Comment - page 2

What faith can island have in costs?

HOW palatable the costs of the new waste strategy seem depends on how thinly you slice the salami. At the wafer thin end of the scale the average household is expected to spend just £6 of their £1,000 weekly household expenditure funding the collection and disposal of recyclables and black bag waste. Moving that along it sounds quite a bit scarier at £364 a year, or more than £7,000 over the two-decade life of the scheme.

Education up against it to deliver the goods on time

New Committee for Education, Sport & Culture member Deputy Neil Inder.

After eight months treading water and now with less than half of that time to devise a new secondary school system, Nick Mann asks whether it really is reasonable to expect Education, Sport & Culture to deliver a coherent policy within that timeframe given that four out of five of the committee have strong objections to an all-ability system

The heat is on to sort out waste quickly

AS A pall of smoke spread over the north of the island yesterday morning it became clear that things were hotting up in waste management. For the third time in a month Mont Cuet tip was on fire, creating hazardous conditions for firefighters and staff. The ecosystem of the tip has been upset, it seems, because up to 1,500 tonnes of green waste has built up since the shredder broke down just before Christmas.

A rough road ahead

The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, led by Deputy Paul Le Pelley, has Peter Roffey’s support following their survival of the motion of no confidence. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 17143408)

Having survived a motion of no confidence, the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has Peter Roffey’s wholehearted backing for the mammoth task ahead. A three-school model is the best way forward, he says – and he takes issue with a part of last week’s debate that had him spitting feathers

‘Ditch and switch’ still long way off

FINALLY it seems we may have actually turned a corner with Guernsey’s once embattled bus service. News this week that record passenger figures saw a total 1,653,728 people travelling on scheduled services last year – an increase of 146,927 compared with 2015 – all feels like progress. The figure, representing 9.75% growth on the previous year and the highest number of passengers since data was first collected this way in 1996, is 50,000 more than the previous annual record of 1,607,017 back in 2010.

Not a good time to pop the corks

IT IS hard to judge what the mood will be like at Wednesday’s Chief Pleas meeting in Sark. The obvious concern should be for the economy and the loss of jobs that has come with the sudden closure of Sark Vineyards. For any of the other islands in the Bailiwick the demise of a substantial business that attracted millions of pounds of outside investment would be seen as a bitter blow to the economy.

All of States promises to end selection

IN ONE of the most bizarre political twists the States yesterday turned on its head. When all the votes were counted, a committee steadfast in its commitment to bring in all-ability schools was kept in power by 18 staunch exponents of selection. In a debate that was supposedly about integrity, commitment and ability – and nothing to do with the merits of selection – only four out of 38 deputies changed sides from the 21-19 vote on the 11-plus. Five abstained and the rest voted along party lines.

Marking the cost of free education

COUNTING the cost of the free pre-school scheme is easy. Determining its value is much harder. At first glance, the cost of £1.2m. a year seems high, especially when Education explains that, even before the scheme started, only 12% of 3- and 4-year-olds had never attended pre-school before going to primary school. That’s 64 out of 550. If those 64 were the only target it would make the cost per pupil a mighty £20,000 each.

Freedom of Information Act not front and centre

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More than 10 years ahead in its approach to the information act, Jersey has moved from a code to a full-blown law. In comparison, the way Guernsey’s code has been treated hardly encourages its use, suggests Nick Mann

Moving towards a solution

A CAUTIOUS optimism may be beginning to build around a potential new home for Fontaine Vinery’s ‘Freds in the Sheds’ yet, understandably, no one is getting too carried away. The quest to help relocate the 11 small businesses now on notice to leave the St Sampson’s land has proved an interminable dilemma – not just for the light-industrial firms involved but the States too, which had envisaged it as a temporary solution as far back as 2007. Earmarked for social housing for 20 years, the site’s embattled tenants have long faced uncertainty of where they and their compounds could end up shifting to next.

Growing fitter to face the future

IT MAY make a snappy headline, but the ‘Fat Man of Europe’ tag that haunts the UK is far from a good look for our mainland neighbour. Recent Government figures there, mercilessly delivered just days after Christmas, show eight in 10 middle-aged adults as being dangerous unhealthy due to diet, alcohol, a desk-bound work culture and family pressures. Yet our own vital statistics have not escaped this creeping fallout of modern living, with public health bosses rating Guernsey’s health figures as ‘broadly similar’.

Health to be called to account

Health & Social Care needs to deliver if the States is ever to get its spending under control. There has been a shift in expectations in recent years with the purse strings being loosened for its budget and more confidence that the team in place will be able to make the multi-million savings in the future that have been identified. It is fast becoming time to come good on those expectations.

Mont Cuet reaches its tipping point

THERE have been many predictions about the likely lifespan of the Mont Cuet tip. Most have proven to be wildly inaccurate. Often the figure was a guesstimate designed to suit the argument of whichever political body was in charge at the time. Usually, it was a failed attempt to apply some urgency to the debate about what to do when the tip is full.

2017 agenda will feel akin to climbing Alpe d’Huez

Stylised pics of the Alpe d'Huez for POLITICS Page.

The 11-plus vote apart, the States has been largely marking time since the general election at the end of April. But this year will be a lot different, says Nick Mann. Starting with a vote of no confidence in Education, Sport & Culture, big debates, including the waste strategy and the island-wide voting referendum, will follow one after the other

Information code needs to be spurred on

WITHOUT fresh impetus, Guernsey’s information code will remain little more than tokenism. Passed with some fanfare early last term as a sign of a commitment to openness and transparency, and importantly as a driver to change, its slow-burn implementation is symptomatic of the malaise that has set in. It was imperfect when it was introduced and its operation has proven painfully slow at times, one request from this newspaper took more than a year to respond to, making the information largely irrelevant in terms of accountability, while others remain unanswered after several months.