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Jersey institutions reject calls for independence

A senator in Jersey&#39s parliament has called for a referendum on independence in response to the threat of closer scrutinyof the island&#39s tax regime.

The move has prompted discussions about how independence would affect the financial status of Jersey.

Senator Paul Le Claire has called for a referendum of the 90,000 islanders on the question of independent status.

He wants the issue to be raised because of concerns that Chancellor Gordon Brown may change the island&#39s tax status following this year&#39s review of offshore tax havens by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and European Union.

But his move has sparked criticism from the island&#39s financial institutions which believe it is more important for Jersey to co-operate with the EU and OECD than to become independent and risk being blacklisted as a tax haven.

They claim full disclosure of the tax regime is a better way forward than independence. They say a better image of offshore investments is more important than independence.

Fleming (Jersey) head of offshore lending David Stearn says: “I do not think this latest call will get very far. This issue has become a focus because of the crackdown on offshore jurisdictions. People get excited about independence and make a fuss about it but my personal view is the way forward is to go for full disclosure like the EU and the OECD want.

“We do not need to be independent to set our own tax rates and Jersey has little to gain by changing its status.”

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