Unilever become the latest company to threaten to pull out of UK over rising taxesSubmitted by Ron Aldof on Thu, 02/11/2010 - 03:00
The boss of Unilever has warned the company could be forced to move abroad if hit with further tax rises.
The loss of the firm that makes PG Tips and Hellman's mayonnaise would be a major embarrassment for the Government and the biggest casualty to date.
Unilever can trace its history in the UK back to the 1890s.
A number of companies tired of constantly changing tax regimes and onerous regulations introduced under Labour have already moved abroad.
And many business leaders have become increasingly infuriated with the Government for hitting hardest those British firms that make large slices of their profit overseas.
Unilever chief executive Paul Polman is the latest to fire a warning shot.
In an interview with the Daily Mail he said: 'We already have a tougher economic environment because consumers have less money to spend.
'If on top of that we would get an additional regulatory or tax environment that would make us non-competitive that would be unfortunate for the UK.'
The UK has one of the highest corporation tax rates in Europe, while the return to 17.5 per cent VAT will also deal a blow to firms.
High-earners from April will be hit with Gordon Brown's 50p tax rate, a move which some critics have said will trigger an exodus of workers.
Mr Polman said: 'We do have choices where we put research laboratories, choices for manufacturing facilities and choices where we put our senior management.
'Any responsible businessman needs to continue to assess that within an everchanging global environment.'
Unilever, the consumer goods giant behind Dove Soap and Lipton Ice Tea, has a UK heritage dating back to the 1890s when William Hesketh Lever, founder of Lever Bros, wrote down his ideas for Sunlight Soap.