The Daily Telegraph has published excerpts from a presentation Ratcliffe is said to have given to George Osborne that began with a slide stating: “The UK frankly has not been a very attractive place to manufacture”.

Ratcliffe, who has already moved Ineos’s headquarters to Switzerland after the company was refused VAT deferrals during the Credit Crunch, has called for a reduction in corporation tax for manufacturing companies to 12%.

He also called on the government to reduce environmental taxes on energy, which add €6 per megawatt hour (MWh) in the UK, versus €1 in Germany and zero in the US Gulf, making the UK one of the most expensive countries for big energy users.

Ratcliffe is said to have told the chancellor that Britain lacked USPs for manufacturing investment, that it was disadvantaged on transport costs and that to this could be added “energy, pensions, government attitude, unions, infrastructure qualitys, skills and tax”.

The shale gas boom in the US has given American companies a big advantage on energy costs, he claimed, while Germany benefits from “excellent skills” and “a very strong manufacturing base” and China has “a massive market” and “cheap labour costs”.

Ratcliffe also criticised the “aspirational targets for university attendance” pushed by successive governments, which have led to a decline in the UK’s vocationally skilled workforce. The government should “get rid of the idea that everyone should get a degree regardless of whether it is worth anything”, he added.

Ratcliffe told The Telegraph that he had simply been trying to impress upon the government the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy and the fact that “if you want to encourage manufacturing in the UK, you have to have some reason to invest”.

Ineos’s Grangemouth plant was recently in the news after a dispute with Unite left the 800-staff business facing closure; the decision to close the plant, announced last week, was reversed when the union acquiesced to the company’s demands for a three-year pay freeze, an end to the final salary pension scheme and an agreement not to strike for three years.