Britain may be set to cut corporation tax in a bid to attract international companies after Apple was hit with a record tax bill by Brussels.
Downing Street said it would welcome Apple to the UK after the European Commission imposed an £11billion ‘fine’.
The commission found that a deal with Ireland meant the technology giant has paid as little as 0.005 per cent tax on its European profits for more than a decade. However, the rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5 per cent.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the European Union decision represents a “devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states”. He said that the decision will have a “profound and harmful effect” on investment and jobs in the EU.
However, Ministers told are saying that the decision could represent a significant “opportunity” for Britain as it seeks to attract business after leaving the EU.
The comments will fuel speculation that Britain – set to leave the EU – is hoping that Apple could relocate to the UK.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The narrative of the Government has been well set out. Britain is open for business, we welcome any company wishing to invest in Britain and Britain’s workforce.”
Apple said the EU had tried to “rewrite history”. The company has been under investigation for two years by the EU, in the latest effort to clamp down on alleged tax avoidance by US multinationals.
The total amount that Apple may have to pay will depend on how the ruling is actually enforced. Other countries or US authorities may order the company to pay extra, which could reduce the sum allegedly owed to the state.