Tuesday, September 28, 2010



As we await the coming Napier Report i thought i would put up the Terms of Reference again.

Also, will Brian Napier dare criticize the Law Office

Everyone is getting advise when it comes to Graham Powers suspension




Le Marquand

Everyone is getting advice from the Law Office. Who are these people who are never named but are behind all the huge decisions.

What we cant have with Napier is the old line " We will learn and move on "


A Chief of Police has been suspended and treated no better than a criminal although some would say a criminal would have a chance of clearing their name.

He was suspended in a hurry on the 12th November 2008


It was in the middle of a Huge Child Abuse Investigation

They would have got this one right ?

We will see.

I have been at this for a long time and the Napier Report could well be the end for me. If it gives the above characters a clean bill of health then i believe i am done as far as my blog goes.

If he is critical then i carry on. We are in a terrible mess , from top to bottom the Island is rotten.

What will be will be concerning the financial future of Jersey, I think this Island needs a serious dose of Hardship or a miracle in leadership.

I believe Graham Power was removed from office so the Child Abuse Investigation could be closed down.

Was it a Political Coup

If not, the Napier Report will clear all the people i have mentioned on my blog concerning this.

If he is Critical, then make no mistake we are looking at corruption of the most serious kind





Come on lets have Napier

A review of the management process that led to the suspension of the
Chief Officer of Police

1. Commissioner

The Chief Minister wishes to appoint a Commissioner to undertake a review
of the manner in which the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was
suspended from his duties on 12th November 2008. Given the length of time
that has elapsed since the Chief Officer of Police was suspended, and the
concerns raised by States Members particularly following the publication of
the Affidavit from the suspended Chief Officer of Police, the Chief Minister is
proposing to commission an independent review to assure himself and States
Members that the management of the process was conducted correctly.

2. Terms of Reference

The purpose of the Review is to –

(a) Examine the procedure employed by the Chief Minister’s Department
and the Minister for Home Affairs in the period leading up to the
suspension of the Chief Officer of Police on 12th November 2008.

(b) Review the manner in which senior officers collated the information
and presented it to the Minister for Home Affairs that ultimately led to
the suspension of the Chief Officer of Police.

(c) Investigate whether the procedure for dealing with the original
suspension was correctly followed at all times, including –

(i) the reason for the immediate suspension of the Chief Officer
of Police;

(ii) whether there were any procedural errors in managing the
suspension process.

(d) Review all information relating to the original suspension procedure,
including relevant sections of the published Affidavit from the
suspended Chief Officer of Police.

(e) The Report should highlight any areas where, in the opinion of the
Commissioner, sufficient evidence exists that would support in the
interests of open government a full Committee of Inquiry into the
manner in which the Chief Officer of Police was suspended on
12th November 2008.

3. Report

A Report should be prepared for the Chief Minister. The Commissioner must
be aware that the entire disciplinary process for the Chief Officer of Police is
conducted under his Terms and Conditions of Employment, which include a
Code of Conduct for Disciplinary Process. This Code requires confidentiality
to be maintained by all parties throughout the disciplinary process. As such,
the report should therefore be in 2 parts –

(i) Part I should consist of matters appropriate for immediate publication
to States Members and the Public;

(ii) Part II relating to those matters specific to the Chief Officer of Police
which under his Code of Conduct have to remain confidential until the
disciplinary process has been completed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Autumn Blockbuster






Before we can have a look at what went on we must go back to the beginning. We must look at what happened from September 2008 to November 12th 2008

As we move closer to the "Autumn Blockbuster" we must take a look at the starring characters.

So first up:

Chief Executive Bill Ogley


Teflon Bill has a starring role in this blockbuster. Some have been know to call him the " SHREDDER " He has been spotted on the North Coast walking his "Lapdog"TLS. Some say he could be nominated for at least 3 oscars over his starring performance in the suspension of Graham Power. Will Brian Napier do this character the justice he deserves. Anytime his performance is mentioned in the states about numerous allegations his ever faithful " Lapdog " will say, " I asked him, he said NO. "

Then Chief Minister Frank Walker


Shaft has the upper hand on the " Teflon one " he has big screen experience. Who could forget that performance on that cold windy night, so nearly landed him a Golden Globe. This is the guy who controlled the " Martini Man " more on him later. Will Brian Napier reward this man with the credit he is so clearly deserves. Like all old Actors this one wanted one last part, and to give him credit he played it to the hilt. Will Brian Napier do his role justice in this " Autumn Blockbuster "

Deputy Police Chief David Warcup


This magician can summon " INTERIM " Reports at will, handy when someone needs a suspension. Played a part in getting his Boss suspended whether intentional or not, is known to write the odd letter, had an early understanding with the teflon one and should have a starring role in this coming blockbuster by Brian Napier.

Former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis

AKA " THE MARTINI MAN " Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

Between the 10th-12th November 2008 Andrew Lewis turned into the" Martini Man " When Shaft said jump he said how high. The Martini Man was practicing his signature on any form that Shaft put in front of him. Even in the corridors of power Bravo Zero Zero over herd these two discussing the sacrificial head of Child Protector Lenny Harper. One of the many things we are looking for in this forthcoming blockbuster is the part played by the Martini Man.

Last but not Least is

Mr Critch the H.R man


MIght as well have pulled out the "Da Vinci Code" , enough said, he will feature.

Oh i almost forgot

Scot of the Antartic

Loves our lot so much he even wrote them a " SCOTT" letter.

Make no mistake the Napier report is a very serious report. The suspension of the Chief of Police is a very rare occurrence it was a huge move by the ones in power.

Graham Power was hung out to dry on his original suspension, we know this from all the documents in the public domain and from the Royal Court judgement.

He was also Shafted by Home Affairs Minister ILM just for good measure

This all happened in the Middle of a Huge Child Abuse INvestigation

This has happened because the local media have allowed it to happen

The Truth is all we want

In my opinion, I believe the children of Jersey are safer now than they have ever been, this is because of Stuart Syvret , Lenny Harper & Graham Power

For some POLITICIANS & CIVIL SERVANTS let me remind you






Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Chamber of Horrors

The way we are heading this will be the " CHILDREN'S MINISTER " Next stop "Greenfields"

So just a quick post on the latest from the " Chamber of Horrors "

So, today the beautiful rich island of Jersey declared that it cant now afford to give our young school children free milk. Yeah we are affluent we have the best of the best we are farting money we are living the" Iconic Dream ".

So there you go Kids no Milk

More on this when Hansard is out

Now we come on to £400,000 for Jersey Finance. Well what a debate that turned out to be, christ if only the members of the " Chamber of Horrors " fought for Children like they fight for this Golden Goose.

No money for Milk but always money for the finance industry. Is Jersey Finance Skint ?

Then we move on to the post of a Child Phycologist

The Child Phycologist is retiring so it is now seen as an easy saving

Again i will be waiting for Hansard so we can look at the speeches

Deputy Hilton & Senator Routier took my breath away at this stage when they said they were prepared to take a risk in axing this post

Yes, they said were prepared to take a risk

If you were worried then you back the Children until you know better. This debate left me so angry it will be coverd in more depth later

Guess how that vote went

What i found today is that our chamber is socially dead it really is

Scary Times

Team Voice will be having a very close look at the speeches and the voting


Monday, September 13, 2010

Brian Napier QC- The whole truth and then our Governments version of the truth

So the Brian Napier QC report is getting closer. I have just received the written answers to Deputy Pitmans questions. I find its getting a little strange.

So, we do know that a draft has been sent to Deputy Chief Executive John Richardson we know this because " SCOTT" letters have been sent out.
Who got one?

Former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis
DCO David Warcup " ? "
Former Chief Minister Frank Walker
Chief Executive Bill Ogley " Thats an odds on in my book"
Former "HR" Guy Mr Critch " yup"

Given that the Napier Report, that the Chief Minister hoped could be completed in six weeks, is now many months overdue and mindful that the Wiltshire Report was also more than a year overdue, cost the taxpayer a seven figure sum, yet did not result in any disciplinary proceedings, will the Chief Minister now clarify the following –
(a)                when will the Napier Report be published and be made available to Members?
(b)                upon publication will the Chief Minister ensure that States Members receive a copy in advance of the media?
(c)                will the Napier Report be published in full and not in a ‘redacted’ form?
(d)                how many draft versions of the Napier Report have been written in arriving at the final version?
(e)                has the final version been altered in any way as a result of input from those individuals receiving so-called ‘Scott letters'?
(f)                 has the Deputy of St. Martin been kept fully informed, involved and made aware of all material and developments at all stages of Mr. Napier's investigation, as was agreed when the process was set in place; and if not, why not
a)       Mr Napier advised me last week that the final report would be with me today, but so far I have not yet seen it.   Until such time as I have received and considered it I cannot give a definite date for its publication.
b)       When the report is ready for publication, I will ensure Members receive a copy before the    media.
c)       I hope to be in a position to publish the full report but until I am able to complete a thorough review of the final report I cannot give that assurance as it is only fair and reasonable that anyone named in the report having given evidence, but not directly involved in the suspension process, is given appropriate protection from any adverse publicity.
d)       I do not know how many draft versions have been produced as I have not received any draft copies of the report but I understand that a draft was produced and sent to all of those people who were involved in the suspension process where Mr Napier had comment to make on their participation.
e)       I do not know if Mr Napier has made any alterations as a result of the feedback he has received from those to whom he circulated a draft copy.
f)       The Deputy of St Martin and I have been in correspondence at various stages of the review and he has been kept aware of progress and developments.

These are some comments by VFC on his latest blog posting

"These are “unconfirmed” reports that he, along with Acting Chief Officer David Warcup have both received “Scott Letters” from Brian Napier QC as part of his, long awaited, Report. The unconfirmed reports I am getting tell me that our “powers that be” are trying to “persuade” Mr. Napier to “tone down” his criticisms of David Warcup and Andrew Lewis for the final version of his Report……..Now where has that happened before?"

"Like I said, this is all unconfirmed but if the source proves to be as good as their word (they’ve been good in the past) then I hope to have something a little more substantial very soon."

"Well if my source is correct and David Warcup has received a "Scott Letter" then where will that leave Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand? He's been trying to convince us all that the "Holy Grail" Report from Wiltshire completely vindicated David Warcup."

Interesting times ahead......

"Word has reached me from a source close to the Chief Ministers Office who says that it is quite apt that former Deputy “Andrew” Lewis should get a mention at this time."

Now, what if Brian Napier has done a proper job and lets be honest here with so much in the public domain he should have, I believe our Government have a problem.

The whole Graham Power suspension focuses on this report. This report is dealing with the original suspension, this is before the 1 million fishing trip by Wiltshire but more on that later. As we normally do on Team Voice we get in contact with the main players, we have been in contact with Brian Moore the Chief Constable of Wiltshire.

The Players named above have Suspended a Chief of Police in the middle of Huge Child Abuse Investigation

They did it when the Chief was on holiday

The Judicial Review said it had some serious flaws

Graham Power was given his first "Kangaoo Court on the morning on the 12 november 2008"

Notes where destroyed

No procedures were followed

The suspension code was written hours before as they only had the old committee one

The Players are getting a better chance than Graham Power was ever afforded

A suspended Chief of Police never returns to office

In my opinion, I believe Graham Power was removed from office so the Child Abuse investigation could be shown to be a lot of noise about nothing

The Liberation day speech of 2008 was the beginning of the cover up

If Brian Napier is a man who cant be turned or leaned apon then our Elite have a problem.
Interesting Times Indeed
Deputy Hill should have the Draft Report and the final report so we know all is above board


Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Excavation Never Stops

I have taken a step back over the past month or so concerning the Child Abuse Investigation because I have felt burnt out. It is a subject i will be picking up again as there are still so many questions that need answering.

I have been fired up again by a Jersey Blog attacking a known UK Abuse Survivor who goes by the name of Zoompad. This cancer that is alive and kicking in our Island must be stopped, why oh why does Jersey have such a problem in dealing with its past. Sometimes im just lost for words. I have seen how my Government have treated the Abuse survivors

No Apology
No Acknowledgement

I have always fought the corner of Graham Power & Lenny Harper not because Im the guardian angel of ridiculed policeman but I believe and trust that they wanted to do all they could for the Abuse Victims of Jersey. I have not seen one piece of evidence that could change my mind and please don't say "WILTSHIRE" as it was a disciplinary report that got discarded so end of story there. or is it?

We still await the Brian Napier Report

I cant wait to see how the Government and local media play this one.

I will never forget sitting in the States and watching the reaction of the likes of Dupre, Jean, Perchard,Shenton and Le Main to anybody asking a question about Child Abuse.

We have a Home Affairs Minister a former Magistrate who has held a Kangaroo Court with the full backing of the local media and 90% of our politicians and we wonder why we are having problems.

I feel like its time to get back on it

For that I thank the" Farce Blog"

Brian Napier QC do not let these Idiots ruin your reputation. You have done your report the Scott letters have been sent they will try and get you to dumb down your final report that is how it is done over here

Game on

I also thank Mr Kent for getting me back on track


The text below is a response by Rob Kent to an interesting comment by Iruka on the Planet Jersey forum. The thread subject is the 'Haut de la Garenne Farce' blog and its criticisms of Lenny Harper.

For the original Planet Jersey message this post is responding to, please see http://planetjersey.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2686.msg48049.html#msg48049.

Posted by Rob Kent, 11 September 2010, at 10:33:23 AM

@Iruka said, "Earlier in that post he [Lenny Harper] talks of his experience in investigating murders - why would he do that?"

Why would he do that? Because he was not at that point dealing with why they dug up HdlG or why the emotive term 'partial remains of a child' was used to refer to the bone fragments and teeth (I'll deal with that below). No he was defending himself against an attack by the incoming team on his character, abilities, judgement, and professional experience. Remember, Warcup, Gradwell, SOJ members, and JEP leader writers were not just saying that he chose his words badly at the time of the HdlG excavations: they were saying he was an incompetent clown who should never have been given the job in the first place. Gradwell said of him, "the best I can say about Mr. Harper is that he is a man who has difficulty in understanding basic facts."

So Lenny Harper begins that article (more than a year after the events) by dealing with the allegation that he was not professionally competent and lacked appropriate experience for handling a large and complex investigation such as HdlG. In particular, he is defending himself against the particular allegation that he was ill-equipped to deal with what, on the basis of many witness statements from victims and others, was beginning to look like a missing persons investigation. So when he talks about his track record for murder investigations in September 2009 he is merely responding to the criticism that he was not qualified to be in charge of the HdlG investigation.

It is totally wrong to retrospectively project this on to what happened in February 2008 as if he had said it then. I mean, if he had walked out before the press in Feb 2008 and said, "I have a lot of experience in murder investigations - I am the right man for this job," you would be correct to infer that he was fanning the flames and stoking up the press's appetite for a big murder investigation. But he didn't.

Before I go on to discuss his use of words and his 'press strategy', there is one really important point that everyone - critics and supporters and inbetweenies - needs to answer in their own mind: were the police right to do the excavation of HdlG? Because if you believe they were right, then the responsibility for the story spinning out of control becomes extremely difficult to lay solely in Lenny's hands or mouth.

So, do you think they were right to carry out the dig? Well I am, like you, I suspect, not an expert in police methods and decision-making. I can only go on the explanations given by Lenny Harper in various places, and on the fact that these decisions are never taken by one person alone - they are taken by teams and involve superiors and probably (I'm guessing) professional standards bodies such as ACPO. I mean, I don't suppose that Lenny Harper came into the office one morning, put his feet up on the desk, started paring his fingernails, and said to himself, "I know what I'll do this week. I will put together a team of several dozen experts from different fields, hire contractors, sniffer-dog handlers, extra police resources from the UK, and I'll dig up the grounds and cellars of HdlG."

No, I don't believe that is how it went down. I believe what Lenny says: they had multiple reports from different victims covering an extended time span of children disappearing. Multiple victims said that other children were dragged from their beds at night and never seen again. In addition to this there were other weird stories from builders who were asked to dig 'lime pits' on a Friday that were mysteriously filled in over the weekend and were covered over when they returned on the Monday. Remember these lime pits were later found.

So, for me alone, on the balance of evidence from what I have heard and knowing that a decision like that would not have been an individual one, my belief is that the police had no choice but to proceed with the excavation.

Now you and others may disagree with me on this, and in fact, Gradwell and Warcup disagree with me on this. They also disagree with Harper and Power on this, so it is not as if I am the big target. They also disagree with ACPO who oversaw and totally supported the HdlG investigation, including the excavations. So there is scope for disagreement but I am going with ACPO and the original police team.

As soon as you have an excavation like that, whether the police find anything or not, the press are all over it. There is no question about this. We see it all the time on the news. Recently in Brighton police closed off parts of two roads and totally excavated the grounds and cellars of two houses that Peter Tobin had once lived in. We had Sky helicopters overhead, cameras from the press posted outside 24 hours a day and so on. The police had to come out every day and discuss what they were doing and whether or not they had found anything. They found nothing. But if they had found several bone fragments and teeth (which may have been there from Victorian times), the story would have been even bigger than it was. As it was, it was on the main news - lunch and evening - every day for over a week. And they found exactly nothing.

What I am saying is: once the HdlG dig began, especially in the context of a long-running child abuse investigation, Jersey was in for blanket, 24-hour news, rolling bad publicity. Nothing to do with Lenny Harper's press conferences or choice of words - just the pure fact that the dig was taking place.

When the forensic archaeologists started reporting to the police that they had found human remains - a child's tibia, teeth, and other fragments of bones, what do you think the police should have done? Kept quiet about it? The UK press always find out everything when they put big resources into a story - that is an axiom. They are indefatigable. They pay informers in the police, they tap phones, they get their story. There is no way they were not going to find out that human remains had been found. And there is no way they were not going to draw their own conclusions (probably wrong ones) from that fact.

But here is where you have a valid point - did Lenny Harper go public in such a way to give the investigation so much prominence it could not be closed down by senior politicians and civil servants? I think that his answer to that has been, 'yes', on a number of occasions. And why? Because he is on record as saying that they were under great political pressure to ring-fence the investigation and limit its extent. Graham Power was present at the meeting back in 2007 where Bill Ogley said, "This could bring down the government." He was present at the meeting where the 'government within the government' colluded to remove Senator Syvret from office because he was asking embarrassing but legitimate questions about child protection issues.

The police were feeling the pressure from the AG's office who wanted to assign a lawyer inside the investigation team. They were experiencing obstructing delays in their requests to the AG's office to consider evidence against people they wanted to charge. And when they had more than enough evidence to charge certain people, they were told not to charge them by the AG's office; when they countermanded the AG's demands and went ahead and charged anyway (Wateridge), the person was found guilty, dead to rights, and imprisoned.

How do you feel that the AG told the police not charge a man who was patently guilty and later convicted? How many other people did they let off, and why? If Lenny Harper had not ignored the AG's demands, Wateridge - a paedophile and multiple abuser of multiple children - would still be walking the streets of St Helier. Are there any other Wateridges still walking around Jersey as a result of wrong and unsettling decisions by the AG's office, not to say because the whole investigation was closed down? Yes, I know it is apparently still running but all of the people brought to court so far all result from the original team's investigation - there has been no-one new charged on the basis of subsequent investigations, so far as I know.

Given that context, Lenny's press strategy may have been the correct one. Knowing that senior politicians and others wanted to close the whole thing down or at least limit it to a few minor, soft targets, such as the wardens, Lenny may have put it out into the open in a way that would give it maximum publicity and could not be easily dispensed with. You'd have to ask him that exact question.

Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Maybe he chose his words carefully, or maybe they were unwise, but if anyone thinks that Jersey did not have a massive scandal on its hands that was 'bad for the image of the island', they are in denial of the facts. A long running child abuse investigation involving several States-run institutions; the removal from office of a senior politician; an excavation in a former children's home that was part of the abuse investigation; the discovery of human bone fragments. If Lenny Harper had not even been present in the investigation, Jersey would still have been front page news around the world.

So how else could they have done it? I think you need to look back in time to see a good a precedent: they didn't do it. Children were being abused in States of Jersey institutions - although horrible, this is not unique to Jersey and not specially shaming. It was the same as many other institutional abuse cases, from Kincorra, Wales, Northumbria, Islington, Casa Pia in Portugal, the Catholic church, public schools - just about everywhere adults have power over children and are shielded by institutional power structures from outside observation.

So Jersey is not unique in this. But prior to the Harper and Power investigation, the voices of the victims were not listened to: they were simply not believed. Children who were being abused and tried to report it to officials, the police or other adults, were not only ignored - they were ridiculed and sent back to the care of their abusers. Sometimes they were even told that if they carried on repeating their accusations, they would be certified as insane and sent to St Saviour's hospital. Children who ran away and tried to escape the island were hunted down and brought back (I know one of them). Nobody in authority - specifically the Jersey police - believed them. They were powerless.

But I would like to qualify the statement that they were not believed. I think they were believed, but nobody wanted to hear what they were saying, so they pretended to be deaf. And you know what I think, there is a large body of people in Jersey - mostly in authority, but also in the general public - who would prefer that deafness to the cries of the children who have been savagely abused and had their life prospects and happiness damaged as a result of what was done to them. I mean people who are now aged fifty and sixty who still wake from nightmares and see their abusers in their dreams.

Can you even imagine that, you comfy, smug bastards on the Farce blog? You abuse deniers. Who are so brave and big that you ridicule, impersonate and take the piss out of a woman who was a victim of incest, sent to a children's home at thirteen where children were being drugged and sexually abused; when she rebelled, she was declared insane and sent to a psychiatric hospital. At thirteen. And you are taking the piss out of her. Nice people.

"But a dungeon like a sin
Requires naught but lockin' in
Of everything that's ever been
Look at her,
Look at him.
That's what's the deal we're dealing in
That's what's the deal we're dealing in
That's what's the deal we're dealing in
That's what's the deal we're dealing in...
The torture never stops."

The Torture Never Stops

Monday, September 6, 2010

0/10 & Proposition P.41/2004

I thought I would take a look at a Proposition brought to the States of Jersey by the former Senator Stuart Syvret.

This Proposition was P.41 /2004 and was titled TAXATION POLICES: A TRANSPARENT ENQUIRY It was lodged at the Greffe on the 9th March 2009

This whole 0/10 issue is being looked at but i find it all a bit complicated.

It would be interesting looking at Mr Syvret's proposition and seeing if he was right on any of the issues discussed.

I know there are people who have a very good take on this 0/10 business and i would appreciate some useful comments but please no Farce Blog style comments because it happens to be Stuart Syvet.

We are now a further 6yrs down the line and has our Government been taking care of business and protecting Jerseys best interests ?

I will leave it for the experts if you would like to comment and help the readers of this blog on a very important issue


Lodged au Greffe on 9th March 2004
by Senator S. Syvret

THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion -
            that before asking the States to consider its taxation proposals the Finance and Economics Committee be required, in co-operation with other Committees of the States and States members, to undertake a transparent enquiry into the taxation policies of the Island, and specifically –
            (a)        to commission and make available to all States members an independent risk assessment of the Committee’s tax proposals with particular reference, but not limited to, the likely acceptability of the proposed rate of 0% corporation tax to the European Union and the OECD over the medium and long term;
            (b)        in co-operation with other Committees of the States to investigate and report upon the likely social and economic impacts of the taxation proposals contained in the Finance and Economics Committee document “Facing up to the Future”, with particular reference, but not limited to, the effects upon –
                        (i)         individuals and families across both income and wealth spectrums,
                        (ii)        the cost of living in the Island,
                        (iii)       the labour market and employment trends,
                        (iv)       local businesses,
                        (v)        population trends,
                        (vi)       States’ income,
                        (vii)      the provision of services by the States, and the likely future role of ‘user pays charges’;
            (c)        to produce and publish a strategic analysis of the risks, effects, opportunities and economic alternatives faced by the Island in a potential post-financial services industry future, such analysis to include positive strategic proposals for the community should such an outcome occur;
            (d)        to produce and make available to all States members a list of all reports, advisory notes and analysis produced either in whole or in part at public expense, concerning taxation and economic issues during the last 10 years;
            (e)        to produce and publish a plain English description of all tax planning/avoidance mechanisms and devices available under the present taxation regime, such description to include, as far as possible, an estimate of the tax foregone;
            (f)        to produce and publish a plain English description of all tax planning/avoidance mechanisms and devices that might be available under the proposed regime, such description to include, as far as possible, an estimate of the tax potentially foregone;
            (g)        to produce and publish a detailed examination of the opportunities for applying wealth taxes, including, but not limited to, capital gains tax;
            (h)        to produce and publish a detailed analysis of the fiscal impacts and opportunities presented by the Island’s accommodation industry, such analysis to include –
                        (i)         a detailed consideration of the flow of public money into the accommodation industry,
                        (ii)        a detailed description of the tax planning/avoidance mechanisms available to and furnished by the accommodation industry, such description to include, as far as possible, an estimate of the amount of tax revenue foregone in unlimited interest tax relief to activity within the accommodation industry,
                        (iii)       a detailed examination of the opportunities for applying capital gains tax to the accommodation industry,
                        (iv)       a detailed examination of the opportunities for applying development taxation to the accommodation industry,
                        (v)        a detailed examination of the opportunities for applying commercial property taxes to the accommodation industry, and such examination to take into consideration potential reforms to the parish rates system,
                        (vi)       a detailed examination of the opportunities for applying a Land Valuation Tax, and such examination to take into consideration potential reforms to the parish rates system;
            (i)         to produce and publish a detailed examination of the opportunities and effects of potential taxes and charges upon the labour market, such examination to include, but not be limited to –
                        (i)         payroll taxes upon employers, taking into account potential sectoral variations,
                        (ii)        a training levy, taking into account potential sectoral variations,
                        with such examination to include the potential reform of the Social Security system;
            (j)         to produce and publish a detailed examination of the opportunities and effects of introducing sectoral taxes, such examination to include, but not be limited to, utility taxes;
            (k)        to produce and publish a detailed examination of the potential opportunities and effects of environmental taxation;
            (l)         to produce and publish, on the basis of both existing information and information produced as a result of the above proposals, a full menu of all taxation options to facilitate informed public debate.

From time to time political discourse in the Island is gripped by issues that seem of great significance at the time. Occasionally the subject may be a single issue, the apparent significance of which can quickly fade. With other subjects, the issue may be of more lasting importance to the community; the process of reforming our system of government may fall into this category. Yet even that subject, consuming as it has vast amounts of political time and effort, almost pales into insignificance compared to the future of the Island’s economy.
The security and confidence people have in their lives, for their families and subsequent generations, depends upon their financial security, which in turn depends upon the economy. This is certainly reflected in public interest. Few subjects can ignite impassioned public concern as surely as matters of money.
Since the publication of the report of the Finance and Economics Committee, and the accompanying report by consultants, ‘OXERA’, I have discussed tax and spend issues with people from all parts of the community – parents, students, professionals pensioners, working people from all walks of life. What I have found most striking when speaking with people is their shared perception – admittedly expressed in different ways – that we, that is the States and the broader community, don’t fully understand the issues; we don’t really know what is happening and we’re not in a position to take a sober look at all of the possibilities facing the community. And that perception is accurate.
I have spoken to people working in the finance industry, all of whom have expressed some degree of concern at what is being proposed, sometimes for differing reasons. Virtually all of these conversations have involved people asking me what I – and my fellow States members – make of x or y possibility? What do we think of doing A versus B? What analysis has been undertaken into this or that scenario?
The shocking truth is that I, along with most other States members, am simply in a state of virtual ignorance when confronted with these types of hard questions which go to the very heart of the future of our community – its ability to survive economically.
Can it be acceptable that, when making the most significant changes to Jersey’s tax structure since the introduction of income tax in 1928, most members of our government, upon whom our community are depending to make the right choices, could not honestly begin to speak in an informed way about most of the issues raised in this proposition or the Finance and Economics Committee’s proposals? It is not acceptable.
The extensive proposition above represents an amalgam of the ideas, fears, questions and concerns put to me by Islanders over recent weeks, as well as some thoughts of my own. It will perhaps be argued that the tasks required by the proposition are extensive and perhaps therefore too demanding. It simply cannot be so. Surely much detailed work relating to the very questions posed in the proposition must have already been undertaken? How else can such a narrow set of proposals as the preferred option of the Finance and Economics Committee be so confidently espoused, if not from a position of great knowledge? If these questions and issues can occur to many people from all parts of our community, the Island’s government cannot continue without addressing them. To do so would be to willingly embrace a state of ignorance whilst making the most important decisions faced by the community for many decades. We cannot proceed on that basis. The proposition requires the Finance and Economics Committee to work on these tasks in co-operation with other States Committees and States members. Only by embracing such teamwork and co-operation can we fully address this major challenge.
I address each part of the proposition below.
(a)        A RISK ANALYSIS
There is no evidence in the furnished documentation that a detailed risk analysis has been undertaken. Have representatives of Jersey sat down with representatives of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and spoken with them? Have we put our proposed 0%/10% structure before them and asked if it is likely to satisfy them in the medium and long-term? We know from recent communications that representatives of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have been in detailed negotiations with the E.U. Commission’s legal advisers concerning the status of Protocol 3 in the context of the proposed new European Constitution. If this type of detailed negotiation can give us long-term security as far as our present Protocol 3 rights are concerned, has there been a similar negotiating process concerning 0%/10%? If so, what was the outcome? What is the long-term prognosis? If such negotiation has not taken place, why not?
It seems essential that the European Union must accept that it meets their requirements that a Jersey company owned by a Jersey person be taxed differently from a Jersey company owned by a non-Jersey person. If the E.U. does not accept this position – then the entire scheme falls flat on its face. After all what’s really the difference between these proposals and that which prevails now, when Jersey people pay more tax on Jersey companies than non-Jersey people do?
Having spoken to people in the finance industry, the more optimistic of them imagine that the 0%/10% proposals will keep the wolves of external pressure from our door for up to 10 years. The less optimistic give it 5 years. Where is the risk analysis? There is a real risk that growing international pressure upon what are claimed to be “harmful tax practices” will eventually dramatically reduce the scope and scale of the finance sector. The Democratic candidate for President of the United States, Senator John Kerry, has publicly promised to crack down on Britain’s tax havens. The Massachusetts Senator is known to take a tough line on ‘offshore’ activities, promising to tackle the British overseas dependant territories of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands within 500 days of taking office. Whilst some may not perceive this as a particular threat – at this time – to the Crown Dependencies, the international trend is plain.
And what are we to make of the supposed “20% means 20%” rule robustly espoused by the documents in certain sections, when other sections freely accept that “20% means 20%” won’t be the deal faced by the particularly wealthy with their negotiated settlement arrangements? What are professional individuals and couples who will be dramatically hit by the proposals to make of this outcome? What risk assessment has been made of the social and labour market impacts? Will it be the case that those hit by the “20% means 20%” rule will leave the Island, or is it in fact anticipated that the rule can be avoided in order to keep those key people whose services are essential?
What of the impact of the regressive and inflationary nature of many of the proposals? Already high-street prices are generally higher than the Isle of Man, and they have a 17.5% VAT rate. Has recent research been done as to why our prices are so much higher? If not, why not? Even if it were proven that the Island’s market could in fact absorb some form of sales tax, would not its introduction have to wait until the Competition Law had been introduced and its capacity to reduce prices had been observed and proven?
Given that inflation has long been acknowledged as a significant problem in Jersey there is every likelihood that the introduction of a sales tax will have a higher inflationary impact than indicated in the reports. No attempt appears to have been made to accurately assess the cost burden upon small businesses of the introduction of a sales tax. It is important to recognise that a General Sales Tax (GST) is not the same as VAT. As a consequence it could really increase costs for local businesses. Nor does there seem to be any serious appraisal of the costs of administering this tax both by the States and by business, to determine whether a 5% rate would actually contribute serious revenue, and at what cost, to the States.
Nor has any serious attempt been made to analyse the impact of the introduction of such a tax upon the Tourism industry which has already been decimated by, amongst other factors, inflationary pressure in Jersey, making the Island an expensive destination. Given this impact, how seriously are we to take the asserted wish to broaden the economic base of the Island? This is without even considering the highly regressive nature of many of the proposals and the consequent impact upon ordinary people. This last point has to be of particular concern, given that we already face central London living costs, and it is simply impossible to guarantee that – once the psychological barrier of introducing such a tax has been overcome – we will not eventually find ourselves with a 17.5% rate, matching that of the U.K., just like the Isle of Man.
Given there are a variety of down-sides to the proposals, surely the least we must demand is a thorough risk-analysis which assesses whether the measures have any likelihood of actually working in the long-run?
The preferred option of the Finance and Economics Committee would clearly have a number of very significant impacts. Some of these may be obvious; others less so. Would it really be acceptable for the Island’s government to agree to the introduction of such dramatic changes in its tax policies without an analysis of the impacts and effects of such policy changes – especially as many of them will be irreversible?
Much add-hoc analysis and comment from different quarters has already identified some of the likely impacts and effects, but we cannot rely for guidance on this most important of subjects upon fragmented, individual attempts to assess specific effects. The community of Jersey already faces central London living costs – and these are inescapable in an island environment where we cannot commute to a cheaper region. What effect will the regressive nature of these proposals have upon the less well-off in our community? Economically, how many more expensive state interventions will be required to enable ordinary working people to simply live in their Island?
The issue is clear; a variety of effects and impacts will flow from these – and in fairness, any other – significant changes to our tax structure. The Island’s government simply has no choice other than to assess and quantify as far as possible the consequences of such policy changes.
Whatever the future may actually hold, there is clearly a very real risk that the financial services industry could cease to be a significant part of the Island’s economy. Even some people in the industry will privately acknowledge that its days may be numbered. There are several, clearly identifiable factors that could drive ‘offshore’ to near extinction as far as Jersey is concerned.
The most well-known of these is external pressure at a national or international level. The Island has been extensively criticised in the past by authorities in other jurisdictions for allegedly facilitating money-laundering. Whilst the Island does now co-operate on this matter with other authorities, and has had in place for some time now ‘all crimes money laundering legislation’, still external criticism and pressure remains, for new reasons. Now the target is “harmful tax practices”. The OECD and the European Union have both demonstrated their hostility to what they perceive as “harmful tax competition”. A major factor in driving the 0%/10% proposals has been the need to attempt to satisfy the E.U. requirement of equal treatment of resident and non-resident entities. However, as explained previously, there is a very real possibility that the 0%/10% proposal will not placate the E.U. Indeed, it seems likely that the only reason the 0%/10% proposal could be said to ‘legally’ meet the E.U. requirement is poor drafting and lack of foresight on the part of the E.U. team who prepared their position document. Let us be clear; the objective of the government forces behind the E.U. pressure is to stop what they perceive to be a haemorrhaging of tax revenue to offshore jurisdictions. They are most unlikely to forego this objective simply because of some legalistic jiggery-pokery on the part of the Crown Dependencies.
Competition with other jurisdictions could render the whole exercise futile. We are already engaged in a race to the bottom with Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Competing against other jurisdictions on this basis is clearly a game that none of the communities can win. Where does the concept of tax competition end? How are we to know that 0% will satisfy our clients? How long before the “look through” provision seems excessive in terms of ‘operating costs’ in comparison to other jurisdictions? It can only be remarked that it is quite extraordinary and bizarre that there appears to have been no attempt by the ruling elites in any of the 3 Crown Dependencies to engage in a non-competition treaty or convention. The 0% race to the bottom can clearly have only one outcome and that is economic harm to the 3 communities, greater social hardship, a significantly greater transfer of the tax burden on to the shoulders of ordinary people – and, of course, a significant reduction in real tax-take from Island businesses, and the elites who own them due to greatly increased opportunities for tax planning. Though, naturally, this last outcome is purely co-incidental.
Another factor that must be faced is the growing international influence of anti-offshore campaigns. A number of highly respected NGOs are now openly critical of ‘offshore’ facilitated tax avoidance. For example OXFAM has produced an extensive report identifying a vast cash loss from developing countries to offshore centres. They claim that the ability of corporations and corrupt elites to use offshore to “launder profits” is contributing dramatically to the plight of the world’s poor. This pressure can only grow as it is not only an issue to developing countries. With aging populations and ever more costly social infrastructure, developed nation states are increasingly aware of the need to capture tax revenue for their own populations, especially when having to contend with an international trend to lower taxes due to the mobility of capital and globalisation. It may simply be the case that nations and blocs such as the E.U. will simply have no choice other than to shut out of the game small jurisdictions that specialise in tax avoidance. And no matter how much we may correctly protest that they’re not applying a level playing field, they are unlikely to be deflected. We can get some measure of the growing international hostility to offshore from the fact that the Democratic candidate in the U.S. Presidential elections John Kerry, has made anti-offshore commitments as part of his election platform.
When considered in this light the 0%/10% proposals look more and more like a short-term palliative measure and less and less like the required structural re-configuration of the Island’s tax structure. If there is a real risk of the 0%/10% proposals doing little more than buying us a few years’ breathing space, have we attached sufficient weight to the downside of the proposals? Have we taken a robust enough view of the possible alternatives? Especially when such alternatives may prove longer lived?
Extremely unpalatable as it may be, we simply cannot ignore a possible future without the financial services industry. What would such a loss mean to the community? What would be its impact? How would we pick up the pieces? How would we move on? Quite obviously, the foundation of the Island’s economy is the financial services sector, if that sector were to go, the resultant significant unemployment would lead to emigration and a crash in the accommodation industry, the second tier of the Island’s economy.
So what is of particular importance is the question of what we can do now – whilst the going is good – to prepare, whilst we can, for what may be an economic meltdown, and to perhaps adopt policies in the present, that will ameliorate some of the harm.
It is the purported aim of the Finance and Economics Committee to broaden the economic base of the Island. We must ask how serious an objective this is when the tax proposals seem geared entirely to the interest of wealth-holders, the finance sector and big businesses, and to be actually regressive and harmful to the concerns of small businesses and grass-roots entrepreneurship. The policies advocated by the Finance and Economics and Policy and Resources Committees would actually be counter-productive and damaging to the Island’s post ‘offshore’ opportunities and chances. Our culture, our quality of life, our heritage, our environment – the beauty of our Island, will be further damaged and eroded by these short-term ‘cash in while we can’ policies. The more our unique selling points are eroded the less likely we will be able to build a future based upon tourism, culture, arts, our environment, agriculture, international events and festivals and education. If we do not both finally arrest the damage being done to the Island, and begin to gather wealth from capital rich activities in the Island to invest in our future, we will clearly be acting against the interests of our community beyond the next decade.
Real opportunities exist for real economic diversification, if only our elites would accept it. The recently published ‘Draft Culture Strategy’, an excellent, bold and imaginative document, states at one point –
            “The Finance Industry. This is suffering turbulence post 9/11 and as a result of the ending of the dot com boom. The faltering of the industry, and its subsequent rationalisation, has led to decreasing sponsorship for cultural activities. The contraction of the industry and the recognition of the over-dependence of the Island on this one sector, provides the opportunity for the development of the commercial creative industries. For the near future, these are likely to be small scale but will help to diversify the Island’s economy. They will also attract other business sectors.” (My emphasis)
Should not our policies be geared, at least in part, towards developing this kind of future for the Island? Another sector we must consider is the development of a Jersey University. Yes, at present this may seem a distant objective. It would require dramatic investment, expert strategic development and the development of St. Helier as a ‘campus town’. These developments would require an influx of staff and students, which at present may appear problematic from a population perspective – but if we find ourselves experiencing a population decline in the event of a serious contraction of the financial services sector, we may be extremely glad of such an avenue of replacement. With the attractiveness of the Island, its weather, its beaches and nightlife, Jersey could become an extremely attractive destination for a couple of thousand students to spend 3 or 4 years doing their higher education. The development of Jersey University would of course generate a significant range of other business opportunities in the Island.
I looked around the States Chamber during a recent Sitting and asked myself ‘of the 53 members – the people whom have the responsibility of making these most vital decisions on behalf of our community, how many of us will be fully informed? How many States members will have undertaken detailed study of the research prepared at public expense by our departments? Come the day of debate, how many of us will be able to pronounce on these issues with anything approaching real authority and understanding?’ The answer to this question is terrifying.
The plain fact is that most States members have been, either by accident or design, kept out of informed involvement in the policy formulation process. Private individuals from within the finance industry have been given privileged access to the policy formulation process in a group known as FISBAG, in ways that exceed the involvement of most of the public’s elected representatives, who, by way of contrast, receive the occasional PowerPoint lecture.
I have no expertise in this field. I have limited knowledge and I have had little success in gaining unencumbered access to all of the information – despite repeated requests. Yet I get the impression that my understanding of these issues, limited though it is, exceeds that of a majority of our elected representatives. Yet I, if asked for an honest appraisal of my understanding of these subjects, would have to admit it is extremely limited. Can we rush into these decisions without making some effort to ensure we are as informed as possible? Simply, the answer is no. Frankly, a vote against these proposals is a vote for ignorance; a vote for blind paternalism and a vote for ill-informed and incompetent government.
It is probably fair to say that the Island’s economy, its tax and spend policies – and the consequent impact upon the lives of people are the most important political issues the Island has faced for many decades. The present attempt to address our taxation policies represents the most significant change in Island tax law since the introduction of income tax in 1928.
Given that those of us who profess to govern the Island do not possess a party political mandate for a particular set of policies, informed public consent for major policy changes is to be greatly desired. Accepting that, the present process embarked upon by the Finance and Economics Committee is manifestly woefully inadequate. How can the community be meaningfully engaged in an informed debate concerning taxation options when most ordinary people have no or little knowledge of the variety of tax planning and avoidance devices that are available to, and commonly used by, people in different wealth brackets to avoid taxation? How many people understand whether different tax planning and avoidance opportunities are available to partners in a partnership as opposed to employees? Should we not have some quantification of how much tax has been foregone by the States over the decades through our previous – and frankly disgraceful – acceptance of the “boundless” opportunities to avoid tax available to company directors? Many of these devices may well be important to the Island’s economy. That might be so, but we must at least have an informed discussion concerning them. Simply asserting that we don’t want to look under that particular rock because the rich may leave, just won’t wash anymore. Ordinary people are leaving Jersey simply because they can’t afford to live here.
Publication of information on known current tax planning and avoidance mechanisms and devices, possible abuses of such, and a quantification of their impact is, and must be, an inescapable prerequisite of informed debate.
The furnished reports suggest that Jersey companies should be subject to 0% corporate tax rate in future. This proposal dramatically intervenes in the relationship between corporate profits and salary payments and immediately suggests that people will wish to retain profits in companies for two reasons –
            1:          The tax on profits will be lower than the tax on salaries paid to owners.
            2:          There is incentive to keep profit in the company and then sell it, heavily laden with cash, to realise an apparent capital gain which will actually represent accrued income but which will be deferred income in all but name.
OXERA and the Finance and Economics Committee imagine they have got around this problem by proposing that for companies owned by Jersey resident people the income of the company will be added to the earnings of the shareholders and will be taxed as if it is part of their income. On the face of it this seems – at best – an extremely naive proposal given the fact that the existing tax structure leaks like a colander so we need not strain very hard to imagine that any new opportunity to avoid tax will be used maximally. The opportunity these proposals create for tax “planning” seem enormous.
It is feasible that the potential tax loss from the scheme could be very dramatic. Maybe £40 million of income tax could be lost to the States a year by reason of local Jersey companies and wealthy families transferring their ownership into offshore discretionary trusts in other jurisdictions and by then using various, quite easily conceivable schemes to convert income into capital gains, which when remitted to Jersey would be tax-free. In this way the entire proposed arrangement for adding income of companies to that of their owners could be avoided.
It’s worse than that though. The self-employed are paying £40 million of tax a year according to the 2004 budget and they might see that by incorporating their businesses and going offshore using the devices available in other jurisdictions, they too could save substantial amounts of tax. This added to the possible £40 million company loss brings the total possible tax planning loss to £80 million a year. And this, I stress is on top of the £100 million a year already foregone.
Of course it can be argued that the de facto owners of these companies will need something to live on so the trusts that own the shares in what used to be their companies will now have to pay them something. Under the Jersey tax code this might mean recipients are taxable on that payment in Jersey. This is true, but only partially so. Because Jersey does not have a capital gains tax, if the trust generates a capital gain, and the distribution from the trust is structured in the form of capital, it would not be liable for tax in Jersey.
It is quite possible to envisage other scenarios. Jurisdictions which have lower, or even 0% rates of personal taxation, could suddenly find themselves doing a roaring trade in welcoming expatriates from Jersey. The erstwhile Jersey resident company-owner will be paying tax – if paying anything – in their new host jurisdiction while their company pays 0% in Jersey. It is said that only death and taxes are inescapable. Well, we seem to be defeating the tax part of that equation.
I, in common with most States members, am no expert on taxation. But we have the responsibility to make these profound decisions on behalf of our community. It would be the grossest irresponsibility to make these decisions in a state of ignorance. Before the new tax regime is agreed, we must avoid the mistakes of the past and be aware of every tax planning and avoidance device and mechanism that may be available under the new proposals.
The Finance and Economics Committee document asserts that “A general wealth tax or capital gains tax would not be consistent with Jersey’s position as a location for international financial services, and could seriously harm Jersey’s international reputation.”. This assertion rings extremely hollow, in the light of the fact that it is accepted international practice to have a different capital gains tax regime depending upon resident or non-resident status. Thus the E.U. requirement for equal tax treatment for localised -v- non-localised clients simply would not apply. When considered in this light, a carefully structured capital tax regime could appear to be an attractive option given the current international pressure on the Island. Clients of the Island’s financial services industry could continue to receive a competitive treatment, whilst capital gains made by on-Island individuals and entities would attract the relevant tax – this being entirely consistent with international practice – though obviously this policy would be much less attractive to local business and land-owning elites. Such a policy may require some anti-avoidance legislation to capture the local tax, but probably a good deal less than the 0%/10% proposal. Indeed, in respect of capital gain made in the highly developed local accommodation industry it would probably be difficult to avoid if some changes were made to the rules governing property ownership. I personally would not favour a capital gains tax on profit made on the sale of the principle place of residence, although such a tax upon the residences of the super-rich may be a good way of ensuring they contribute more to society. But we need not go as far as capital taxing ordinary households in any event. There is quite clearly so much speculative and commercial property transaction in the Island that a capital tax on this activity may, by itself, become a highly useful component in the Island’s tax system.
I am happy to concede that, as a non-expert in these matters, there may be reasons why the suggestions above may not be so easy to apply. I can, however, be absolutely certain of this much: The glib dismissal of such an approach in 4 paragraphs, after at least 3 years’ work, simply won’t wash.
Could it be that the hostility to wealth and capital taxes has, in fact, more to do with local elites than the harsh fiscal reality facing the community? Let’s face it, if you happen to be in the fortunate position of having a significant wealth stream – let’s not call it ‘income’ for the avoidance of confusion – and you ask an accountant to minimise your tax burden, one of the first things they will do is engineer your affairs so that the wealth stream becomes just that – not income – but instead a capital accrual and – hey presto! No tax liability because we don’t have capital gains tax in Jersey. These types of capital accrual opportunities have, incidentally, been readily furnished by the Island’s accommodation industry over the decades.
Avoiding tax by finding ways of rolling up income into a capital gain has long been the ‘Great Game’ of tax avoidance in Jersey. There are a large number of ‘wealth-holders’ in Jersey (the wealthy immigrant 1(1)(k)s are, frankly, merely the tip of an iceberg and the pressure on 1(1)(k)s is simply to not do what the existing local rich do). The majority of these wealth-holders [company owners, landlords, significant property owners, professional classes with saved wealth] will have arranged their affairs to maximise (untaxed) capital gain and minimise (taxed) income. In the complete absence of any, even slight attempt to tax this wealth gain, any talk of the proposals of the Finance and Economics Committee being balanced or fair can be seen for the transparent nonsense that it is. Take for example the graph ‘Figure 1’ on page 6 of the Finance and Economics Committee report. The accompanying caption states: “The above chart indicates that only around 10% of household income is available to tax above a (gross) household income threshold of £80,000. As a result, tax measures that are exclusively aimed at households with high incomes do not yield particularly large amounts of tax revenue. The Committee has taken income distribution into account in formulating its preferred option.” It is important to note here the very particular use of the phrase “income available to tax”. What if we were, for the purposes of this exercise, to substitute the word “wealth”, or perhaps “capital accrual” or perhaps “wealth stream not available to tax under the present regime”? If we then considered that in fact under new measures that did bring these wealth streams into a category available to tax, aimed at households with high “wealth” or “wealth streams”, might we then get a rather different picture of possible taxation options?
There is another – altogether less palatable – yet profoundly important reason why the Island must embrace some form of wealth and capital taxes whilst it still can.
The Island’s economy is virtually entirely dependant upon the foundation of the financial services industry. Most of the remaining successful economic activity in the Island grows from it. Without its money in the Island’s economy there would be precious few jobs, hence an exodus of people, a collapse in the property market, and a similar collapse in most other aspects of significant economic activity. Such is the level of dependency upon the financial services industry, that if its scope and scale were to be dramatically reduced in the future, or even if it were to be shut down completely, the Island would undergo complete economic meltdown.
It is to be greatly hoped that such a scenario does not occur; but if it did? What does the Island of Jersey have to show for the ‘gold-rush’ years by way of an ‘insurance policy’? A strategic reserve that would struggle to keep essential services running for one year. It has been speculated, by people with knowledge of the industry, that it may have 10 years left; at least in its present, significant form. The Island’s government must, as an insurance policy, be seeking to secure more tax income now, whilst the opportunity still exists. It has been suggested to me that businesses and individuals with capital assets in the Island, such as significant companies and/or property, will seek to, as it were, “cash their chips” in the form of capital gain generating sales of assets, now, whilst the ‘going is still good’. Indeed, it has been suggested to me that that process has already begun. If people with their finger on the pulse of business in the Island are starting to speak privately in this way, surely the time is now, that the States must introduce at least some form of capital tax. As stated earlier, it is to be hoped that such a scenario does not materialise. But should there be only comparatively few years left of “boom time”, the Island’s government has a duty to secure an appropriate tax-take from what may be a significant cashing-in on capital assets in the Island. Should the financial services industry go, the community would need a significantly larger reserve than that presently available to enable us to cushion the blow. Should the States sit back and watch a potential tax income stream pass by in a welter of private capital gain in the next decade, knowing that times may become much harder for the Island’s people?
The proposals of the Finance and Economics Committee have been described to me by one Jersey Accountant as “A smash-and-grab raid. Pure and simple. These policies have been designed to suit the local rich. The supposed capturing through personal tax on the owners, of the money lost to the 0% has got to be a joke, it’ll be so easy to avoid. And no capital gains tax? Well, there’s a surprise!”
The attitude of the States to the Island’s accommodation industry has been akin to a person finding an elephant in a friend’s sitting-room but only making polite conversation about their choice of curtains. Quite obviously the foundation of our modern wealth is the financial services industry. And just as obviously, the second major area of economic activity in the Island is the accommodation industry – land ownership, rentier wealth and income, property investment and speculation, development activities, the construction industry, associated mercantile businesses, maintenance industries, property financing, conveyancing, the sale and purchase of residential accommodation, the residential rental property market, the sale and purchase of commercial accommodation, the commercial rental and leasehold property market. It is quite possible that the total economic value of activity in this sector taken as a whole over the last few decades runs to billions of pounds – and yet the Island’s government has never approached it as a distinctive taxable entity in this way, preferring to pretend that it doesn’t exist. How great might our reserves be if we had a sensible tax policy in respect of the accommodation industry? How much have we lost? Is it in fact the case that the Island has simply been used as a piece of money-making apparatus in the last few decades, with precious little regard for the community’s long-term security?
No analysis of the Island’s economy and its taxation policies can have any claim to be taken seriously if it ignores the accommodation industry – as the furnished documents virtually have. The Finance and Economics Committee document ‘Facing up to the Future’ which Orwellianly does the opposite, devotes how much analysis to the accommodation industry? In just one paragraph on pages 8/9 it dismisses capital gains tax and property taxes – and that is all the attention it gets.
The OXERA report in 3 paragraphs beginning on page 16 dismisses wealth taxes such as capital gains and property taxes without further discussion. That is obviously a wholly inadequate consideration of such an important issue when the entire economy of the whole Island is under review.
The Island’s government is about to make the most significant changes in our taxation policies since income tax was introduced in 1928 – and the consideration given to the second largest sector of economic activity in the Island amounts to a total of 4 dismissive paragraphs. This is simply not acceptable.
This part of the proposition and its sub-paragraphs seeks to enable us to develop an understanding of the Island’s accommodation industry. Dramatic amounts of public money, principally private sector rent rebate, flow from taxpayers into the pockets of landlords. There will be other ways by which the state subsidises the industry, for example the below-cost provision of state services such as building control and planning.
The States must at last engage in a full analysis of how its taxation laws and other policies interact with the accommodation industry. At present we grant unlimited interest tax relief on all commercial borrowings. Whilst this may be common practice in other jurisdictions, certain special circumstances may apply in Jersey. For example, the state providing an artificial subsidy, which is what this provision amounts to, is inflationary, indeed highly inflationary in a market such as Jersey’s. We have recently decided to cap mortgage interest tax relief availability to home-purchasers. Yet, if you are buying to let, which is effectively engaging in a commercial venture, and which will always be inflationary in the context of Jersey’s current market – you will still have unlimited interest tax relief available upon your commercial borrowings. At the very least we should make some attempt to assess just how much potential tax take the States is forgoing through its policy of subsidising and fuelling highly inflationary property speculation.
There can be little doubt that dramatic capital gains are made by the Jersey accommodation industry. It is only by the making of such gains that prices can have reached their current levels. Furthermore due to tax planning/avoidance mechanisms it is frequently possible for the industry to accrue its wealth in the form of capital gains which we do not tax in Jersey. Have we even attempted to assess how much capital gain is made in the accommodation industry? It is likely that by not having a capital gain tax, perhaps specifically in the form of a property development or transaction tax, the States is forgoing many millions of pounds a year which we could be raising from speculative activity in the second major part of our economy, the accommodation industry. Instead, the Finance and Economics Committee would have us try and raise millions of pounds through regressive measures like GST raised upon the less well-off members of our community.
The documents furnished by the Finance and Economics Committee are blithely contemptuous in their dismissal of the concept of commercial property taxes or Land Valuation Taxes. Yet, as already pointed out, the accommodation industry is the second major sector of economic activity in the Island. The obvious great economic value of this sector must require that the Island’s government at least examine its taxation potential thoroughly. The decision of the Finance and Economics Committee to virtually ignore this possibility is simply mystifying when one considers the great difficulty in avoiding or evading such taxes, and the comparative simplicity with which they could be raised in comparison with the extreme range of anti-avoidance legislation likely to be needed to prevent the 0%/10% policy haemorrhaging potential tax-take.
The Finance and Economics Committee and the Policy and Resources Committee appear to favour “growing” the economy or “expanding” the economy. This, we are told, is the answer to our problems. This is of course code for expanding the population. Essentially, business as usual. More of the same approach that has been the de facto policy of the States for the last 3 decades. If that policy has brought us to where we are now, why should it work any better in the future? The answer is of course that it won’t if we have the same labour market conditions. If – and it is a significant if – we must expand population to stimulate the economy, we must at least ensure that we take any opportunity to consider the fiscal impacts and opportunities presented by the labour market. Expanding the population has meant a greater demand for state services such as education, health and housing. A significantly increasing population has a financial cost and a significant environmental impact; traffic congestion, waste disposal and development of the countryside, to name but a few. Will we need another reservoir; another land reclamation site? The impacts of economic expansion simply through growing the population are clear to see; this has, after all been the undeclared policy of the States for some decades. If we must go down this path, we must ensure that every possible opportunity has been explored for payroll taxes, training levies, sectoral taxes and variably applying rates of social security charges. We must require this sector to internalise what are at present “externalities” – the on-costs to the Island.
If we do not take the obvious opportunity to make the labour market work for the community we will simply be repeating the failed policies of the past. Of course, simply growing the population will indeed work, as it has done hitherto, for the short-term self-interests of the Island’s business and rentier elites. A regular inflow of people means a regular supply of cheaper labour for your business; it means a regular stream of tenants for your extortionately priced lodging houses; inflation in the property market to maintain to your advantage over purchasers and tenants; a never-sated demand for new housing land, so you will continue to be able to look forward to a fat lump of capital when that farm land you own is re-zoned for housing development; and generally an increasing supply of customers for your shops, pubs and clubs. Whilst such a policy is clearly extremely beneficial in terms of short-term self-interest if you happen to be a landlord, property-owner, shop-proprietor, or local business shareholder, it has not, as presently managed, brought medium and long-term economic security for the community as a whole. What then, are we to make of the possibility of a significantly expanded population, fuelling the financial growth of local businesses – that will now pay 0% corporate tax and whose owners will be able to avail their selves of an even greater range of tax avoidance and planning opportunities? And this whilst the States must ultimately pick up the inevitable extra costs of a larger population.
Unless we make the labour market work for the Island, the prospect of a growing population under the 0%/10% regime will produce even less lasting economic security for the community than it has done to date. If simply growing the customer and labour base available to local businesses was the path to economic security, why hasn’t it worked so far? After 4 decades of this policy?
The proposals of the Finance and Economics Committee apply, in a limited way, the concept of sectoral taxation by recommending a 10% rate of tax upon the financial services industry. Why is the concept not developed further? I have previously addressed the accommodation industry, for example. Perhaps the local motoring industry, which is extremely profitable but also imposes very significant costs upon the States, should be considered for a particular tax rate on motoring dealership franchises?
In other jurisdictions special taxes are sometimes raised from utility providers. Given that we are now beginning to see competition in some parts of the utility sector, and we may yet see privatisations, we must consider the possibilities of taxing this sector, including the possibility of ‘windfall taxes’.
Professing a concern for the environment is extremely easy; we’re all environmentalists now. Yet in the present political climate serious consideration of environmental issues is seen as a rather quaint anachronism. Indeed, the most rigorous and extensive public consultation exercise carried out in Jersey produced the report ‘Jersey in the New Millennium: A Sustainable Future’ an extremely good report representing many months of community effort. Yet so unpalatable was this document to the customarily dominant elites in Jersey, advocating as it did less short-term cashing in, that it was immediately shelved at the very back of the cupboard. Instead we now have the comparatively paltry “Imagine Jersey” process, designed and engineered to ‘manufacture consent’ for policies that more suit the short-term interest of Island elites.
Where is our communal – and irreplaceable – asset of our environment to be found in our tax and economic policies? Virtually nowhere. We still allow companies and partnerships to include excessive and unnecessary vehicles as legitimate costs against taxation. How much sense does that make in an island of limited space and frequent urban traffic jams? Is such a policy responsible government, when our children have one of the worst rates of asthma incidence in the U.K.? Unpopular though it may be, the burdens of leadership must require us to take a hard look at the fiscal impacts and opportunities of Jersey’s manifestly excessive motoring industry.
What will be the effects of yet more, short-termist ‘go for growth’ polices upon both the urban environment, in which most of the Island’s poor live, and on the countryside, which is, regrettably, viewed by many simply as a capital asset waiting to be cashed? The policies of the last 30 years have clearly had a significant impact upon the Island’s environment. Some will claim that a good environment has a cost, and that the wealth-generating activities of the economy will bring environmental improvements. If this were a remotely credible claim we would not have to witness the disgraceful failure of the States to carry out the Island’s millennium project of creating a new Town Park in the heart of the most densely populated, deprived and poorest part of the Island.
Although this will seem an eccentric and irrelevant “externality” to some, we must also consider our impact upon the global environment. We produce more garbage per capita than New Yorkers and we have a liking for gas-guzzling cars of extremely limited value and purpose in a small island. Yet where is any sign of a meaningful carbon tax? Global climate change is a threat to us all. Indeed, some scientists predict a rapidly de-stabilising global climate in which we may see – in our lifetimes – shocking changes in weather patterns; changes that may even de-stabilise society. Should we not at least take a serious look at whether our tax policies can be considered remotely responsible in an international context, especially, as an extremely wealthy society, we are better placed to do something about our environmental impacts than the world’s poor?
Politicians like very much to be able to claim public support for their preferred policies. This is why the opinion management industry features so strongly in modern politics. But could we really even begin to claim public support for a particular set of tax proposals unless and until the public had access to the full menu of all taxation policy options? Nobody wants to pay more tax, yet taxation is the price we pay for living in a decent society. The Island finds itself in a situation were the reality is that we are all likely to have to pay some additional form of taxes. The community has a right to see the full range of options and be satisfied that those increasing tax burdens which may be necessary, are being apportioned in a just manner.
The political reaction to this proposition is of course predictable. I could write most of it now. The most obvious objection will be that the task is too large and will take too much time. This objection is easily disposed of. The Finance and Economics Committee, taken with its predecessor, have been working on the present fiscal review for at least 4 years. Prior to that, the Fiscal Review Working Group worked for some years on taxation matters. The issues and questions raised by the proposition are not novel or obscure. These are questions that have readily occurred to people who have contacted me in recent weeks, along with some of my own concerns. Surely much – if not all – of the relevant studies and data must already be available, with comparatively little remaining to be investigated? For if this is not the case, then what has actually been undertaken during the last 6 or so years? And how could Finance and Economics be quite so certain in their policy preferences if the issues raised in the last few weeks by people across the community, issues which are reflected in the proposition, remain to be addressed?
Financial and manpower statement
There will clearly be some additional financial and manpower requirements in producing the work required by the proposals. However, given the vital importance of the work, such outlay is essential. Provided that a thorough and comprehensive tax structure is put in place, the many millions of pounds produced would far outweigh any initial investment.
It should also be pointed out again that – provided successive Finance and Economics Committees have undertaken their work thoroughly, most of the studies required ought to be largely available already, perhaps simply requiring so

Presented to the States on 1st June 2004
by the Finance and Economics Committee

As part of its responsibilities the Finances and Economics Committee is obliged to keep fiscal policies under constant review and propose changes to the States as required.
For the last six years significant detailed work has been carried out in response to a changing fiscal climate. The Committee has undertaken to submit a new Fiscal Strategy for consideration by the States before the 2004 summer recess.
In preparation for this there has been extensive research. This has included obtaining expert advice from a wide range of officers, economic advisers and tax experts. The Committee’s analysis has been included in four major consultation documents during the period 2001 to 2004. The past and present Finance and Economics Committees have actively sought the views of the public and States members on these documents.
The scale of the work has been significant: the Committee has a dedicated tax and spending internet site, leaflets have been sent to every household in the island, a Jersey Evening Post supplement with circulation in excess of 33,000 was produced, and there have been over 40 public meetings, together with numerous other meetings, seminars and speaking events – quite apart from the significant media coverage and comment. There has probably never been such extensive consultation and communication by any States Committee on any issue.
Feedback has been received from a wide range of individuals, businesses and representative bodies representing the many sectors of the community. Almost 500 letters and emails have been received during the consultation processes alone.
The results have shown that there has been almost universal acceptance of the need to move to a 0/10% corporate tax structure. Significantly, no-one has suggested a feasible alternative to 0/10%. Furthermore, the response from the business community has emphasised how essential it is to have an early decision on the fiscal strategy, in order to avoid losing business to competitor jurisdictions (which have already committed to 0/10% or similar).
In order to have an external overview the Finance and Economics Committee has also commissioned an independent review of its proposals by PricewaterhouseCoopers London office, led by an internationally renowned tax expert. This review has generally endorsed the Committee’s proposals but usefully suggested further work be undertaken on environmental taxes, development levies and tax enforcement measures. A copy of that report has been sent to all States members. The Committee’s fiscal strategy report and proposition seeks States endorsement to undertake this additional work.
There is no excuse to delay essential decisions on the fiscal strategy including implementing 0/10%, constraining States expenditure, and promoting sustainable economic growth.
On the tax proposals, the Committee does appreciate that more information is needed. The Committee’s proposition recognises that view and charges the Committee to do more on the details.
The Finance and Economics Committee is of the opinion, however, that the additional research proposed in P.41/2004 is not necessary to make the much-needed in-principle decisions sought in the Committee’s own proposition. Furthermore it believes that any benefits of undertaking the extensive research proposed, before any decisions are taken, would be totally out of proportion to the damage to the economy and the drain on States revenues arising from delaying urgently needed tax reforms.
The proposition could be regarded as a thinly disguised attempt to block early consideration of the Finance and Economics Committee’s fiscal strategy and to cause interminable delay, disruption and uncertainty. This cannot be in the best interests of the Island. Accordingly, the Committee believes the proposition should be rejected in totality, so that the States may consider the Committee’s own report and proposition forthwith.