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Jersey Denies Independence Rumours in UK Press

Tax-news.com

22 November 1999


Responding to suggestions in the UK press, senior Jersey politicians have stated that the Island is not seeking independence from Britain. For instance, an article in the Sunday Telegraph suggested that the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are considering independence in the face of threats to their tax status by the UK and EU which would have a disastrous effect on their economies.

Jersey Senator Pierre Horsfall rejected the allegation, saying "The correct position, as I have said before, is that independence is not on the agenda in the present circumstances. If those circumstances change dramatically, and I have said this before as well, it is one option which could be considered." Horsfall went on to say that he believed the article was based on recent events in Guernsey, where a small independence movement has already been established and independence has been accepted as a measure of last resort if the EU tax harmonisation reforms currently under discussion look like encroaching on the island's independent tax status. Emotions were stirred on this issue recently in Guernsey when the British Home Office, in an unusually provocative move, refused permission for Guernsey to make a change to its tax law.

But Jersey does not appear at this stage to be as concerned by EU tax reform as neighbouring Guernsey. Jersey thinks that of the 200 (now reduced to 61) tax measures targeted for removal by the EU Working Group on Tax Competition, only a small number apply to the island and the potential impact on its financial services business will be limited.

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