Downing Street has said Apple would be "welcome" to come to the UK in the wake of a recent ruling by the European Commission for the technology giant to pay €13bn (£11.1bn, $14.5bn) in back taxes to Ireland.

After the Commission condemned Apple's "sweetheart" tax deal with Dublin which amounted to paying only £50 in tax for every £1m in profit, UK ministers told The Telegraph that it could mean a significant "opportunity" for Britain to drum up post-Brexit business.

Responding to a question over how welcome Apple would be in the UK, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The narrative of the Government has been well set out. Britain is open for business, we welcome any company wishing to invest in Britain and Britain's workforce.

"You have seen today that (Trade Secretary) Liam Fox has laid out that we have had a record year for inward investment for the year up to May this year which is proof we are one of the most attractive places to do business in.

"We would welcome any company that is prepared to invest in this country," he added.

Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, told the Daily Mail: "Britain could benefit. If Ireland cannot offer sweetheart deals within the EU, the City of London can perhaps offer something more appealing outside the bloc."

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Ireland is owed €13bn (£11bn; $14.5bn) plus interest in unpaid taxes due between 2003 and 2014. She criticised how Apple records worldwide sales, including in the UK, in Ireland, allowing the company to transfer profits to a subsidiary with no staff or location.

Vestager
EU Commissioner Vestager gestures during a news conference on Ireland's tax dealings with Apple Inc on 30 August Reuters

However anger on the other side of the Atlantic grew when the US Treasury criticised dubbed the probe into Apple's affairs as "unfair" as the company might offset those losses in the US, which would hit the US taxpayer.

Democrat senator Charles Schumer, called the move a "cheap money grab", the BBC reported.

Meanwhile in Silicon Valley, the ruling has been greeted with shock with Om Malik of the San Francisco venture capital firm True Ventures telling The Guardian: "The EU is trying to change the rules of the game retroactively. It makes little sense to me.

"If they change the rules going forward, that's their prerogative. These companies have been complying with the Irish rules. Now a lot of them will have to re-evaluate their relationships with Europe."

Irish cabinet

Daire Hickey, the Irish co-founder of Web Summit, a conference for startups, said the decision would be bad for Ireland, telling The Guardian that his country "has always been transparent in its wish to tax Apple and other multinationals at a low rate. The EU is moving the goalposts by giving a decision on something that has been going on for decades".

Ireland will appeal the ruling, with the country's finance minister saying Michael Noonan will seek approval to appeal when the Irish cabinet meets on Wednesday 31 August. However Independent Alliance Ministers were undecided on whether they would support Noonan, which could throw the country's coalition government into jeopardy, the Irish Times reported.

Apple said in a statement: "Apple follows the law and pays all of the taxes we owe wherever we operate. We will appeal and we are confident the decision will be overturned."