Attac Jersey is a Member of the International Tax Justice Network. We are Members of the Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions for the Benefit of Citizens, (ATTAC) and the Tax Justice Network, (TJN). The aims of both organisations are to research, educate and campaign to further public awareness. We are seeking to alleviate poverty through the creation of just taxation systems to fund social goods.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

blog archive 26 May, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

IT'S PARTY TIME FOR THE STATES CHAMBER

May 26, 2010

From John Heys.

THE slow but inevitable ruination of this beautiful Island of Jersey by an
incapable and dictatorial junta of senior States members must be exposed to the
outside world, and stopped now as the mistakes are getting beyond recovery,
with no accountability at all.

Once very prosperous tourism and agriculture industries have been run down in
total favour of the so called finance industry. The Chief Minister and his cohorts
disregard the writing on the wall and pump millions into a tax haven industry now
under attack from many sides.

Things have slipped down hill to the point where our GDP is: Finance 58%;
tourism, the one live mainstay of our economy, 3%; and agriculture, famous for
the Jersey Royal, tomatoes, and flowers, about 1% – facts which our ministers
ignore, stating how wonderful things are with billions of pounds invested/hidden
here.

Senator Le Sueur recently proposed giving £100 million in tax relief to the finance
industry, which, of course, a small economy like this cannot possibly withstand,
so to make it up he suggested introducing a general tax.

Against many alternatives which he would not contemplate, he said that it would
be introduced. Incensed, the Jersey people held a petition to which 20,000
signatures were penned. When it was presented, Senator Le Sueur’s comment
was: ‘I do not care how many signatures there are, GST will be introduced’, and
when informed that elderly people on small fixed incomes were finding it even
harder to purchase affordable food, he said : ‘They will just have to shop around’.

Both comments are an example of the total lack of understanding and the
dictatorship attitude under which Jersey suffers.

Many large companies and hotel groups operating and making big profits in
Jersey do not pay income tax, while Jersey companies have to, and everyone
is running around like chickens with their heads off because we now have a big
shortfall in our financial situation, a painfully obvious result of a ridiculous policy.

The civil service is totally top heavy, grossly overpaid and unaccountable for
huge financial errors. As an example, it was decided to contract a French firm to
build an incinerator without taking account of cheaper alternatives or adequate

public consultation, at the approximate cost of £107 million, and although the
exchange rate between the euro and the pound was to be accounted for, it was
ignored, and we now find that this glaring error could cost the tax payer £2 or 3
million extra.

There was an uproar from the public, so an inquiry was held in what Jersey
calls ‘behind closed doors’ to discover just who was in the wrong. The result
was that the matter had been dealt with, no one was sacked or moved, and that
the matter is now closed. I cannot imagine many countries, except those like
Zimbabwe, or Iran perhaps, having the sheer audacity to treat the public in such
a dictatorial manner.

We are constantly spun by the ruling junta that we are so lucky to have the
finance industry paying in so much money, making this Island rich, but they never
mention that we are so rich that out of the 52,000 working people, 8,500 are on
Income Support because they cannot afford to live, or that due to the wonderful
finance industry, the average price of a three bedroom house is £470,000, or that
Jersey per GDP capita is the 3rd richest country in the World, yet its minimum
wage is the lowest in all of 27 EU member states, and that Jersey spends less
than 75% of the EU average on social protection.

Jersey is a tax haven playing to the benefit of the rich financed by the poor, who
pay 20% in tax whilst the rich have a nice sliding scale of tax, so on their first
£million they pay 20%, on the next half £million 10%, and 1% from then on, so
on a declared £10 million, their tax bill would run at just 3.5%, and even then that
can be avoided.

A total disgrace is the huge civil service pay cheque: 270 get from £70,000 to
£89,999; 62 get from £90,000 to £109,999; 36 get from £110,000 to £129,999;
19 get from £130,000 to £149,999; 22 get from £150,000 to £169,999 two
get from £170,000 to £189,999; one gets from £190,000 to £209,000; one
gets from £210,000 to £229,999; five get from £230,000 to £249,999. And,
recently announced, one gets £287,089, of which £42,500 is a bonus when his
department actually made a loss of £610,000. And we think the banking rewards
are immoral.

We have been warned that money is scarce and belts will have to be tightened
and painful economies made, yet our states departments have overspent more
than £8,520,000, as far as we know, and not one member will be held to account.

Staffing levels have had to be scrutinised and redundancies painfully actioned,
yet on the other hand Senator Ozouf has announced that another 127 posts have
been created and 30 temporary positions introduced, and further adds that local
jobs should go to local people when only the other week I wrote about dozens of
top local jobs filled by outsiders and it continues practically every day, so who is
he trying to convince?

It is painfully obvious that this island does not have the wherewithal to run itself
and is being inexorably driven towards huge irrecoverable problems, with ever
mounting costs due to mistakes, constant overspends, and with the tax evasion
and avoidance procedures coming under scrutiny, so that when the numerous
methods are exposed and get stopped, we will have no industry to fall back on.

Much of the blame unfortunately lies with the apathetic Jersey public. When there
is a chance with elections to get rid of all the chaff in our States, only 33% of the
people bother to vote, stating: ‘What is the point, there is no alternative’, or ‘They
are all the same’.

I feel that we are at a point now when we must look to either the UK or the EU to
step in and start to provide professional guidance with some form of local party
politics to monitor the situations.

There are a number of good States Members struggling to introduce common
sense, but they are constantly out-voted by the nodding heads controlled by the
ministerial system.
It has even been suggested that Jersey declare UDI. With no help, guidance or
watchful eye at all from the UK, we are in chaos now. Given a free hand, this
Island would nose dive into ruination.

What is needed is party politics, where manifestos are published and members
expected to abide by them, thus providing control and accountability.

I fear that unless drastic measures are taken now to halt and redress the
downward rush, Jersey will find itself in the worst mess it has ever been in, and
the finance industry will leave the sinking ship to go to where it can continue
making fortunes in safety.

Article posted on 26th May, 2010 - 3.00pm

Posted by Attac Jersey - at 8:11 PM 1 comments


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