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Guernsey Officials Lend Support To Zero-Ten Tax Policy

by Jason Gorringe,, London

27 December 2007

Senior figures in the Guernsey Policy Council have rallied in support of zero-10 and the States economic and taxation strategy.

In a series of interviews on BBC Radio Guernsey earlier this month, Deputy Chief Minister Stuart Falla, Treasury and Resources Minster Lyndon Trott and Public Services Minister Bill Bell all strongly backed the zero-10 solution, which has come under considerable criticism in recent weeks.

"I am entirely supportive of the strategy that the States endorsed almost overwhelmingly. I think it will be very good for Guernsey people because it will be a platform for continued prosperity right through the whole range, not just for financial services," Deputy Falla announced, adding that:

"I have absolutely no doubt that what we are doing is right."

Deputy Trott, who has been primarily responsible within the Policy Council for steering the process through the States and the public forum, said that he had enjoyed the process of engaging with the public, and recognised that it had to continue.

"For me, a significant majority of people have become persuaded by the initiative as time has gone on, however there continues to be a significant vocal minority who have concerns and I consider my job, for the remainder of this term on behalf of the Policy Council, is to address those concerns as best I can," he announced.

"Among the biggest concerns is what does the future hold. I always give the same answer – I and my advisers don’t have a crystal ball but what we believe is that the decision the States has taken was the least risky of the options and we believe that we have not created an environment whereby there is a likely to be an adverse reaction – it’s positive," he continued.

Deputy Trott went on to reassure Guernsey residents that States finances were still buoyant, and there was no question of storing up big tax increases for islanders in the future after the 2008 election.

Deputy Bell described completing the process of taxation reform to establish the zero-10 regime as his highlight of the political year:

"My outstanding success for the year has been establishing all the guidelines and legislation for zero-10. We move into next year with zero-10 in place and all the indications are that zero-10 is working."

He concluded:

"All the indications are that we remain an attractive jurisdiction. A lot of people are coming, bringing their businesses and their money to Guernsey and that’s something where we could have gone wrong, we could have been in a situation where we found people leaving. We’re doing well and zero-10 is working."

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