Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

WPP may quit Dublin after UK Budget

Sir Martin Sorrell said WPP may move its heaquarters from Dublin to the UK following George Osborne's cut in corporate tax

Advertising giant WPP has said it is likely to switch its headquarters from Dublin back to the UK after UK chancellor George Osborne slashed corporation tax.

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell revealed that the announcement of a greater than expected reduction and reforms to levies on profits collected overseas had tempted the firm to reverse its move to Ireland.

Sir Martin told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There has to be legislation enacted ... but I think it looks as though we will make that recommendation (to return to the UK)."

The news comes a day after business publisher and events organiser United Business Media said it was "actively considering" a return to the UK three years after moving its tax base to Ireland.

Onerous tax charges on profits earned outside the UK have seen a number of British firms quit the country in recent years.

WPP relocated its HQ to Dublin in late 2008, while office group Regus and pharmaceutical firm Shire have also joined the exodus.

Mr Osborne unveiled moves to woo businesses back to the UK by increasing this April's cut in corporation tax to 2% instead of 1%, alongside a commitment to overhaul controlled foreign company rules.

Corporation tax will now be reduced by 5% over the next four years, from 28% to 23% - making it the lowest rate of the G7 nations.

Sir Martin said that together with the firm's chief finance officer he would propose to his company's board that WPP return to the UK.

If agreed by both the board and then shareholders, the switch could take place soon after legislation later this year or early in 2012.

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