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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Blair helped 'safeguard industry'
Tony Blair
Mr Blair visited the island in 2002
A former politician has said a personal intervention by Tony Blair helped Jersey safeguard its finance industry.

Pierre Horsfall was president of the Policy and Resources Committee when the prime minister visited Jersey in 2002.

He asked Mr Blair to help in ongoing negotiations with the Treasury over the tax status of UK and international companies with money in Jersey.

At the time, the European Union was putting pressure on the UK to tighten up rules on tax avoidance.

'Financial suicide'

In particular, the EU wanted the UK to make its territories with offshore finance centres to be more controlled.

Jersey was given two years to make changes. But that was not long enough according to Mr Horsfall, who then asked Tony Blair to talk to Treasury officials on the island's behalf.

Mr Horsfall said he told Mr Blair that the island could not be expected to commit financial suicide.

"I made it very clear to him that we wanted to co-operate, we did not want to place the United Kingdom outside of the international obligations but you cannot expect us to commit financial suicide," he said.

"Our whole economy is based around the financial industry so we can't be lumped up with other countries who have a very small reliance on finance."

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