The FT features the Isle of Man

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The FT has one of its advertorial features on the Isle of Man today. These things are noted for their lack of objectivity - being promotional material for the places recruiting the ads, so it was useful of James Wilson, the FT's north of England correspondent to at least give a nod in the direction of dissent.

He reported that the Distributable Profits Charge had not received EC consent, and then noted:

Mr Couch [Isle of Man comptroller of Income Tax] says the principle of "zero-10" taxation has been accepted by the code of conduct group and European finance ministers, and that the DPC regime needs only relatively minor change to make the whole corporate taxation system code-compliant.

And he then notes:

Richard Murphy, director of Tax Research, a UK consultancy, who predicted the DPC regime would not be approved, believes the proposed changes maintain a distinction between two types of shareholder and will also therefore not be accepted. But any EU consideration of the Isle of Man's revised scheme is likely to take many more months.

Before adding, correctly, that:

Mr Murphy, a persistent critic of offshore jurisdictions, also believes the Isle of Man has benefited disproportionately from a "common purse agreement" with the UK to share revenues from value added tax. Most Manx government revenues come from indirect taxation: this has put it in a stronger fiscal position than Jersey, now introducing a sales tax.

Too true it has. Allan Bel, the Finance Minister does, of course, see it differently. The Ft notes that Mr Bell says the new deal should reduce fluctuations and make long-term planning easier. But by implication he makes one thing clear: the subsidy is continuing and remains significant.

Which reminds me - the next time th government says it can't afford a project costing up to £270 million - you know what they can cut.