Business

Dutch PM grilled over the tax cut that enticed Unilever to ditch London

Unilever's decision to abandon its London headquarters came under fresh scrutiny today, as the Dutch Prime Minister faced a grilling over his government's role in the move.

Mark Rutte's credibility was questioned by opposition politicians, following the publication of memos about the abolition of a dividend tax.

The documents showed that the decision to cut the tax was "decisive" in Unilever's decision to move its headquarters to Rotterdam.

According to the memo, Unilever had lobbied for the Netherlands to scrap the 15 per cent tax on dividends paid by multinational companies.

Although the finance ministry said in the documents that the tax did not play a major role in the attractiveness of the country to businesses, it is thought that the possibility of losing Unilever to London played a major role in the decision.

But Rutte claimed he had no memory of seeing the documents in question. Opposition leaders today said that claim was in doubt.

"Of course he knew about the memos," said Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher, according to website Dutch News. "The prime minister must come up with a statement to restore his credibility."

The documents were prepared during coalition talks last summer.

Unilever did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Unilever hikes dividend with €6bn share buyback kicking off in May

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