Elections are in the news. Here in Hong Kong as I write the protests of the yellow umbrella bearing students are dwindling after a week on the streets.
They were peacefully protesting about concerns over universal suffrage and the ability to choose their political leaders.
In Jersey next week we face elections, where predictions of a poor turnout abound. Whatever the reason for voter apathy much of the rest of the world looks enviously at our stable democracy and there is a danger that the natural insulation arising from being an Island means that we could easily overlook the significant privilege of free elections.
Of course all sectors of community have a common interest in free and fair elections and an interest in the effects of policy outcomes, but that is for the individual to decide, and certainly not for industry to enter the political process, nor indicate to anyone how they should vote.
That said there are key ingredients of success underpinning the performance of our finance industry that are needed, whatever the makeup of our new government.
Our proposition is based on utilising our expertise in cross border finance in a low tax environment.
Given that finance is 42% of our economy and provides more than half of all government revenues, it is important to be clear on what we as an industry need to sustain employment levels and grow productivity in order to continue to make a substantial contribution to the financial viability of Jersey. Some high level thoughts are listed below:-
- Sustain competitiveness through a low tax economy and tax neutral platform for the overseas investor
- Meet international standards in financial integrity, sound governance and tax transparency
- Grow productivity through ensuring effective investment in skills and education and when needed, supplement predominantly local recruitment with specialist skills from elsewhere
- Invest in world class infrastructure and communications
- Improve market access through the pursuit of an international 'good neighbour' policy
- Help business to keep costs low by improving technology adoption and minimising bureaucracy
- Maintain investment in the promotion, innovation and development of our industry
I would recommend that you look at candidate manifestos; are they promoting policies that would secure the future of your industry, your job and your career prospects, in the context of a successful and caring society?
We hope that whoever is elected they will take on board the interests of all sections of our society whether political, social, or economic. We hope too that they will recognise the importance of our major industry in supporting the continuing financial viability and prosperity of our Island community.
We have great privileges in Jersey, it is a wonderful place, let's make sure we never need to take to the streets with yellow umbrellas. Please vote.