Madrid says considering tax breaks to attract UK-based firms

MADRID (Reuters) - Madrid’s regional government is considering granting tax breaks to attract banks and international firms looking to move operations away from Britain after its vote to leave the European Union, a spokesman said on Monday.

Madrid has joined other EU cities in a scramble for businesses located in London, including Frankfurt and Paris, the continent’s two biggest financial centres.

The regional government is looking at introducing a more generous tax scheme for the purchase and sale of land and on capital gains on properties, the spokesman said.

“We will be looking at the tax scheme in order to bring in investments from the City (of London), always with the ultimate aim of job creation,” he said, without giving more details.

Spain would also compete to host the headquarters of the EU’s London-based bank regulator and the London-based European Medicines Agency, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria told a news conference on Friday.

Madrid, where most of Spain’s banks have large operations, has used tax incentives to stimulate investment before. It offered a 95 percent tax break in 2014 to firms moving to the “Corredor del Henares” industrial area in the north of the city.

“There are investors right now in Britain looking for another city to establish themselves: that city is Madrid,” the head of the regional government, Cristina Cifuentes, said on Twitter.

Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel; Writing by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Angus Berwick and Janet Lawrence