Jersey ready but not willing to go it alone

Marc Sidwell
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THE CHIEF executive of Jersey Finance acknowledged yesterday that the crown dependency’s government is drawing up plans to split with Britain “in extremis”. However, he denied that the mood of the crown dependency was turning towards such drastic action, saying “there is no drive for independence”.

Geoff Cook, whose organisation promotes the low-tax Channel island’s financial sector, said that he understood ministers were “scenario planning for a variety of outcomes”, including extreme cases.

The assistant chief minister of the States of Jersey Philip Bailhache suggested to the Guardian on Tuesday that the island’s interests could lie in independence.

Cook however pointed to the negative consequences for both sides of such a step, calling Jersey a “symbiont of the City”. He also hit back at criticisms of Jersey’s role in tax avoidance. Cook said: “We’re pretty vanilla in what we do,” adding “if the government of the day wishes to change emphasis, it needs to change the law.”