• The following statement was issued today by Shadow Minister of Finance Nick Kempe 

While the One Bermuda Alliance totally supports Government efforts to encourage companies affeccted by the EU Substance Act to remain and invest here, it hould bee noted that nothing announced by the Finance Minister recently was new.

The Act may cause some companies to move but it also presents an opportunity to create jobs for Bermudians as companies have to show increased economic substance here. Any increase in jobs for Bermudians is something the OBA welcomes and wholeheartedly supports.

International business relocating jobs here will also undoubtedly involve more guest workers and it is good to see Government taking a pro-business tone with policies that highlight the positive effect of guest workers to our economy as opposed to demonising them with divisive rhetoric.

The work permit policy referenced by the Minister was put in place by the OBA in 2012, the payroll tax relief he mentioned was rolled out last May for existing medium and large businesses relocating jobs to Bermuda and his statement also simply confirmed that closed categories will remain closed. So while we support these efforts, we believe they could have been rolled out and promoted months ago in line with, or in the lead up to, the tabling of our Substance Act. It is disappointing that we have missed out on precious months of business development.

In addition, the bundle of existing policies mentioned by the Minister were made to attract new jobs from overseas, but they will only ever truly work if comprehensive immigration reform is advanced, and quickly.

Seeing that Government has seemingly advanced OBA economic-immigration policy introduced to attract sorely needed foreign business and direct inward investment, how long until the PLP publicly recognise the need to fully address immigration reform in order to anchor the job creators?

The effect of the Act do pose a threat to Bermuda but also open up enormous potential to increase employment. Cayman has signaled its intent to try and take advantage and this Government must do the same. It has to do everything it can to create new jobs and reverse the disappointing trend we’ve witnessed in business confidence and economic performance since the election.