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Statement by the President of the Committee for Economic Development

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Wednesday 07 September 2022

General Update

Sir, Members of the States

This is the third update as President of Economic Development and as we head towards mid-term, I would like to thank Members of my Committee for their support in the areas of Finance, Tourism, Skills and Enterprise and for the work conducted as liaison between Business and Government.

Strategy

The Committee is responsible for delivering a number of workstreams that have been prioritised in the Government Work Plan, including the development of a Human Capital Development Plan, undertaking initiatives that support emerging economic opportunities, including international trade agreements, promoting finance and green finance, tourism and the development of the blue and green economy.

I will spend the next few minutes giving a bit of a tour around our work programme and look forward to questions from Members.

Skills Strategy

What is a modern outward facing country like Guernsey without an educated and flexible workforce? It's a country at risk. A significant proportion of the Committee's work is GWP facing and one of the key outputs will be the Human Capital Development Plan.

I can report that the work is moving along nicely and with a fair wind and some grace from Treasury agreeing the budget, we will publish the Plan by quarter two 2023.

Digital Economy & Digital Strategy

The States agreed the roll out of the fibre network in 2021 and agreed to invest up to £12.5 million to accelerate the roll out of fibre.

This Co-ordinated investment in digital infrastructure, technologies and skills under the States of Guernsey Digital Framework across the public and private sectors will ensure that the Bailiwick of Guernsey is one of the most connected and digitally capable jurisdictions in the world.

4045 homes are now fibre ready.

1063 homes have either switched to fibre, or have booked to

700 new homes are being connected every month

This is a good new story and the whole Assembly should congratulate themselves in bringing this through in this term. You all own this one.

Finance Sector

The Committee proposed a significant uplift in the budget for Guernsey Finance in order to market Guernsey as a premier jurisdiction for the international finance sector. I am delighted to hear from the Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance that, having worked closely with Guernsey's financial services community, this investment is already bearing fruit:

The total Net Asset Value of Guernsey Funds has increased over the last quarter by £6.0 billion (2.0%) to £309.6 billion. This is the highest Net Asset Value for over a decade, the increase year on year is £45.9 billion or 17.4%. In addition, the Guernsey Green Fund has risen to £4.9 billion Net Asset Value.

The latest banking deposit figures have increased by £11.3 billion fromQ2 2021 to Q2 2022creating a new total of £50.6 billion. There has been an annual change in third-party deposits, increasing by 4.5% from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022 creating a new total of £92.4 billion.

The number of banking licenses remains constant at 20. 

We have been advised that three of every four finance leaders that Guernsey Finance have met with this year have seen consistent increases in their pipelines of work.

So, there is confidence and growth in our finance sector - and I would like to congratulate Guernsey Finance on their role in delivering this and assure Islanders that the Financial Sector is in very good shape.

International Trade Agreements

The work on International free trade agreements continues to progress at pace. I'm grateful to Deputy Le Tocq as External Relations lead and Deputy Moakes - along with our very competent officers for their consistent efforts.

Cannabis

The cannabis sector continues to receive support from Government and we are meeting with the representative body this month to discuss progress on matters of regulation.

Tourism

The Committee is investing £1.6 million in marketing the visitor economy this year and is pleased to report a continued post pandemic recovery for the visitor economy.

However, there are concerns with Condor's Schedule and I will be meeting with the Chief Executive of Condor to discuss improvements the company will need to make for 2023.

DMO

And..... the Committee has agreed the shape of the Destination Management Organisation. This will be presented this month to the industry.

Tourism Product Development Policy Letter

I've been assuring States Members that the 'Tourism Product Development Policy Letter' is coming. And it hasn't happened as quickly as I would have liked. I'm assured by officers that we will be ready to publish by the end of the year.

Victor Hugo Centre

I can announce today that, with the agreement of the Policy & Resources Committee, States Property Unit will enter discussions with Members of the Victor Hugo Centre Group about the possibility of them developing a Victor Hugo Centre in the Former States Office building at the North Esplanade, which will be privately funded. We will issue a media release with more details.

Air Connectivity

In June, the Committee for Economic Development approved the following strategic priorities for new route development in line with Guernsey's Air Policy Framework. And there are three areas of consideration:

Development of a second international hub

Development of greater connectivity opportunities with European destinations and further development of UK regional services, in areas not already served from Guernsey.

We have commissioned a consultancy to help us to understand the latest opportunities to develop new services on both un served routes and existing routes with growth potential.

Runway Extension

The Committee is under a States' resolution to report back to the States with a business case on the costs and benefits of a runway extension at Guernsey Airport and was originally planning to report back in Q2 of this year.

However, given STSB's Guernsey Airport Master Plan work, and further reports being commissioned as part of this work, it made sense to align our projects, in order to ensure that we are as joined up as possible with our respective analyses.

This has meant delaying the Committee's business case on the costs and benefits of a runway extension so that we can benefit from new information commissioned by STSB for the Guernsey Airport Master Plan project.  The Committee now expects to submit a business case in Q1 of 2023, for consideration by the States of Deliberation in Q2 2023 at the latest.

Conclusion

Sir, Members of the States. Guernsey and the Bailiwick is in a good place. We of course have challenges like anywhere else in the world; but nothing is insurmountable.

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