Comment - page 2

IDP fallout from house target move

IT was a tough ride for the Housing Department in the States this week. Politics aside, the decision of the Assembly to order it to carry out a new, improved housing needs survey has consequences elsewhere.

Late for the bell

The education debate is badly timed, Peter Roffey believes, but vital nonetheless. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 10958250)

As islanders offer their views to the States on the future of Guernsey’s education system, Peter Roffey examines the problems with the timing and suggests it could prove divisive come election time

Ballot result bound to split union voters

IN MANY ways the only good thing about the ballot vote for public sector pensions is the result. Everything else could not be worse. Not only was it a narrow overall majority rather than a resounding victory but individual unions voted either heavily in favour or heavily against.

States finds new ways to inflict pain

TWO large carrots were dangled in front of islanders when the States proposed its personal tax and benefits review. One was that it was revenue neutral. This was not to be a means of fleecing islanders in many extra ways, it was a question of rebalancing the books so the island was not so heavily dependent on income tax.

Health at the heart of 2016 Budget

YEAR after year Health and Social Services has been the beating heart of States budgets and accounts. For much of this decade it has been attacked and criticised for being unable to meet its savings targets and regularly busting its budget.

Budget’s sting will need good arguments behind it


With the release of the 2016 budget today, the island will begin to get an inkling of whether or not the States has made all the savings it promised during the last year. Nick Mann predicts that the minister is going to face a lot of questions over plans to raise extra funds through new taxes, even if the controversial GST is off the table...

Cinderella service gets a new home

IN SIX weeks the Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre opens its doors to the public – and, more importantly, to the patients it was designed to help.

Police charge puts charity into a spin

POLICE argue they are being careful with public money in times of austerity. It is now a common refrain from States departments as charging for public services increasingly becomes the norm.

Scrutinising scrutiny

Deputy Heidi Soulsby has called into question the project to replace the Leopardess, which Peter Roffey argues is a prime case for a ‘one-off, subject-specific PAC review’. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 10832728)

Peter Roffey takes a closer look at the States scrutinising committees and considers the projects that got the treatment, those that didn’t and those that still could

Bring Town’s playground back to life

AMBITIOUS plans to breathe new life into La Vallette bathing pools and the surrounding area are to be welcomed. At its heart is a community spirit to pick up the pieces where the States has been unable to do enough.

Time to take guesswork out of GDP

IT IS hard to know whether to be pleased or annoyed by Treasury’s proposals to modernise the way the island calculates its GDP. Pleased because it will finally give the island confidence in a key economic indicator; annoyed because such a manifestly good idea has taken so long to implement.

C&E not convincing over need for shiny new toy


The jokers liken sea fisheries protection vessel the Leopardess to the Olympic flame – it never goes out. That’s a bit harsh, but, says Nick Mann, Commerce and Employment has a job on its hands to convince States members that the island should spend nearly £3m. to replace a boat which was given another 10 years’ service just three years ago

In danger of mis-selling


This year’s uprating report is guaranteed to spark public debate, as it leaves behind the realms of familiarity and heads firmly into the controversial. Peter Roffey considers the options and comes down in favour of the poor and the people who’ve already paid up

Liberation back-up is not robust

FOUR months ago a reader of this newspaper became the latest to challenge Condor about its UK autumn schedule. C. Ryan of St Martin’s warned that Condor’s decision to take the Clipper out of service for more than a month made the island entirely reliant on the Liberation for its UK passenger service and put the link at risk.

The future of education is up for debate

TODAY lights the fire of a debate that will rage through to the end of this political term and beyond. It is a discussion on the shape of education for the foreseeable future and therefore a debate on the coming shape of island society.

Pension pot value set to decrease

HAVING twice tried and twice failed to get the States to raise the amount employers pay towards pensions and other benefits Social Security has found another way to balance its books: reduce the value of pensions. The effects will not be immediately obvious, nor in the short-term that dramatic. Government has learned that it is often easier to phase in unpopular measures on the basis that people care less about what happens to the next generation than to themselves.