Royal Dutch Shell is moving its headquarters and tax residency from the Netherlands to the UK. The company will scrap its dual-share structure and drop the “Royal Dutch” from its name. Several of its employees – including chief executive Ben van Beurden – will be moving to Britain too.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng welcomed the news, calling it “a clear vote of confidence in the British economy”. But the Dutch government, called it an “unwelcome surprise”.
Shell chairman Andrew Mackenzie said the plans would allow the business to strengthen its “competitiveness and accelerate both shareholder distributions and delivery of its strategy to become a net-zero emissions energy company”.
Shell’s announcement was not part of the Brexit doomsday script. In December 2017, the anti-Brexit New European, ever keen to do in Britain over the supposed crime of Brexit, urged the oil firm to take advantage of lower corporate taxes in the Netherlands and claimed it would be an “unwelcome” move to keep investing in Britain.
Shell, happily, did not listen.
The UK has some serious productivity and business investment problems. But as this decision by Shell shows, and other commitments by Nissan, it’s not all one way traffic.
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