Guernsey Press

German TV shows Sark’s changes due to ‘Swen’s people’

SARK made an appearance on German television at the weekend, in a short feature which documented changes to the island as a result of an increasing population.

Swen Lorenz - single-handedly responsible for Sark population boom.

Weltspiegel broadcast a seven-minute feature on the island, including interviews with residents about their experiences, the way of life, and inevitably for external interest in Sark, tax.

Unofficial relocation adviser Swen Lorenz, pictured, wrote a 1,000 page book on why and how to move to Sark, and received thousands of emails from people all across the world.

‘I’ve been tied up 24/7 for months and that was of course simply overwhelming because I’ve helped over 100 people build a new life,’ he said.

The feature referenced the low taxes in Sark which invites people who work in business and entrepreneurs and can work via the internet, but also the ‘poorly serviced and unlit sandy roads’ for those who work in the island, and Sarkees who are struggling to get by spoke of their need for more taxes.

‘We need more taxes and with that we could also repair some things here and do better. That has to be done by professionals and that’s expensive but it would certainly help the island,’ said Jimmy Martin, of Jimmy’s Carting, who has been living in Sark since 2000, on the programme.

‘I think the system needs to be changed, not with huge tax rates, but a bit more, you can only tax beer and cigarettes up to a certain level.

‘We have so many things that need to be fixed and done, it’s just a struggle to get by.’

Other residents made suggestions such as national health insurance, stating that they work hard but do not earn much and struggle to keep on top of costs.

‘We do know that all these new rich people are coming here because our tax system is kind to them,’ said Linda Williams, who is over 70 and still rents out her rooms to pay for health insurance.

‘They could pay a little more and Sark would still be cheap for them.’

The feature closed with Mr Lorenz outlining the contributions ‘Swen’s people’, as they are known, have made to the island and its economy.

‘We don’t need more taxes, we need more taxpayers in Sark, and I have delivered on that,’ he said.