Leading article: Ignoble exile

Britain is losing a Virgin. Sir Richard Branson is moving the company that owns the rights to his brand from the UK to Switzerland in order to reduce its tax bill.

This is part of a pattern. Sir Richard has long used off-shore tax havens to shield his personal wealth (estimated at some £3bn) from the UK taxman. Those woolly jumpers conceal a ruthless operator when it comes to paying less tax.

There is nothing illegal there. But next time Sir Richard is presented as a national treasure it might be worth recalling that the entrepreneur has a record of doing everything in his power to minimise his contribution to our actual national treasure.

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