Jersey, Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a group of islands in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy, but dependent on the British Crown. They comprise two separate Bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey, and have a total population of about 160,000 with nearly 100,000 residing on Jersey.

The inhabited islands of the Channel Islands are Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm (the main islands); Jethou, Brecqhou, and Lihou. All of these except Jersey are in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, but the Minquiers, Écréhous, Les Dirouilles and Les Pierres de Lecq, uninhabited groups of islets, are part of the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Jersey is a wonderful place. Only a 30 minute flight from London, it is a mecca for extreme sports such as skydiving, kite surfing and surfing and the relaxed lifestyle, friendly people and tax benefits are a big draw to its residents. The cultural landscape of Jersey – its Norman style farmhouses, the narrow winding lanes and small fields, the French street names – reflect a fascinating and complex history that has entwined the Island in the fate of two great nations: Britain and France for over one thousand years.

Although diplomatic representation is reserved to the Crown, Jersey negotiates directly with foreign governments on matters within the competence of the States of Jersey. Jersey is a member of the British-Irish Council, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. Jersey is aiming to become a full member of the Commonwealth in its own right. In a survey of 700 people carried out by Channel Television in the summer of 2000, 68% supported independence from the United Kingdom and why not, they have plenty of money and can certainly support their business laden economy with their tax benefits.

Until the twentieth century, the States relied on indirect taxation to finance the administration of Jersey. The levying of duties was in the hands of the Assembly of Governor until 1921 when that body’s tax raising powers were transferred to the Assembly of the States, leaving the Assembly of Governor to serve simply as licensing bench for the sale of alcohol. The Income Tax Law of 1928 introducing income tax was the first law drafted entirely in English. Income tax has been levied at a flat rate of 20% for decades.

As VAT (value added tax) has not been levied in the Island, luxury goods have often been cheaper than in the UK or in France, providing an incentive for tourism from neighboring countries. The absence of VAT has also led to the growth of the fulfilment industry, whereby low-value luxury items, such as videos, lingerie and contact lenses are exported to the UK, avoiding VAT on arrival and thus undercutting UK prices on the same products.

One of the best things to me in Jersey was the wonderful hotel that I stayed at in the village of St. Aubin. The 30 room Hotel La Tour was a microscosm of Jersey in general. It has a long and interesting history that has seen a lot of changes and modernizations but in the end, very little has changed. It is still the same beautiful and charming place it was a century or two ago.

The proprietor of the hotel, my friend Simon, who is an extreme sports enthusiast and a bastion of information about the island couldn’t have been more accomodating, nice and helpful. The suite was fantastic with a unique character and wonderful sea view that you could only find in a place like Jersey. Simon and his staff were very generous and heartfelt in offering their recommendations and car around the island. For that I appreciate everything and look forward to visiting Jersey and certainly the Hotel La Tour again. When you do visit the Hotel La Tour, ask for Simon, and certainly ask for the Primrose Suite.

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  1. Hi Lee, I love jersey as well and have stayed there several times. Next time I will be sure to stay at the hotel you stayed–sounds lovely.

  2. I love Jersey but I still prefer Guernsey simply because it is quainter and less financial oriented.

  3. I actually did some surfing when I was in Jersey. It was strange to surf in the English Channel but it was very good. Sounds like you had a nice trip.

  4. Sounds much nicer than the Jersey where I live 🙂

  5. If you’re referring to the armpit of America then yes it’s definitely nicer, haha

  6. That’s SO much nicer than what I call it…

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