Offshore tag and a lack of promotion ‘holds island back’
Friday 4th October 2013, 2:00PM BST.
PERCEPTIONS of ‘offshore’ status and a lack of effective promotion are holding Guernsey back from doing business on a global stage, the island’s business leaders agreed last night.
To remedy that there were calls for more States funding for the promotional agency Guernsey Finance and increased political promotion alongside the promotion of the major island industry.
Panellists also called for the island to do something else to take a focus away from financial services or tax.
Steve Williams, director of European Affairs at the Channel Islands Brussels Office, admitted that there was a perception from some that the islands were ‘one- trick ponies’ and only interested in financial services.
William Mason, director-general of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and less than six months into his new role, went as far as promoting what he coined a ‘grand projet’ to deflect negative focus from the island. ‘We are a small island, nobody does more than 40 miles in a day, why not become an electric car island and change some perceptions of us,’ he said.
Fellow panellist Stephen Lansdown, (pictured) the co-founder of the FTSE 100 listed company Hargreaves Lansdown, moved to the island primarily for tax reasons in 2010.
He said that many would consider the islands to be a tax haven and added that the island should not hide away from being seen as a low tax jurisdiction.
‘You’ll never get away from it so let’s face up to it. I wouldn’t necessarily sing it from the rooftops but don’t hide away from it.’