The Scottish tycoon is accusing his fellow millionaire of being a non-dom, giving him an “unfair” business advantage as, being domiciled abroad, he wouldn’t be paying UK tax on his overseas earnings.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Bannatyne says: “The non-dom situation is very relevant to business owners like me in the UK because we find ourselves at a distinct disadvantage when competing with businesses owned by non-doms.”
His gibe comes as Caan is muscling into Bannatyne’s health club territory, with plans to open Nuyuu, a new chain of fitness and leisure clubs across the country.
“A case in point is the recent announcement by my non-dom friend and colleague James Caan,” he writes.
“He is venturing into the health club industry and has acquired five existing clubs. As I pay UK tax on all of the earnings that fund my lifestyle, and corporation tax on all of the profits made by my businesses, I am clearly at an unfair disadvantage.
“It’s just as well James and I get on so well, and there couldn’t be a nicer man to be in competition with, but you see my point.”
Bannatyne adds that all UK residents should pay UK tax unless they can prove that they’re paying equivalent taxes elsewhere in the world.
“This would level the business playing field and encourage, rather than stifle, the growth of enterprise and small business in this country.”
Interestingly, since yesterday, the Daily Telegraph has removed Bannatyne’s comment piece from its website, as well as another article referring to the comment piece.
Earlier this morning, on Twitter, Bannatyne said: “My article has disappeared from view. Have I been gagged? Have we given up on democracy?”
The mystery continues over why the article has been removed, but Bannatyne suggests pressure was put on the Telegraph by James Caan’s team: “Just found out James Caan’s lawyers wrote to them,” he said.
One week on, Bannatyne and Caan still haven’t made up. The Dragons are at the BBC to film a Dragons’ Den episode, but the two Dragons aren’t on speaking terms, it seems.
Bannatyne tweets: “At BBC with fellow Dragons. Offered my hand to James Caan but he refused to take it which I thought was a bit childish.”
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