Jersey government to open office in London

Jersey's government will open an office in central London to promote and protect the island's reputation, according to the chief minister.

Senator Ian Gorst made £430,000 available to get the office up and running.

It will be run by a senior civil servant and will lobby Whitehall and Westminster for the island.

After the initial set-up costs it will need about £600,000 per year to run, covering staff and office space.

Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, who is responsible for foreign affairs, said it would help relations with Whitehall.

He said: "We have been planning an office in London for some considerable time. The UK is the country with which Jersey does the most trade and it is the country with which we are associated constitutionally.

"Our relations with the UK are more important than with any other country so we think it is important to have a presence in the capital city."

The senator said as well as working towards promoting the island the office would also work to help Jersey people living in London who get into difficulty.

He said: "Many overseas territories, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and so, who have offices in London use their office in order to help students who are a long way from home and a similar kind of function might be fulfilled by the London office for us."

The States approved the ongoing running costs for the office when debating their latest financial plan.

It will be based in the centre of London and Senator Bailhache said its main function would be to "facilitate the functions of government".