GP Opinion

Does splitting church tax set a precedent?

MUCH of the interest in this week’s States debate on parochial church property stems not from the proposed law – which was studiously unambitious – but from the amendments it faces. To have as many as four amendments to a projet at this stage is unusual and an indication that the long period of consultation, consideration and legal drafting has failed to satisfy some members that it has all been worth it. The latest amendment is a fundamental shift not just to this law but could be said have far-reaching implications for one of the central principles of taxation.

Letter puts pressure on Environment

WHILE done with the best of intentions, there is something uncomfortable about a large group of deputies writing to the Environment Department asking for it to grant permission for Green Acres Hotel to convert to a dementia care home. The deputies, led by Matt Fallaize, argue that it is ‘entirely appropriate’ for representatives of the people to speak out collectively and unequivocally on a subject about which they feel strongly. And yet. Should politicians seek to interfere with a quasi-judicial process which they have delegated to one department?

Clear issues over digital greenhouse

IF YOU believe the adage that ‘people living in greenhouses shouldn’t throw stones’, you might have been surprised at the reaction the Commerce and Employment Department received last week when it attempted to move forward with its ‘Digital Greenhouse’ plans. Certainly the department’s board members and staff seemed shocked at the critical, bordering on hostile, reaction its plans received from the very people it thought would be enthusiastic users of the space it is so keen to open. It would have been clear to see through the panes that all was not well.

Developing the meaning behind plans

THERE are many similarities between the draft Island Development Plan and the Personal Tax, Benefits and Pensions review. Both are of huge importance and seek to set the agenda for years to come, both are a series of interlocking measures and both are of huge complexity. But it is in how they are received that they share the greatest bond. Both encourage islanders to look at the big picture knowing that most people will choose first to examine how it directly affects them.

Cut out the abuse or cut off the cell phones

IT IS hard to imagine a worse breach of the trust which was invested by the prison when they gave inmates telephones in their cells. Via his father, a prisoner calls the victim of his indecent assault and asks her to drop the charges against him. Thankfully, she had the courage to recognise who was calling, put the phone down and, instead of losing all faith in the justice system and its ability to protect her, press on with the conviction.

Review is too important to play to empty halls

THE contrast was stark. A few months after thousands of islanders gathered in the North Beach car park to demand that politicians listened to their cry of ‘Enough is Enough’ just a handful turned up at the Grammar School to hear about fundamental changes to island society.

Housing need must be part of review

FOR some islanders the concept of leaving their native Guernsey is unthinkable, yet for hundreds of others that drastic life change is becoming a real prospect.

Just how tight are these budgets?

ENVIRONMENT’S decision to press ahead with the bus contract and find £300,000 from its existing budget to improve the service raises more questions than it answers.

Competition for doctors is healthy

OUTSIDE of the three GP practices, there will not be many people who read Cicra’s report and see it, as they do, as a ‘vindication’ of the role of doctors in the primary healthcare system.

Miliband's PR politics has no time for facts

IN THE fast-paced world of populist politics it is important to keep moving. Stand still too long and people demand detail behind the soundbite and annoying things such as facts get in the way.

Building firms look to plan ahead too

SEARCH for the word ‘construction’ in Commerce and Employment’s business plan for 2015 and it comes up just once – and that’s for health and safety.

GST refuses to go away quietly

LIKE a spectre at the feast, GST dominates all aspects of the personal tax review, despite being supposedly killed off before its publication.

Painful package will be a hard sell

IN SCALE, breadth and ambition, it is safe to say that few States reports since the Second World War can match the personal tax, pensions and benefits review.

Out-of-Town shops need support too

‘All stakeholders, including the States, landlords, retailers, staff and shoppers, are important and need to be seen to be playing their part in the ongoing success of Guernsey retail.’

Cash gap will force strategy off the roads

THE seeds of destruction sown in November by more than 2,000 people gathered in the North Beach car park bore fruit yesterday as width and emissions taxes were given short shrift.

The cost of operating in isolation

ANYONE searching for expenses revelations along the lines of MPs’ duck houses and second homes will be sadly disappointed by today’s travel costs for States departments.

Liberation Day debate comes too late

IT IS fanciful, certainly, but entirely possible to imagine that someone welcoming the troops coming ashore from HMS Bulldog on the first Liberation Day might have worked out that, exactly seven decades later, similar celebrations would have to be carried out on a Saturday.