Tuesday 24 October 2023
The members of the Policy & Resources Committee have met today and discussed the possibility of a motion of no confidence being brought by some members of the States Assembly. The members respect the right of Deputies to bring a motion of no confidence if they choose to do so. But they have agreed they will not resign and intend to continue in their posts, working towards improving Guernsey's financial position, taking forward the resolutions of last week's Funding & Investment Plan debate.
The Committee put forward three scenarios to the Assembly last week. The Committee's recommended tax package (Scenario 3) was unsuccessful. Other tax reform options brought by other members, focusing on corporate tax changes or increasing income tax, were also rejected. However, a number of important resolutions were agreed in line with the Committee's proposed 'Scenario 1'. In summary, the States agreed to:
Continue with capital projects that are already in flight.
Fund a small list of high priority capital projects including housing and regeneration at the Bridge and phase 2 of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, but not the Post-16 Campus at Les Ozouets.
Use reserves and borrowing if necessary, to fund the estimated £340m cost of the agreed capital projects.
Raise limited additional revenues through a combination of corporate taxes (estimated at £15m per annum) and transport taxes (estimated at £10m per annum), as well as reducing the cost of public services (£10m per annum).
With regard to the revenue-raising and cost reduction measures, the work to agree detailed proposals for how these will be achieved is ongoing and will require further States approval. This work is now even more important, in light of the States rejecting any form of sustainable tax package. Therefore, the Committee believes it is right that they remain in post to expedite that work, rather than cause a delay which would be inevitable with a change in membership at this time.
The Committee has a wide mandate and there are many other important pieces of work progressing now which should not be delayed. For example, the Committee will very soon be leading the debate on the 2024 Budget and the next Government Work Plan policy letter. Work is also progressing quickly to develop proposals for providing more housing and the regeneration of the Bridge, with the availability and affordability of housing still being the Committee's and the States' top priority. And work continues on the preparations for the important Moneyval inspection which will take place next year.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee said
"We've given careful consideration to what is the right and responsible thing to do, noting the feedback we have had from States colleagues and members of the community. We accept the decision of the States last week, and we now have a job and a duty to get on with taking forward the resolutions so we can do as much as possible to improve the financial position and progress the essential infrastructure projects that were supported. Undeniably, this States is divided and that has made progress extremely challenging this term, but resigning from our posts won't change that and it would only serve to slow any progress further.
While talk of resignations and motions of no confidence leads to exciting headlines, it's important to keep some perspective. Guernsey remains an extremely safe, stable jurisdiction when compared to anywhere in the world. Day-to-day public services continue as ever, provided by our hardworking teams across the public sector. We have a strong economy, high employment, great opportunities and very good quality of life. We will continue to work to ensure we preserve what makes Guernsey special, and do all we can to meet the challenges the island still faces."