Thursday, June 20, 2024

Top industrialist Sir Jim Ratcliffe blames high taxes for ‘killing’ business

Must read

  • Sir Jim takes swipe at Conservatives’ economic strategy 
  • Country ‘does need to get a bit sharper’ on business
  • Billionaire claims hefty taxes will ‘kill off’ oil and gas companies 

Having his say: Sir Jim Ratcliffe

One of Britain’s top industrialists has warned the country’s manufacturing is lagging behind Germany’s due to uncompetitive government taxes.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe – Britain’s fourth wealthiest man – took a swipe at the Conservatives’ economic strategy and said the country ‘does need to get a bit sharper’ on business.

The billionaire, who runs petrochemicals empire Ineos, claimed hefty taxes would ‘kill off’ oil and gas companies while businesses thrived elsewhere.

Manufacturing ‘unfortunately, has been sliding away now for the last 25 years’, the Manchester United co-owner told Sky News. While the UK was ‘very similar in scale’ to Germany at the start of the century, today it is ‘just a fraction’ of its European rival.

The North has been especially hindered by this lack of growth, Ratcliffe said.

He added: ‘That talks to things like energy competitiveness, it talks to things like, why do you put an immensely high tax on the North Sea?’

‘That just disincentivises people from finding hydrocarbons in the North Sea, in energy.’

He then said Britain ‘wants to kill off the oil and gas companies’ with a levy of 75 per cent.

In comparison a corporation tax of around 30 per cent is paid in America.

A windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas profits was imposed in 2022 because of a jump in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ratcliffe’s comments echo those from other industry figures this month, with the chairman of a top producer Serica Energy accusing ministers of a ‘race to the bottom’.

‘The UK politics is going to drive oil and gas investment overseas, and it will take with it jobs, tax revenues and energy security,’ David Latin said.

The manufacturing industry employs around 2.6million people in the UK and it contributes £224billion in output, according to Make UK.

But there have been concerns about the UK missing out as big names have turned elsewhere to invest in new factories.

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