Leading drinks company Diageo has been offered, and rebuffed, an extraordinary proposal by Zug, a canton of Switzerland, to up sticks and move their base of operations away from Britain.
Owners of world-recognised drinks brands the likes of Smirnoff and Guinness, Diageo was notified by Zug that if it accepted the relocation offer then its entire fleet of executives, a figure close to 200, would thus be entirely free from the fiscal shackles of personal income tax. As part of the deal the company would also be offered the chance to negotiate a favourable rate of corporation tax, thought to be less than 10 percent.
This staggering offer highlights the lengths that aggressive Swiss cantons will go to to prize away revered British companies. A spokesman for Diageo told Mark Klienman “As we have said before, we see many advantages to remaining a British domiciled company, but we have also made clear time and again that it is important the Government takes steps to ensure this country remains and develops its position as a competitive place to do business.”