The Guardian and the Loophole Islands – telling it is it is

Posted on

The Guardian's editorial today renames the Crown Dependencies 'the loophole islands' since they have appreciated that these places are about regulatory abuse in all its forms - and not just tax.

But they also realise the blame lies on the UK too:

Easy though it would be for the British to wag their fingers at the Loophole Islands, the truth is that their existence should as often as not be the cause of shame for the UK as well as regret for the islanders. For the islands, it is easy to see the downside. Some of the smallest places are effectively overwhelmed by big and footloose capital. Entire islands run the risk of becoming "company towns", unable to provide decent careers and lives for their residents. But if the UK was tougher in cracking down on tax avoidance, it would kill off the excesses of this corrosive shadow industry.

Full automatic information exchange and a general anti-avoidance principle would kill this abuse.

We can deliver the general anti-avoidance principle. We simply sit on these places to deliver the good governance that full automatic information exchange represents - which we can, since we're responsible for good governance in them all.

It's time for ni ifs and no buts - it's just time for reform, now.