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Rennie: Ineos support must not be a billionaire's bailout

May 18, 2020 6:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that any support package provided to Ineos must offer a positive return for taxpayers rather than being a "billionaire's bailout".

According to recent media reports, Ineos and its partner Chinese state-owned PetroChina are seeking up to £500m of state loan funding with the Scottish Government for their joint firm Petroineos, while discussions have also been held with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Treasury.

Countries such as France and Denmark have recently announced that companies which pay out dividends, buy back their own shares or are registered in tax havens won't be eligible for aid programs.

Mr Rennie said:

"By choosing to move Ineos' headquarters from the UK to Switzerland and setting himself up as resident in Monaco Jim Ratcliffe has avoided hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxes.

"The Scottish Government has a duty to preserve jobs but if they are offering up money and guarantees then this should come with strict strings attached. We must not sanction a billionaire's bailout, while so many ordinary people struggle to get by.

"Billionaires should not be able to treat taxation as purely voluntary and then expect to benefit from support at the taxpayers' expense.

"The Scottish Government have previously indicated that they are prepared to clamp down on business support going into the pockets of bad bosses, overseas tycoons and tax avoiders. Now they will have to put their money where their mouth is."