Chief Minister defends court costs over VAT loophole

Packages being sorted before posting Hundreds of jobs are at risk in the Channel Islands' mail order industry

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Jersey's Chief Minster has defended spending nearly three quarters of a million pounds taking the UK to court over the ending of a tax loophole.

Senator Ian Gorst was trying to overturn the closure of the so-called VAT loophole on cheap goods sold from Jersey.

The States and internet mail order industry spent £741,000 on legal bills.

But the High Court upheld the UK's decision to end the tax relief for Jersey companies.

Senator Ian Gorst said he would do the same again faced with a similar threat to a major industry in Jersey

The loophole, known as Low Value Consignment Relief, meant no VAT was charged on goods under £15, such as CDs, when sent to the UK from outside of the European Union.

Stand for jobs

The chief minister told the States: "I still stand by that was the right decision to make and would argue strongly with any member who suggests it is not right for this government to stand up on behalf of employees and jobs in this community."

Jersey's Attorney General says he had confidence the island would win its case against the UK right up until the last moment.

Tim le Cocq said Jersey took expert legal advice and got an early hearing to see if the matter could be dealt with before the UK changed the law on low value imports from the Channel Islands.

He told the States it was essential the island had the best possible legal advice.

Mr le Cocq said: "I felt there was every prospect we would succeed in our argument until probably half-way through the judge was delivering his judgement."

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