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Guernsey Welcomes Clegg Comments

by Jason Gorringe,, London

28 September 2012

Guernsey has welcomed comments made by the UK's Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, at the Liberal Party annual conference in support of the Channel Islands' contribution to the UK economy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event to the UK's state broadcaster, the BBC, Clegg admitted that: "The financial sector in the Channel Islands is hugely important obviously for the Channel Islands but also an important gateway for the wider financial sector and indeed the economy in the United Kingdom".

"It's vibrant, it's innovative; it's well known around the world for lots of regulatory debates about exactly how the financial sector operates in the Channel Islands but it's a great plus for us as a country," he said.

This rare show of support for the Channel Islands from a senior figure in the UK government was, however, tempered by separate comments made by Business Secretary, Vince Cable who was again outspoken in criticizing so called 'tax havens'. Whilst not explicitly addressing the UK's relationship with the Channel Islands, he said the UK should work with its allies "to close down tax havens", arguing "nobody keeps their cash in tax havens for the qualify of investment advice."

Nonetheless, given the fact that sentiment towards the Channel Islands from London is usually negative, Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, the promotional agency for the island’s finance industry, said that Clegg's comments were "extremely encouraging".

"The fact that the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK government has given us such support is a major milestone for the Channel Islands. It is a huge endorsement of the work which has been done over a long period of time at many different levels to educate key opinion formers in the UK."

“We have repeatedly shown how the Channel Islands adopt leading international standards of financial regulation and tax practices and that our financial services industry contributes positively to the City of London and also the wider UK economy. It is very important that this is now being publicly recognized by an extremely senior figure within the UK government."

“What we now hope is that this has some influence within UK political circles and also our neighbours in the European Union and that they begin to better understand the role of the Channel Islands in the UK economy and the wider European Union (EU). Certainly, we recognize that there remains work for us to do in continuing to educate key opinion formers in the UK and the EU but this is a very large and significant step in the right direction.”

TAGS: compliance | Finance | tax | investment | tax compliance | law | banking | financial services | international financial centres (IFC) | Guernsey | United Kingdom | offshore | standards | regulation | services

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