Not since The Beatles wrote Taxman in response to Harold Wilson's 95% super-tax back in the 60s has there been so much furore over the amount of income we'll be paying to the Exchequer from April.

In case any higher earners in the food sector have been away lording it in their yachts in Monaco or penthouses in Dubai (whoops, you didn't see that one coming did you), here's a recap. Those earning £150,000 and over will now be paying 50%, up from 40%, on their higher income. The result, according to some business leaders desperate to hang on to their money, will be an exodus of talent to tax havens such as Switzerland, Andorra and Gibraltar.

Personally the idea of swapping the bright lights of London for the monkeys of Gibraltar or shops of Andorra (apparently there are 2,000, that's more than one for every 40 inhabitants) appeals only slightly more than trying to negotiate with Richard Brasher. But then I am not in the fortunate enough position to worry about this. If I were, I would certainly need to be earning a lot more than £150,000 to merit disrupting my life to that extent.

Nevertheless, many of the food industry's top dogs will be forced to choke up more money this year as the country seeks to plug the £2 trillion hole in its debt (that's 12 zeros to you and me). And it won't just be the Sir Terrys (£8.2m package), Marc Bollands (£1.7m when at Morrisons) and Paul Walshes (£5m) of the world affected by this. Many commercial directors and other director-level personnel will fall into the new high tax band, as well as top-performing sales staff.

Worse still, Alistair Darling is also turning the screw on those earning above £100,000. They will lose £1 of their personal allowance for every £2 higher than £100,000 effectively meaning those earning £113,000 will no longer enjoy the £6,475 personal allowance.

So what's to be done? Will we see Tesco et al following in the footsteps of Kraft, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive and McDonald's and moving to the land of the alphorn and yodelling to take advantage of more favourable tax laws?

I hope not, though there certainly may be more employees queuing for jobs based in overseas divisions than before. And many HR directors are now exploring ways of making up some of the losses, such as introducing flexible benefits schemes or paying bonuses before the April 6 hike, although the Chancellor has made clear he is looking at tax avoidance loopholes.

But perhaps the key issue here is the impact on the employer brand of upping roots. Look at the outcry over the possibility of Cadbury falling into foreign hands. The potential brand damage to certain food companies if they choose to pay their tax elsewhere could be disastrous.

Siân Harrington is editor of Human Resources magazine.