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Economy & Business

SWOT 1: A summary of Strengths

Imagine a business or economic consultant starting a basic assessment of the island

Holding the links together

A would-be business or economic consultant is asked to compile a provocative list of Guernsey’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  This might be the first component:

  • Rule of law, respect for human rights, freedom of speech
  • Stable system of government, regular elections
  • Open economy not (hitherto) hostage to local politics.
  • Fixed currency.
  • Independent jurisdiction (defence and foreign affairs are responsibility of UK).
  • A tax-neutral jurisdiction – ideal for fund administration.
  • Local powers of taxation.  Consistent tax levels suggest valuable predictability.
  • Sense of balance ingrained in approach to public finances, so size of public sector relative to economy regarded as acceptable.
  • Independent press and broadcast media.
  • High quality telecoms.
  • Attractive to wealthy rentier class, thanks to ingenuity of Open Market housing arrangements.
  • Tendency to full-employment economy. Use of short-term housing licences provides flexible labour for hotel/ restaurant/retail sectors and cushion in weaker times.
  • Local community small enough for people to know each other or be just one or two steps removed.
  • Cleavages of class, religion, race, wealth, income and power less intense than elsewhere.
  • Social cohesion relatively high.  Strong third sector, high participation in outdoor, sporting and arts activities.
  • Reputation for openness to outsiders, if not to rapid change.
  • Long and colourful history of independence combined with loyalty to the Crown, and of calculated adjustment to outside pressures.
  • Not part of UK or EU – just part of British Isles.
  • Established tradition of nimbleness and innovation within most sectors of finance industry, despite being broadly low value-added activities.

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