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I see your point Binman, but after I saw your post I called my friend. He agrees it is not just the APD but the cumulative effect of all the taxes and of course the much cheaper tickets out of Milan that is his driving force. In fact he had never considered Milan until the APD was raised to what he thought was unreasonable levels. Out of curiosity he checked other departure points and then he saw the fare difference. That was the deciding factor.
The point VK makes about being a wealth generating nation is (was?) true, the trouble is so many of those entrepreneurs are fed up with the taxes and laws and are either selling up (or closing down) and retiring overseas on the proceeds.
In my case I moved what was an exporting business from the UK to another country, so that the UK then became an importer of those products.
My argument with HMG centered around the 90 day ruling. It was not that I wanted to live in the UK, but needed to be there and my family were all based outside the UK. I had a big personal tax bill, could not be bothered to fight it, and instead sold the factory building and land, and from the profit paid the tax bill, paid for a new factory and equipment and restarted production elsewhere. The other country had no problem with me coming in and out and there was no “day” counting.
Where I live now we are seeing almost daily Brits coming to Lugano and setting up here. Their families quickly settle in and all say they are here for the same reason – tax.
The fact remains we can try and maintain a moral stance and say we should pay tax, and I agree, but when that tax, in whatever form, is seen as a burden, people go!