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Jersey given $2.5m for helping prosecute fraudster

Credit: Eva Fisher/DPA/Press Association Images

Jersey has been given $2.5m from the United States government for its help in prosecuting a fraudster who ran a multi-million dollar illegal betting business.

Officials from the US embassy in London visited the island earlier this month to hand a cheque to Attorney General Tim Le Cocq. Jersey assisted an international investigation into the activities of American Gary Kaplan, who was sent to prison for four years in November 2009 and ordered to hand over $50m to the US authorities.

The funds given to Jersey will be paid into the island's Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund, which pays for projects to fight crime.

Kaplan founded the now-defunct internet gambling company BetOnSports, which broke numerous US anti-corruption laws.

  1. Helena Carter

Watch: Youngsters react to benefits axe

Benefits for young islanders in Guernsey are being axed in a move to keep more students in school.

The Education Department says it won't pay 16 and 17 year olds supplementary benefit anymore. It has moved the minimum age for claiming to 18. Those younger will be treated as dependents so they're parents can receive extra help.

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Guernsey's supplementary benefit stopped for 16 and 17 year olds

16 and 17-year-olds in Guernsey will no longer be able to claim supplementary benefit.

Social Security is stopping the payment except in exceptional circumstances.

It is to encourage more people to stay in education.

We know that many young people leave school before they are 18 and move straight into work. But, we are increasing the age at which a person can claim supplementary benefit in their own right to encourage those young people without work to remain in education as we believe that this will improve their chances of finding work. We know that despite this law change, some young people aged 16 and 17 will leave education without having a job and although they won’t get a cash benefit, we still want them to use the Job Centre services to help them find work.

– Deputy Allister Langlois, Social Security Minister

Social Security has written to all families currently claiming supplementary benefit with children who might have left school or college this summer to make them aware of this law change.

There are also cases where help will still be given. These are if a 16 or 17 year old who has left school and is unemployed and being supported by a parent in receipt of supplementary benefit. They will then be treated as a dependent in that family which means that the cash benefit for that young person will be paid direct to their parents.

Guernsey Health Care System needs reviewing

There are fresh calls for a complete overhaul of Guernsey's Health Care System.

The island's Treasury Minister believes the structure at the moment isn't up to scratch and that extra resources are needed.

This week politicians allocated cash to pay for the review from the 2015 Budget.

For now, Deputy Gavin St Pier says the current system needs attention.

Police warn against credit card fraud in Guernsey

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Shop owners in Guernsey are being warned by police about fraudsters trying to dupe them out of thousands of pounds.

Last week a fraudster attempted to scam £1,700 from a local shop owner, but was unsuccessful.

The scam works with the fraudster buying a high-value item and using a stolen credit card to pay for the majority of the item. They then try to pay the rest of the amount with a number of other cards, which are all declined.

They will then ask for a refund and trick the shop owner into putting the refund onto a different card that they own, as opposed to the stolen one which the money came from.

If the shop gives in to this request, they will lose that money and are consequently being urged to make sure any refunds are given to the card the initial transaction took place on.

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Is Guernsey a proactive innovator or reactive survivor?

Is Guernsey a proactive innovator or a reactive survivor? That’s the question to be debated by business leaders at tonight’s Institute of Directors meeting.

The panel will look at how the Bailiwick is meeting its four objectives:

  • Developing existing economic sectors
  • Supporting new sectors
  • Ensuring Guernsey works for business
  • Tracking the development of the economy
Credit: Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

It will also consider what changes or improvements might be made to the current business plan.

Tickets for the 500-capacity event sold out within nine minutes.

The balanced budget – but who pays to balance it?

David White, Head of Tax at EY Guernsey, has given an in-depth analysis on Guernsey’s Budget Report for 2015.

He remarks on how this year it’s the fund industry’s turn to take the largest blow. The 10% corporate tax rate will be extended to include fund administration from 1 January 2015. In addition, the annual fee for exempt companies will be doubled from £600 to £1,200. Whilst a doubling in this fee does not in itself raise any major alarm bells, he states how it remains important for Guernsey to ensure our fund industry remains competitive on all levels, including tax.

Referring to personal tax matters he claims most of the interesting aspects are absent, as we await recommendations from the personal tax and benefit review. However he does list a number of interesting matters on the personal tax front:

  • The positives:
  • A new exemption from tax will apply for the first £50 of bank interest. This is sensible as it potentially removes around 10,000 from having to file a tax return from 2015. Disappointingly, the process of issuing assessments will continue, meaning the Income Tax Office won’t fully capitalise on the opportunity to cut the administrative burden of processing unnecessary paperwork.
  • - The increase in fuel duty (3p per litre on petrol) is limited to inflation, meaning no ‘real’ increase – but is this in anticipation of a more radical proposal next year?
  • The negatives:
  • A reduction in the cap on mortgage interest relief to £15,000 (£30,000 for couples) instead of £25,000 (£50,000). The relief only applies to the first £400,000 of a loan anyway, so this is a clever move, as most people won’t be impacted – for now. But as interest rates rise in the near term, this cap will become real to a larger proportion of home owners.
  • - Freezing personal tax allowances – this has been a common tactic for tax rises in other countries over the years, though the trend is going the other way (the UK plans significant increases in the tax free personal allowance). This is part of a balancing act for now, but we should expect more significant changes in this area to be part of the recommended package under the Personal Tax, Pensions and Benefits review.

Watch: Guernsey budget reaction

Treasury & Resources Minister Deputy Gavin St Pier says they tried to create a budget that was fair but achieved the objective of having a balanced budget:

Accountant Graham Parrott said that there were no major positives to come out of the new budget, but maybe the biggest positive is that there were no major negatives:

However Kerry Hale, a single mother of four, said that these small changes may have a big impact on a lot of people:

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