Britain’s Best-Known Business Figures Considering Leaving

Dozens of Britain’s most prominent business-figures are considering leaving Britain in protest against Chancellor Alistair Darling who is being accused of risking the prospect of an economic recovery after he unveiled a 50% tax rate on higher earners.

From The Times of London: Hugh Osmond, the pubs-to-insurance entrepreneur, is thinking about a move to Switzerland. Peter Hargreaves, the £10m-a-year co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, the financial adviser, is looking at the Isle of Man or Monaco. More are likely to be follow.

Osmond, whose net worth is estimated at £230m, said: “A lot of people will be off. It’s highly unlikely that I will continue to have the UK as my country of residence. It’s just as easy to work from any close location — Switzerland or wherever.”

Hargreaves, facing an extra £500,000 on his tax bill, warned: “I won’t pay, I’ll leave.”

Robert Pfeiffer, a partner at Compass Advisers, a mergers and acquisitions firm, said that businesses such as his did not need to be based in Britain. “We all love living in London but in the end it becomes an economic decision. The clients don’t care.”

He and his partners were discussing a move to Geneva. “Do we want the hassle of moving? Probably not. But there comes a point economically when it’s hard to justify being here.”

Many business leaders have condemned the new tax grab and have suggested such actions would undermine the UK’s attractiveness as a place to invest. Billionaire Sir Richard Branson referred to the new income tax increase as a “block to the next wave of entrepreneurs.”

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