News this week totally unconnected with the election campaign (really?) that HSBC is thinking of moving it’s head office out of London to an undisclosed location overseas.
Last year HSBC paid £1.1bn in UK corporation tax which is 10% of its total worldwide tax bill despite the fact that HSBC has 17% of it’s staff based in the UK and accounts for 18% of it’s turnover. Could it be that it is either diverting revenues abroad or loading it’s UK costs to avoid UK tax? Shurely not!
Let’s cut through the politics. HSBC and Barclays both do their best to avoid paying tax in the UK. As regards the proposed HQ relocation, they have a policy to review this every three years but due to the global financial crisis, this was delayed and has now come around again.
And of course this is absolutely nothing to do with Stuart Gulliver, their CEO, wanting to minimise the tax on his £7.5million remuneration package either.
No, this is to do with them stamping their little feet over the proposed increase in the bank levy , especially if Labour get in on May 7th. It’s sabre rattling and scare tactics and playing politics. So will it happen?
Well, the smart money says that the world financial markets are in London and New York so are HSBC really going to move to Hong Kong? Well, they’d be moving out of the thick of it and I don’t reckon the banking world would look too kindly on that.
No, this is the news media talking up a non story about a scheduled operational review that was going to happen anyway. End of.
Anyone would think there an election campaign going on…