October 4th 2003

PAST IMPERFECT, FUTURE UNCERTAIN:
THE CHANGING OFFSHORE WORLD

 

The Conference Powerpoint presentation as a PDF file

“Who Ordered a Tax Haven-” John Christensen, Tax Justice Network

His talk as an MP3 File - This file is 21Mb

“Robin Hood Reversed" - Matti Kohonen

His talk as an MP3 File - This file is 8.49Mb

“1998 and all that" - Dr Mark Hampton

His talk as an MP3 File - This file is 15.2Mb

 

JERSEY EVENING POST

16th September 2003

Former adviser to chair Attac tax haven meeting

BY CHRISTINE HERBERT

The former economic adviser to the States, John Christensen, is to chair a conference at the Town Hall next month.

The free event, entitled 'Past imperfect, future uncertain: the changing offshore world', has been organised by pressure group Jersey Attac as a response to the question how sustainable is Jersey's future as a tax haven?

The organisers are aiming to encourage Islanders 'to engage in constructive debate about the Island's future'. They say that the outlook is not encouraging, with the economy too narrowly focused, no manufacturing base and few prospects for attracting other industries.

'Our senior politicians and their advisers are anxious to talk up the current situation, but the reality is that they have no realistic strategy for reducing the Island's dependence upon its role as a tax haven, and their current proposals for tax reform will benefit the banks and their clients while transferring more of the tax burden onto low income households,' say Attac.

'Increasingly Jersey people are being forced to leave the Island because of high costs and poor job opportunities, and the attractions of living on this small Island have diminished as a result of overcrowding and the loss of our 'sense of place' caused by the disappearance of the traditional industries.'

Mr Christensen, who resigned from his post at the Policy and Resources Department in 1999 and now lives in the UK, will speak on the topic: Who ordered a tax haven? Other speakers include Dr Mark Hampton, of the University of Surrey, and Matti Kohonen, of Tax Justice Network.

The network was launched earlier this year, at the annual general meeting of the Association of Accountancy and Business Affairs, an organisation championed by Mr Christensen. Their core argument is that companies and individuals who funnel assets to tax havens are shifting the tax burden further on to ordinary citizens and smaller businesses.

The conference will take place at the Town Hall on Saturday, 4 October, between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm, with a break from 1 pm to 1.45 for lunch.

For further information about the event contact Jean Andersson,

telephone 768980 or

e-mail jeanandersson42@hotmail.com.
 


Saturday, 4th October 2003
The Town Hall, Saint Helier, Jersey

Introduction

This conference comes at a critical time for Jersey. Faced with mounting scrutiny from a range of international bodies, including the European Union and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the island’s authorities have been forced to introduce radical measures to re-structure the tax system. These measures will reduce the scope for international companies to launder their profits through tax haven vehicles such as exempt companies and international business companies. Pressure is also mounting within the international community for tax havens to more effectively co-operate with national authorities through information exchange agreements. These pressures are expected to increase in the coming years, bringing with them mounting uncertainty about the sustainability of the island’s future role as a tax haven.

Attac Jersey has convened this conference in order to encourage islanders to engage in constructive debate about the island’s future. Jersey is more dependent upon its tax haven role than any other offshore finance centre in the world. With agriculture reduced to a fraction of its former glory, and tourism also in long-term structural decline, the island’s economy has become very narrowly focussed. With no remaining manufacturing base, and few prospects for attracting other industries, the outlook is not encouraging.

Our senior politicians and their advisers are anxious to talk up the current situation, but the reality is that they have no realistic strategy for reducing the island’s dependence upon its role as a tax haven, and their current proposals for tax reform will benefit the banks and their clients whilst transferring more of the tax burden onto low income households. Increasingly, Jersey people are being forced to leave the island because of high costs and poor job opportunities, and the attractions of living on this small island have diminished as a result of over-crowding and the loss of our ‘sense of place’ caused by the disappearance of the traditional industries.

This conference is open to everyone with an interest in the island’s future and in the broader issues surrounding the harm that tax havens like Jersey cause to the broader global community. Combining academics, campaign activists, and people who care passionately about the future of the global community, the conference will provide an opportunity to improve our understanding of the key issues and to pool our thoughts about the uncertain future.

The working languages of the conference will be English and French.

Programme

10h30 - Registration and coffee

11h00 - Welcome - Jean Andersson

11h05 - Chairman’s opening remarks - John Christensen, Tax Justice Network

11h10 - Attac Info – Jacques Harel, Attac Saint Malo

11h25 - “1998 and all that” Dr Mark Hampton, University of Surrey
 

(approximately 15 minutes will be allowed for questions and comments)


12h15 - “Robin Hood Reversed – a tale of greed and impoverishment” Matti Kohonen, Tax Justice Network
 

(approximately 15 minutes will be allowed for questions and comments)


13h00 - Lunch

13h45 - “Who Ordered a Tax Haven?” John Christensen, Tax Justice Network

14h30 - Panel Discussion

15h20 - Chairman’s closing remarks

15h30 - Tea and networking