1. ITV Report

Political commentator: 'Tax havens won't last forever'


A political commentator has told ITV News big changes need to be made in the Channel Islands, because 'tax havens won't last forever'.

Journalist, activist and out-spoken left wing campaigner Owen Jones has made a name for himself challenging traditional politics and capitalism.

He is speaking at the Jersey Arts Centre with his show "The Politics of Hope."

He told ITV News he believes financial reform is needed.

Let’s be honest, Jersey and Guernsey face a looming fiscal crisis. There are already financial problems and if we have a situation where there’s got to be cut backs to infrastructure and public services, I think you’ll start seeing people leaving then, because the community will suffer and it will be a less pleasant place to live.

– Owen Jones

He said he thinks 'international transparency' is key to solving the problem, saying businesses should be 'obliged to say how much money they’re paying [for tax] in each country'.

We need a financial system which isn’t short-term in its approach, which is functioning properly, not betting people's savings in a way which threatens people’s livelihoods and threatens the economic future of countries, including Jersey and Guernsey. Because if there’s a sudden financial downturn again, this place will suffer badly.

– Owen Jones

The author said he doesn't see a future for what he refers to as 'tax havens', because of increasing frustration among ordinary people.

They’re not going to last forever […]There’s growing anger internationally, not least when you’ve got so many cuts, that rich people aren’t pulling their weight. So, I think it’s probably better to be ahead of the curve to find other ways of competing, to diversify, rather than have a situation when all of a sudden there’s an international agreement which might lead to an unpleasant situation for people who haven’t adapted.

– Owen Jones

When asked what he would do if he was Chief Minister of Jersey, he said he would prioritise housing, jobs, a living wage and making sure the rich pay an appropriate amount of tax.

It’s scandalous that people work their guts out, get up in the morning and earn their poverty day after day. And that’s still the reality, the lot, of so many people here and all over the western world.

– Owen Jones

The activist also offered his view on international affairs, including the American presidential elections.

He referred to Donald Trump as someone who threatens the 'future of democracies across the Western world’ and says he is 'injecting poison into the mainstream of American politics.'

If he’s a joke I’ve stopped laughing a long time ago. It’s easy to dismiss him as a clown and unhinged and all the rest but he’s a genuine contender for the Republican presidential nomination and what he’s already done is he’s shifted what’s seen as acceptable in politics[...] He makes other people who are also quite extreme seem less extreme and more reasonable by comparison.

– Owen Jones

Watch presenter Jess Dunsdon's interview with Owen Jones below.