Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK revealed in an exclusive interview with this week’s Isle of Man Examiner that the UK had a clear intention to revise the agreement again to ensure that the island received no more VAT revenue than we would collect if we were independent.
He said if the change was made, it would result in a ‘substantial’ cut in revenue.
Now that’s odd.
When the agreement was revised I was (probably rightly) accused of having precipitated the removal of between £90 million and £140 million or so of that subsidy. My response was to make clear that the change had not removed all the subsidy. Of course, I was criticised again.
Then I suggested, I think rightly, that the Isle of Man was trying to manipulate the data to reclaim the subsidy. And of course I was criticised again, heavily.
And now the Chief Minister has admitted I was right all along, yet again, and what is more, the UK has the right to act on that logic and remove the remaining subsidy from the Isle of Man.
In fact I’d argue, of course, that the UK not only has that right, but has a duty to act to end this subsidy once and for all. The idea that the UK subsidises the Isle of Man to be a tax haven is absurd.
But will Tony Brown apologise? I won’t hold my breath.