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Eurostar ad urges French tax exiles to head to UK
Eurostar, majority-owned by a French public rail company, has risked upsetting the French government after an ad in its onboard magazine urged those “tired of paying too much tax in France” to consider moving to the UK.
Cross-Channel rail operator Eurostar has found itself in hot water this week after publishing an ad in its onboard magazine advising French nationals to consider moving to the UK to escape France’s high tax rates.
“Tired of paying too much tax in France?” asks the ad for accountancy firm Euro Accounting, published in the Metropolitan magazine. “The UK will roll out the red carpet for you,” referring to comments made by British Prime Minister David Cameron last year in an effort to woo French tax exiles.
It then lists a number of tax benefits to living in the UK, including its comparatively low social security tax of 12 per cent, corporation tax of 20 per cent and a lack of a wealth tax.
The ad, on page 78 of the October edition of the magazine, is unlikely to go down well with the French government, not least because Eurostar is 55 percent owned by France’s SNCF – a public company.
Editor: Eurostar approves content
While Metropolitan magazine is produced entirely by the London agency INK, rather than by Eurostar itself, its editor Marie-Noëlle Bauer told the Huffington Post that the rail operator “of course has the right’ to approve the content of each edition before publication.
A spokesperson for Eurostar acknowledged that the ad had “escaped the notice of Eurostar’s marketing team”, adding that otherwise “we would not have published it”.
The issue of tax exiles is already a sensitive subject in France, particularly after the government announced plans to introduce a new 75 percent “super tax” on earnings above one million euros.
Opponents have claimed the tax will simply drive the country’s wealthy citizens and businesses to countries with less stringent tax regimes.
Last year, French actor Gerard Depardieu stirred up controversy with his decision to relocate to Belgium, ostensibly to avoid the new 75 percent tax.
More than 200,000 copies of Metropolitan magazine are distributed on Eurostar trains each month, reaching an estimated 850,000 passengers.
The offending ad will not appear in any future editions of the magazine, a Eurostar spokesperson told FRANCE 24.