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.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Richard's message for the ordinary people of Jersey

from: Richard Murphy FCA, Tax Research UK

The Meeting
St Helier
Jersey

4 December 2010

Dear Friends

I’m sorry not to be with you this morning – in an island I love, and which is vital to all of
you.

I make the point deliberately. There are many who will say that what you’re doing today is
somehow “anti-Jersey” or “undermining Jersey’s international position”. They are wrong,
and you are right to protest.

Jersey is not the finance industry.

I can say even more certainly that the finance industry is not Jersey. Their commitment to
Jersey is as deep as the thickness of a Jersey £1 note. They use and abuse the island.

It is you – the real people of Jersey – who are committed to this island. And that’s why it’s
important your voices are heard today.

And you have important things to say.

You are saying no to more tax on the ordinary people of Jersey when the finance industry
is here in the island to make sure its clients pay no tax, anywhere.

You’re saying no to local business being taxed when foreign owned businesses working
here pay no tax – wholly unfairly.

You’re saying that the finance industry in Jersey can’t survive without local people
enjoying education, healthcare, public services, pensions and more – all of which the
finance industry should be paying for through tax. But finance is saying no to that – they’re
saying it’s your job to provide these things at your own cost so they can profit more. And
that’s wrong.

And you’re doing something even more important. You’re saying you want a Jersey you
can be proud of. A Jersey about which you can hold your head up high. A Jersey where the
taint of corruption, dodgy dealing or just straightforward tax avoidance is absent.

That is possible. I suggested recently that Jersey change tack and become the cleanest,
most transparent place in the world to do business. It could still have low taxes – but could
do so openly, honestly, and attract business that needs what Jersey says it can offer to
international finance – but in a way that everyone could see is fair, honest and open.
There’s nowhere in the world that does that. It could give Jersey its own unique niche in
the world – and guarantee jobs. It would be something to be really proud of. And finance
could then say “we’re doing good in the world – and can prove it.”

You would have thought the finance industry would have loved it. But they don’t. They say
they need secrecy for what they do.

Secrecy for what, you might ask?

Secrecy not to pay tax, that’s for sure.

And that means secrecy to hide that fact from you – in the hope that you will pay while
finance plays.

This is an unsustainable game. Jersey’s finances are in a complete mess – and it’s going to
get worse as a result of recent EU decisions – the importance of which Philip Ozouf is
denying.

This can’t go on. There’s a black hole in Jersey’s finances which cannot be filled – not
unless finance fill it – and they’re refusing to do so. In that case Jersey will be on the
bailout band-wagon before too long.

So you’re right to be here. It’s you who are arguing for the future of Jersey. You who are
arguing for the place you’re committed to. You who are the real Jersey patriots. You who
are looking for real solutions to Jersey’s problems – including its dependence on an
unsustainable finance industry if it stays in its present form. You who are having the
courage to face the future of this island.

Thank you for doing all those things and I look forward to seeing you when I’m over next,
on January 24th.

Best regards, and stay warm

Richard Murphy FCA
Director
Tax Research UK

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