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Gov.UK begs Google 'n' U.S. tech pals: Forget Ireland, come to Blighty

And if you don't... wa-hey, diverted profits tax. *Cough*

The government has opened an initiative to try to tempt US tech companies to set up shop in the UK – rather than our "tax rate lite" neighbour Ireland.

The "HQ-UK" initiative is intended to showcase why Blighty is the best place to establish an international base.

Part of the efforts include a "concierge service" offering a single point of contact and "roll out the red carpet to make expansion easy for US tech companies," said the government.

Star treatment will include advice to speed up visa applications, priority border control at UK airports, accelerated access to UK bank accounts, or support incorporating company incorporation.

Baroness Shields, digital advisor to the prime minister, said: "Nowhere beats the UK as an international hub for tech companies who are looking to thrive, innovate and grow. As someone who has spent 25 years operating on both sides of the Atlantic, I have no hesitation in saying that the UK is now the best place to build a global business."

It also hopes the lower corporation tax rate of 20 per cent set to come into force in April will help woo big tech companies. This is down from 28 per cent in 2010. "The UK’s fully reformed tax system will offer the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7," it said.

However, that is still no where near Ireland's corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent, which has attracted nearly all the big US tech companies such as Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have their headquarters in Ireland, rather than the UK.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce, the body that represents US business interests in Ireland, more than 115,000 people are directly employed in over 700 US firms in the country.

The government made no mention of the upcoming Diverted Profits tax legislation, which would introduce a 25 per cent tax on company profits made in UK but diverted abroad, unofficially described as the “Google Tax”. It is currently in its draft form, but the government plans to introduce it on 1 April this year. ®

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