Even worse they cannot explain how such action would help the loss of Corporation Tax Revenues.
    >> I would set up corporation tax to be a % of the business done in the UK. If you do business here and make a loss, your problem. If you do business here and ship the profits off to an offshore tax haven then tough, you still pay tax on the business you did here. This is the only way of sorting the problem out. This would also balance the playing field for small corner shops vs mighty tax havened fashion chains and encourage British business to export (because an export is business done elsewhere - tax free as far as the business is concerned).

    To suggest the status quo is acceptable flies in the face of common sense.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.