29 October, 2009

Foot Report

Foot Report published.  The final report of the independent review of British offshore financial centres by former Bank of England official Michael Foot was published today.  You can download the entire report here.

It had been commissioned by the British Government in December 2008.  His mandate required Mr Foot to work co-operatively with the various governments to identify opportunities and challenges generated by turmoil in the financial markets and the subsequent impact on the world economy.  Readers will recall the news item on the visit of Mr Foot to Anguilla in June of this year as reported in the Anguillian Newspaper.  The final report has been awaited with some trepidation in the Overseas Territories financial centres.

In the event, we need not have worried that he would be unreasonable.  I have had a look at the report, and it contains nothing draconian or unexpected.  In fact, it is so reasonable that some European income tax specialists are complaining that it is too wishy-washy.  I suspect that what has these European tax-them-into-submission crew outraged is that Mr Foot is not insisting that the Overseas Territories implement income tax measures or take any mandatory draconian measures.

He takes aim at US tax havens such as Delaware, low British and European compliance with their own standards, and sloppy work by the FATF. 

He does point out that we are going to have to bump up our taxes to meet the drop in government revenue resulting from the economic downturn, if we are not to reduce the public sector services or personnel.  There is nothing new in this recommendation.  However, he leaves it open to us to decide how we are going to achieve the needed increase in revenue.

All-in-all, I consider it a fair report.


  1. Seeing as how most of the excess government "revenue" confis-, er, generated, during the recent land boom was used to hire people who would have worked in the private sector in a more rational taxation system (less, shall we say, "shrinkage", incurred by, shall we say, "inefficiencies", in the tax-to-transfer-payment process...), it seems fair that those people should be the first let go, and taxes *reduced* accordingly.

    Of course, that ain't gonna happen.

    Instead, taxes will be *raised*, and the "discretionary" expenditures of ten honest people will be pillaged to maintain "necessary" expenditure on one government employee.

    "No matter who you vote for, the government gets elected", as the old libertarian saw goes.

    It was ever thus.

  2. Much of this1 November editorial in the Cayman Net News on the implications of the Foot Report for Cayman applies to Anguilla as well.


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