Economic development programme for Alderney

Building infrastructure and investing in the future

‘So close – so different’ is the marketing line for Alderney, the smallest of the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey & Alderney), and they are right. With its pristine beaches and very favorable tax regimes – think offshore near-shore. Offering an environment with no corporation tax, no inheritance tax, personal tax with an upper limit of just 20% and no sales tax for domiciled residents, on the face of it, it’s a wonder that people are leaving the island and not flocking to it.

But the two main reasons for its aging and declining population (Census 2013 having just been published) are brutally simple; inadequate infrastructure and investment. The Island runways cannot currently accept larger or executive aircraft; connectivity is via microwave technology, which can sometimes be hampered by atmospheric conditions, and power is expensive. Now that might just be what a high net worth, media shy individual is looking for, but that breed is rare.

The States of Alderney has owed allegiance to the English Crown for over 900 years yet is not part of the EU so funds and resources are limited. However this is not slowing down the Island, which has considerable ambitions to put itself on the map economically and as the ideal place to live.

Competition for that accolade is stiff even from the larger Islands in the English Channel, but Alderney has put in place an innovative strategy for growth. The challenge the Island is addressing is to create greater self-sufficiency whilst not degrading the heritage and natural beauty that makes Alderney what it is today.

One of the Island’s biggest source of revenue, tourism, had also started to decline, at which point the States called in Growth Catalyst specialist Be a Tiger during 2012 to advise and implement a communications strategy to stop the decline and put the best foot forward for the Island.  With this successfully underway, not wanting to fall in to the trap that some of the one revenue stream cities or countries have fallen into, the Island took the ambitious step to start address the commercial opportunities for Alderney and set about to create action plans to stimulate and underpin growth.

Led by enthusiastic and dedicated local politicians and supported by BAT, a group of the Island’s business men and women and some highly motivated and passionate members of the population have created the Alderney Enterprise Group (AEG) under which four action plans have been forged to equip the Island to attract and retain the best of the best.

Results to date:

A new approach was proposed and adopted that looked at the positive catalytic effect of the initiatives and not just trying to address each problem in isolation.

BAT created a framework for AEG team’s comprehensive set of objectives with a clear, timescale defined action plan for the States of Alderney to enact.

BAT delivered a proposal for 100% electricity self-sufficiency from sustainable sources that can provide energy security, environmental sustainability and economic development for the Island.

BAT has secured indicative interest in funding for the initiatives, has had in-depth dialogue with International Finance Corporations, Private Equity Groups, Developers, Vendor Capital Groups and Business Angels and Utility Funds.

Across the projects BAT has access to $200m of capital that could be structured as debt, equity or development funds.

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"We now have a good tourism offer but these action plans are about sustainable and diversified wealth creation and management on the Island, not just beholden to the tourist pound.

The Be a Tiger team has helped create the AEG for Business Development and we are confident that the Island can become more self-sufficient, starting by exploring ways to attract a number of services companies who will benefit from the new infrastructure alongside the quality of life and low tax environment."

- Neil Harvey, Chairman of Business Development, Tourism and Marketing Committee