GP Opinion

Care costs must be seen in the round

APPEARING to attack the island’s health system and the individuals who make it work is always fraught, especially for a newspaper that supports the free market.

A coded way of cutting health care

WHEN government departments start looking to reduce the amount they spend, it is always useful to remember that the words used will be in code. So when Health and Social Services says it plans to cut out ‘low-priority’ drugs, therapies and treatments, it actually means this: we are starting to ration your health care.

Conflicts are actually welcome if...

MANY will applaud the news that the States Assembly and Constitution Committee (Sacc) is to look at the whole issue of the compatibility of deputies’ business and other interests with their role as people’s representatives.

Focus does need to be on growth

ONE of the worrying figures used by the Treasury minister recently when he was separately talking to the Chamber of Commerce and Institute of Directors was the decline in the number of people working in the financial services sector. That fell by more than 130 last year alone and seems to suggest an industry that, if not actually in decline, is going through significant change.

Quote shows the lack of leadership

IF THERE is one quote that sums up the manifestly absurd position of the longevity of the States’ gold-plated final salary pension scheme, it is this: ‘Sadly it has become virtually unaffordable for any organisation which wishes to have a solvent future to maintain defined benefit [final salary] schemes which allow members to retire in their 60s with, on average, at least 20 years of retirement ahead of them.’

Wanted: a board for Guernsey plc

IN AN interview last week, a Republican Congress member lamented that his $174,000 salary (nearly £105,000) wasn’t enough to be able to live ‘decently’ in Washington, DC, even though it is nearly 100% more than the median household income in the area. Highlighting the level to which American politicians are underpaid, he said: ‘I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.’

Lack of oversight is a worry

ON FRIDAY, we argued that the time had come to separate the function of HM Procureur and the Law Officers from that of legal advisers to the States of Guernsey. Since then, it has become clear that a number of ministers also have concerns about the concentration of significant power in one area.

Time to split roles of HM Procureur

ONE of the topics on the chief minister’s wish-list of things to get done is exploring whether it is possible to give Guernsey greater autonomy in making its own laws. If primary legislation no longer needs to be approved by the Privy Council then the whole process is speeded up.

Reform is a matter of obligation

AS THE public sector pensions debacle rolls on, increasing numbers of people are contacting this newspaper to ask why the States superannuation fund appears to defy gravity and rolls on costing taxpayers dearly while raking up a half-billion pound deficit and more than halving the island’s declared balance of £995m. The short answer is that we do not know – and the lack of urgency in dealing with this is breathtaking.

So much for joined-up government

A CHANGE of use application to redevelop the former Green Acres Hotel into a specialist care home lifted the lid on the extent of the dementia crisis facing the island.

It all makes sense to taxpayers

OUR disclosures on Thursday that four States departments could be shed under wide-ranging plans to streamline government and reduce the size of the public sector sent a frisson around the establishment.

Strategies won’t make a difference

THANKS to an interview with Deputies Yvonne Burford and Barry Brehaut, islanders now have a better understanding of what led to the minority transport report.

The wrong questions were asked

NEWS that those with access to a private parking space in Town might soon have to pay income tax on the presumed cash value of that perk is not some pie-in-the-sky musing from the minority report to the island’s proposed traffic strategy.

Demand equals a new parish

WHEN the Treasury minister was talking to the Chamber of Commerce last week about the issues facing Guernsey in the long run and why a GST was required – not, he emphasised, to fill the current deficit – he spoke about the consequences of population increase.

Another failure from Environment

BURIED in the voluminous and impenetrable Environment Department report which claims to offer an integrated on-island transport strategy for Guernsey is a key statistic.

SJA pension collapse is a warning

FOR the 28 St John Ambulance and Rescue staff who received a letter explaining that management want to close their final salary pension scheme by the end of next month, the news will have come as a blow.

A housing trap is now triggered

GUERNSEY’S Housing minister is a doughty champion of the underdog and during his term of office, thanks to the Guernsey Housing Association, there has been a transformation in the way the island provides what used to be called States but is now social or affordable housing.

Failing to meet island aspirations

WHEN the last Housing Needs Survey was published based on 2011 data, it showed that an additional 2,253 households needed to be created over the next five years to meet demand.

The future comes with a price tag

COMMENTS made in recent days by the new chief minister and the head of Treasury and Resources ultimately boil down to one thing: what sort of future this island wants.

C&L’s time has now finally come

A CALL by the new chief minister for a smaller, slimmer States with fewer departments has been enthusiastically endorsed by a number of his colleagues.

Answers are still needed about CISX

ABOUT the same time that the Assembly was considering who to select to replace the chief minister in the aftermath of the CISX affair, news was spreading that non-executive directors of the exchange had finally broken their silence.

Managing conflicts is not new

IN ITS second piece on the CISX affair, satirical magazine Private Eye speculates that the reason for the resignation of the chief minister is because there is more and worse to come from the investigation into the matter by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Addiction to secrecy is widespread

NOW that the unredacted version of the Lightfoot review into the operation of the Ambulance and Rescue Service has finally been released, it is possible to see that withholding the information was secrecy for the sake of secrecy.

What was rejected to get GST?

WHEN the Assembly does finally debate the introduction of a general sales tax, slated for implementation in 2019, States members of the day need to look for something specific.