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Lamont Tells Jersey: Keep Independence Threat In Reserve

Tax-news.com

15 November 1999


At a seminar in Jersey this week former UK Chancellor Lord Lamont branded Prime Minister Tony Blair a 'constitutional vandal' and warned the Channel Islands that they should be concerned about retaining their independent tax status. Lord Lamont expressed concern over two issues in particular from a Channel Islands viewpoint, 'The first is an EU-wide withholding tax. If the UK is not able to resist the introduction of withholding tax, then that will have an effect. If it does negotiate a compromise, then it will be questionable as to whether the UK government will bother to defend the interests of the Channel Islands'.

Lamont says the second issue is the Blair government's handling of constitutional reform: 'they have got drunk on constitutional change, and I think they could be very careless on future constitutional issues'.

Just last month Sir Alan Walters, a former Thatcher economic advisor, said that the Channel Islands should declare independence. However, Lord Lamont said that he believed that Channel Islanders do not want independence from the UK, but that in negotiating with the UK and the EU they should 'be prepared to play the independence card '…. and make it clear that this is ultimately what would happen if the islands were left facing the prospect of the destruction of their financial services industry.'

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