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Oxfam criticises islands' tax changes

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Changes to laws in the Crown dependencies will not guarantee significantly more tax is paid in the European Union or in developing countries, Oxfam has warned.

In its report Not Enough Substance?, the charity has assessed the effectiveness of the changes aimed at stopping profits being artificially routed to "UK-linked tax havens".

Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man changed their tax laws in 2018 after pressure from the EU, and were subsequently kept off the bloc's so-called grey and blacklists.

But the report warns companies could still establish a "token" presence in the islands or simply shift profits to other "tax havens".

Oxfam sign

The effectiveness of the laws also depended on how stringently the rules were interpreted and applied by island governments, and how the EU reacted to their actions, the report states.

A requirement in Jersey to give authorities up to six years to assess whether a company is compliant may result in a "cat-and mouse game", Oxfam warned.

In response to the criticism, Guernsey's chief minister Gavin St Pier said the island had delivered "an effective and proportionate regime".

"Although rather predictably and sadly Oxfam - rather than concentrating on sorting out their own dire reputation and governance and instead of focussing on their core purpose - have found time to use their generous donors' funds to come out this week to criticise the regime's effectiveness, self-evidently, at this stage only three months into a new regime, without any evidence," he said.

The BBC has approached Oxfam for comment.

Dawn Bratcher at work

Sarah Dickins

BBC Wales economics correspondent

Oxfam Cymru calls on employers to help address the "drastic need for more decent work for women".

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