A recent discussion in Westminster Hall on 'Offshore
Financial Centres' highlights a growing understanding among UK
MPs of small International Finance Centres (IFCs), according to
Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance.
The Rt. Hon. Mark Field, Conservative Party MP for the Cities of
London and Westminster, opened proceedings by saying that the
debate over the role of small IFCs had been, to date,
He added: "This is unfortunate as it demonstrates a
fundamental lack of understanding of their function and the
benefits they provide to the wider global economy."
Mr Field said that centres such as Guernsey and Jersey are used
for a variety of reasons, including their political stability and
favourable economic outlook, familiar legal systems, high quality
of service providers, a lack of foreign exchange controls, tax
neutrality (not to be confused with tax evasion) and also legal
"It is for this reason that there has been a mutually
beneficial relationship between the City of London and many Crown
Dependencies and Overseas Territories," added Mr Field.
"To give some idea of the scale of those capital flows, UK
banks had net financing from Guernsey alone of $74.1 billion at the
end of June 2009."
He said that the recent HM Treasury Review of Offshore Financial
Centres undertaken by Michael Foot had highlighted the contribution
of the Crown Dependencies to the liquidity of the UK market. In
addition, a report from Professor James Hines of the University of
Michigan shows that the opportunities created by IFCs help create
investment and jobs globally.
The Rt. Hon. Mark Pritchard, Conservative Party MP for The
Wreckin, followed by saying that "such centres help rather
than hinder the UK's economy." They were both supported by
the Rt. Hon. Andrew Rosindell, Conservative Party MP for Romford
and Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the
Channel Islands, and the Rt. Hon. Mark Hoban, Conservative Party MP
for Fareham and Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
Mr Niven believes that this debate shows the growing
understanding in Westminster of small IFCs, such as Guernsey.
"There is an ever-increasing body of evidence that small IFCs
have a crucial role to play in the prosperity of the global economy
and it appears that this now beginning to inform the debate within
Westminster," said Mr Niven.
"All we have ever asked is to be judged on the facts and it
is refreshing to see an objective discussion at last rather than
the one-sided debate based on misinformation, bias and myth. I
think this reflects the growing understanding in Westminster of
small IFCs such as Guernsey and great credit must go to the likes
of our Chief Minister, Lyndon Trott, and his wider team for their
ongoing work informing MPs."
The debate came on the same day that the Lord Mayor of the City
of London, Alderman Nick Anstee, was visiting Guernsey to enhance
links between the two international finance centres, having been in
Jersey the previous day. He remarked that the Channel Islands were
integrated with the City and having seen the centres for themselves
he could understand why they have been endorsed by the OECD and
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