Why Irish eyes are smiling


Once again, Ireland seems to be the destination of choice for companies driven out of the UK by high taxes. Last week, reports Dominic White, WPP, Glaxo, International Power and AstraZeneca all hinted that they could follow Shire and United Business Media's plans to switch domicile to Ireland.

Why the rush? Well, Corporation tax is 30 percent in the UK, compared to just 12.5 percent in Ireland. After Alastair Darling's not-a-word-of-consultation attack on non-doms, many companies feel they just can't plan ahead under such a capricious regime. The Irish Development Agency has seized its chance and is actively courting UK decision-makers.

White might also have mentioned that Ireland is near. It's in the Euro area and part of the EU. There is no language barrier. Ireland has a well-educated, cultured population. It's green and pleasant (if a bit rainy in parts). The peace process has eroded the old national resentments and made the life and cultures of Ireland and the UK much more integrated.

With such stiff competition on its doorstep, why can't the UK government see what it must do?