Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Anger at Darling island criticism

Alistair Darling
Anger is rising at Alistair Darling's comments

The UK chancellor's description of the Isle of Man as a "tax haven" has been branded ignorant by a trade unionist.

Manx government officials are seeking clarification of Alistair Darling's suggestion about reviewing Britain's relationship with the island.

Chief Minister Tony Brown described the comments, made during a Treasury Select Committee meeting, as "unfortunate".

But Trade Union Council leader Bernard Moffatt said it reflected the Labour Party's outdated view of the island.

"We've got 30,000 hard working households on the island," said Mr Moffatt.

"There seems to be a perception among people in the Labour Movement in the UK that on these off-shore islands, these tax havens as they put it, everybody is sitting around sipping pink gins and has half a million or several million pounds in the bank."

His attempts to deflect attention from his own ill judged actions are highly unconvincing
Stephen Thomas, KSF depositor

Alistair Darling has ruled out underwriting British savings held in the collapsed Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander (KSF) Isle of Man.

UK Treasury officials are representing the Isle of Man in ongoing talks with Iceland - which nationalised Kaupthing - to retrieve savers' money.

But it was his shock statement about taking a "long, hard look" at Britain's relationship with the island that prompted anger.

Reacting to the attack, Manx Chief Minister Mr Brown said the UK chancellor "appeared to be in the dark".

"We are not asking the UK for any favours, but they do have a constitutional responsibility to represent us internationally," said Mr Brown.

"We have also pointed out, in support of depositors with the local bank, that the closure of Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander in the Isle of Man was the direct result of actions taken by the UK Government."

KSF (Isle of Man) building
KSF Isle of Man bank was closed on 8 October

But KSF Isle of Man depositors have been left angered by the chancellor's position, which spokesman Stephen Thomas described as "bordering on slanderous".

The British citizen, who has lived in Russia for 10 years, has 750,000 from a house sale trapped in the bank.

"I pay tax on all transactions in a highly regulated Russia according to the law," said Mr Thomas.

"Does that make me a tax dodger? Would Mr Darling and others explain what law I or others have broken?

"To me, Darling's remarks are bordering on the slanderous, let alone misinformed.

"His attempts to deflect attention from his own ill judged actions are highly unconvincing."

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