That's a question that's often asked here in Scotland. And the answer is, of course, yes. The head office creates work for all kinds of suppliers: from taxi drivers to auditors; from travel agents to lawyers.
So news that some top functions at RBS may be moving to London is certainly bad news for Edinburgh and Scotland:
FORMER Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir George Mathewson has voiced doubts about whether the bank will be run from Scotland in future.Why London? Because London is calling the shots at RBS these days.
When I actually lived in London, this was never mentioned as an issue down there. So many companies are based in London that the odd merger or takeover never threatened London's financial position.
But perhaps things are changing. Here's the key quote regarding BA and Iberia:
The combined company would be incorporated in Spain for tax purposes with the majority of board and shareholder meetings taking place in Madrid. The operating and financial headquarters of the new group would be in London, they said.This sounds all too familiar to me. Just how long will it be before all managerial control is moved to Madrid?
Now, as a good libertarian, I have no problem with the new airline being based at Barajas instead of Heathrow. There shouldn't "be a law against it". But as we Scots know all to well, a country starts to run into all kinds of problems if takeovers are almost entirely one-way.
The answer to these situations is obvious: create a pro-business environment in one's own country - whether that's seen as Scotland or the UK. There's not much sign of that happening these days is there?