Labour could target island’s tax regime if it wins UK election
A LABOUR government led by Jeremy Corbyn would have a ‘bold plan’ to tackle tax havens – which could put Guernsey and the other Crown Dependencies in the party’s cross-hairs.
As Labour gathers for its annual conference in Brighton, the party’s treasury team has said that it is developing its policy platform to take on tax avoidance and evasion amid the possibility of a UK general election being called.
The noises from the Labour party have prompted concerns in the Crown Dependencies about what impact a less-friendly government in Westminster could have on Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
‘We will go into the next election with a bold plan to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, including tax havens, and we are working with others to continue to develop our policy platform,’ said shadow treasury minister Anneliese Dodds.
Last week, shadow chancellor John McDonnell set out the possibility of jail terms for advisers in the City of London engaged in promoting tax avoidance schemes if Labour wins power – indicating the party’s strength of feeling on the issue.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has declared: ‘We’re going after the tax avoiders’.
He has also described moves by Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man to establish publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership as ‘not nearly enough’.
Guernsey’s most senior politician, Deputy Gavin St Pier, responded by stressing that the island was a ‘transparent jurisdiction’ and not a ‘tax haven’ and set out plans for further engagement with Labour’s shadow treasury team.
‘I am due to attend the Labour Party conference next week and hope to have further engagement with shadow treasury minister Anneliese Dodds MP and others in the shadow treasury team to understand their objectives.’
The president of P&R added: ‘In June, we published our commitment to move to public registers of beneficial ownership through a step-by-step action plan in line with the EU’s fifth anti-money laundering directive.
‘We have exactly the same policy objectives as the UK to root out financial crime, and it is crucial that the approach we take on this matter is robust, practical and deliverable.
‘Guernsey has an exemplary, long-standing and independently assessed record of tackling financial crime, including money laundering and tax avoidance.
‘We are a transparent jurisdiction, which by any objective standard is not a tax haven, and we are always happy to explain that to any interested party.
‘We are part of the solution, not the problem.’