The report I wrote on the UK's enormous subsidy to the Isle of Man did, unsurprisingly, attract attention in Jersey. At least two politicians asked questions in the States on the subject, so yesterday the chief minister, Senator Frank Walker had to answer them. Which he did, in his own style. According to the Jersey Evening Post he said:
the £270 million figure for the subsidy quoted recently by the Tax Justice Network was a gross exaggeration.
Well, that's an opinion, I suppose. Except that he went on to say:
We do not know the exact sum involved - that is confidential between them [the Isle of man] and the UK government we understand that there will be a significant fall in the Isle of Man tax receipts
So let's be honest, what he's actually saying is he has no clue if I'm right or wrong - which also means he's quite wrong to dismiss my reasonably calculated estimate.
Second, the Senator's also wrong to suggest that IoM tax revenues will fall as a result of the new deal. If he'd monitored IoM budget forecasting over time (as I have) he'd know they always forecast revenues well below those they actually get, and then collect a higher sum. The reality is the new VAT deal between the UK and IoM will change nothing, and there's no reason to think there will be a fall in revenues to the IoM.
As a result Senator Walker's claims that a new level playing field is being created are just wrong. No such thing is happening. In which case the real question is why isn't the chief minister of Jersey making a bigger fuss about this? Isn't that what you'd expect? I would.