'Use taxes to help poor to live a healthy life'

STATES policies need to focus on giving everybody fair access to health resources and reducing poverty, the director of public health has said.

STATES policies need to focus on giving everybody fair access to health resources and reducing poverty, the director of public health has said.

In his annual Medical Officer of Health report, Dr Stephen Bridgman, pictured, said it was important to tackle poverty and health equity – the view that everyone has a fair opportunity to their health potential – now because it would have major benefits for the island in the future.

He claimed local research had shown a significant minority of islanders did not have fair access to health resources and that was partly down to government policies.

In the report he said income was a key factor as to why people did not have fair access to health and a review of the tax and benefit system could solve this.

Figures also suggested about 10,000 people – 16% of the population  – were estimated to be poor with a low income.

Comments for: "'Use taxes to help poor to live a healthy life'"


Well said Dr Bridgman. About time government addresses poverty and relative poverty as a matter of URGENCY.

Where is the report? It says it has been published but as usual I cannot find it on the SOG website. Maybe all SOG departments should follow Education's lead and have a user friendly dedicated website for news and information pertaining to each department.

Neil Forman


I think this is the one.


Yvonne Burford

It is this one:


Neil Forman

Thanks Yvonne.


Yvonne Burford

Thanks, finding important information on SOG website seems to be a persistent problem for the public. Is anything being done to address this?

I don't understand Horace Camp's stance on this report, he is usually spot on with his tweets but seems to be sticking his head in the sand this time.

Yvonne Burford

Ironically I cannot get onto the site at all at the moment to remind myself how I found the report, but I managed to find it quickly. Perhaps it had not been posted when others looked.

I certainly find the site much better since the revamp but the search facility can still be frustrating at times.

If you have a specific problem with the site let me know and I will chase it up.


Yvonne Burford

The problem is illogical naming of documents which is an obstacle when using the search engine.

This document is called "113th Annual report" - who knew?

If you type in annual report you have reams to search through so you would need to type in 113th to get a result. Useless!

Thanks for your help.

Yvonne Burford

OK now accessed site.

On the home page I clicked on 'Health and Wellbeing' and on the bottom of that page is the link to the document.

But you are absolutely right that I cannot find it via the search engine (assuming that I did not know the 113th bit, and why should anyone?)

I will ask the question as I think it is important that not only are these things available but they are easily accessible.

Yvonne Burford


I have enquired of the person who is responsible for the website and this is the condensed response:

"I will remind all Departments about how they name their documents. This will have been a title created within a department but it overlooks how people might search for it.

Basically in a search looking for the words Medical, Officer, Health and Report couldn't instantly find them in that order. There are lists of search results of pages and documents that feature those words but because the documents itself was titled 113th annual report it was struggling.....not surprisingly!

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I'll attend to it. The search facility on this system is actually pretty good, however, it does take quite a while to make all contributing staff aware of best practice"

Hope this helps.


Thanks Yvonne.


I know it's a radical suggestion, but couldn't some of those who are allegedly living in "poverty" actually do something about it and maybe go and get themselves a JOB. There is no excuse for any able-bodied person not to have a job in Guernsey, I know that the hours may not fit in with their social lives but that's no excuse, I'm getting seriously fed up with paying for lazy people who do nothing all day except smoke, drink, watch TV etc.

There are any number of pubs, restaurants, shops, growers etc who have jobs available, why shouldn't "jobseekers" be forced into these jobs rather than just doling out benefits to them ad infinitum?


You are taking about 400 or so people who are unemployed, the majority of whom are genuine cases, whereas this problem is about 10,000 people living in poverty in Guernsey and the ramifications of that.

sarnia expat

Teams working out in the Community are aware of the poverty; they see it every day - but they are the "hidden" poor. These people do not ask for help, (unlike some of the work shy scroungers on the dole who demand everything as a right) - but who need to be helped. I believe we already have a very good health service here, but it is abused by people continue to smoke/eat obsessively/do drugs/drink - and then demand to be "put right" - at tax payers expense it has to be said.

Where does the number 10,000 come from?


There is around 1% of the workforce unemployed at the moment. Even if every single one of these "lazy" people were "go and get themselves a JOB" it would hardly make much of a dent in the 16% of the population to which Dr Bridgman refers. Which of these others are you fed up with paying for?


I think we all know that the figure is hugely overstated, I don't believe for one second that there are 10,000 genuinely "poor" people over here. Relative poverty is a largely useless measure, just because someone has an income lower than a certain % of the average does not make them "poor". Poor is when you can't afford to put food on the table or a roof over your head, not when you can't afford the latest pair of Nike for your child or a couple of foreign holidays a year.



That's your prejudice not based on facts.

I predict an enormous increase in mental health problems and stress related long term illness in the next 10 years unless the issues of relative poverty are addressed.

Supplementary benefit recipients are given root canal work and new teeth whereas independent low or middle earners can only afford to have teeth extracted due to the costs of food on the table and roof over head. That's not right!

There is a division in our society. It's a problem.



Exactly right, you should never have to make the choice between putting food on the table instead of going to the Dr if you are ill.

Taxpayer, his report is not aiming at the people you are quoting. It the aged on minimum pensions who never attempt to claim for anything and are very independent, they are the one's who are suffering.


I would like to comment at this point, that I have always worked, and someone please correct me if i'm wrong, but don;t the unemployed get free dental and medical / GP visits?

However as someone who was working hard several years ago, paying my way, and living on my own, I often found it hard to make ends meet, and with no health insurance or dental insurance, often had to make hard choices when it came to needing to visit the Doctor. and Often couldn't afford the dentist.

Also for the record I don't smoke, and rarely drink. I had just about enough money for my monthy bills.


In an Island which has based its economy on zero-10.... and has a personel tax relief of less than £10,000.

Theres not a snowballs chance in hell that anything will be done, its not the party policy.


Absolutely right, Guernsey's government seems to be fully committed to looking after the wealthiest industries and individuals - generally at the expense of everyone regardless of their income.


Well however they go about addressing this I just hope they don't go for the easy target (the middle income bracket) like most governments seem obsessed with doing. Everyone is struggling and pushing more people into poverty won't help.


Has the good doctor thought of turning it on its head by investigating whether or not the medical profession's charges are too high?


whats that phase, Ray?

'Turkeys don't vote for Christmas'

The good DOCTOR would never see that, but you are so right, we're not on the poverty line, thank god, but I do balk at what Dr's charge over here and freely admit that sometimes I put off going as it's just too damned expensive.


I don't entirely understand how we don't get equal access unless the difference is private medical insurance?

Whatever the reason this is concerning and I would like to know more about the policies he thinks causes the issue.


"fair access to health resources" I'm guessing this might mean quality of healthy living rather than quality of medical treatment.

The problems of poverty create obstacles for the "prevention is better than cure" mantra in relation to physical and mental health.


You mean like eating healthy food, access to exercise and social activities are too expensive kind of thing?

He also said about putting a tax on fizzy drinks. I would be all for this if the money went towards a free childrens dentist service again - which I guess would help those poorest here.

I also think we should start producing our own produce on a greater scale. Food prices are going up and continue to go up. Those poorest will find it harder to afford fruit and veg if it continues to be mainly imported in the long run. I think vertical farming would be the solution. Its doing well in Singapore if your interested. It is also environmentally friendly, would mean food is fresher and local. Probably expensive to start with but price would come down if people took to the idea and demand increased.



Yes and childhood stress due to deprivation leading to higher likelihood of ailments later on. Alcoholism, smoking, eating disorders, and drug addiction as mentioned by Sarnia expat are all correlated to mental health and poverty.

Tax on sugary drinks is about time too, and time for a cultural shift within schools as they currently seem to promote poor eating.

Excellent idea about vertical farming, also roof gardens and window boxes should all be considered and promoted in conjunction with social housing projects in my opinion.


I have expressed my opinion on the Jersey EP comments that too many buy pre-prepared food when there is a lot of good local produce as I'm sure Guernsey has the same.

Crisps, fizzy drinks, pre-prepared meals should all be taxed to make fresh produce more attractive.

Chewing gum should be taxed at 1,000%.


Spartacus unlike you.

Where is your evidence that schools promote unhealthy eating . I think you will find that the vast majority of schools in Guernsey have positive accreditation through the Healthy Schools Initiative.

Yvonne Burford

I tend to agree with Spatacus. I suppose it depends what your interpretation of healthy eating is. Sausage and mash followed by chocolate cake is an example of a school meal. It is some considerable distance from my view of healthy food, others may disagree. I was also surprised to find that teachers give the children sweets, both ad hoc and as 'rewards'.



On a school trip a child was given a packet of crisps by the teacher in pity as they were the odd one out because they had an apple.

One whole term of food technology lessons is devoted to "high calorie foods" (actual title of the course module) meaning cakes and biscuits, chocolates and sweets justified by the curriculum apparently. Extra is cooked to contribute towards the endless cake sales.

Everyone brings unhealthy snacks and meals into schools. There is a canteen which sells the very popular sausage rolls amongst other things contrary to the well publicised medical recommendation that processed meat should never be eaten.

Vending machines offer a range of unhealthy drinks and snacks, usually for consumption between meals at break times twice a day. Most children I am informed drink fizzy drinks, squash or juices all day long even between meals. If schools were to make a start in changing culture they should outlaw all drinks but water in my opinion.

Well meaning responsible parents do not stand a chance against the level of peer pressure and cultural norms of teenagers especially when this culture is perpetuated by the school and therefore unavoidable. Jamie Oliver would tear his hair out.


Spartacus. Totally agree with your comments regarding sweet drinks and rubbish food in schools. When our daughter was at one of the local state schools it was a constant source of irritation that neither were being tackled, and nor was the littering in the playground which every day was picked up by the school caretaker. I was informed by the headmaster that it was the parents themselves that would not support the changes that I would have liked to see.

It is in all our interests that children are brought up understanding the need to lead a healthy lifestyle incorporating good fresh food and plenty of exercise, neither of which need be expensive. If they are not being taught that at home, then as a community we should be ensuring that our schools do all that is possible to create that culture.


I completely agree Spartacus. Working at a school in the UK, I had students really under the poverty line who were given discount crisps and chocolate bars to their children. Their concentration and attainment in classes was, as you can expect, well below what it should be.

Now I'm working at a school that provides students with fruit at break time, there are no vending machines in sight and only water is allowed in the school building. The school caffeteria provides healthy school meals with a balanced meal (carbohydrates, protein, vegetales, and salad). All food is freshly prepared at the school and nothing is processed. It REALLY DOES make a difference to behaviour and attentîon levels. There's no afternoon sugar slump.

If school meals were obligatory and snacks provided by the school there would be a shift in the attainment grades on the island and it would work towards instilling in students the necessity of a healthy lifestyle.

It can be done. It just needs the funding and a strict line drawn with expectations. It would also save those parents struggling to afford good, fresh food for their children money as they would not have to provide break and lunch... I all helps.


Some good points here. As a parent I've seen first hand the effect of the suger high/crash that comes with high sugar foods. Expecting kids to concentrate in class with poor diet is unfair on them.


Island girl

Excellent post.

Family allowance could be scrapped which would cover school meals and there would still be savings.

Neil Forman


This is a good idea and should be explored.

Spartacus, Dani, Rosie, Yvonne & egalitarian

I agree with this, what are your thoughts on family allowance being paid till school age and then being used to offset the funding for this?

It ensures that children get healthy meals and might improve concentration.

We could also use locally grown and support the growing industry and possibly expand it, so it could be a win win situation here.

I also like the idea of schools teaching children to grow their own.



I think its better to see what parents receiving it may think. I would be very cautious about playing with family allowance. For now I'd plump for using current resources to fund it.

I would also like to say congratulations on being voted onto the St Peter Port Douzaine!

Neil Forman



You are right it was just an idea I threw out there after reading IslandGirl's post.

I would think most parents spend more on school dinners so whilst taking away their family allowance there might be a saving in the end.

Neil Forman


Sorry your post was not showing when I posted, I would be interested on your thoughts on this idea.



I think Social Security should investigate making family allowance means tested in the same way they are planning to do in the UK. We need to move away from the idea of universal benefits and return to the original philosophy behind the welfare state i.e. helping those in genuine need.

I'm all for encouraging healthy eating however this must start at home with good modelling by parents. Good education along with ensuring parents can afford healthy foods are the way to go. It won't happen overnight though as it requires a major cultural shift - I'm hardly a role model in this area myself!

I'm not usually a fan of forcing things on people but your idea has some merit - if a healthy meal was provided at school at least we'd know every child is getting at least one decent meal a day....and I'm sure it would improve concentration levels.

Neil Forman


I agree with means testing.

I do the cooking for my family and try to make healthy meals. I cannot say I'm perfect because sometimes if busy I will order a take out.

My daughter is interested in cooking and will cook meals she likes for her Grandparents at weekends. The schools do educate on healthy eating, she will tell me if I'm going wrong;-)

I cannot take the credit for this idea, I just made the suggestion of using family allowance. Credit has to go to IslandGirl for this one. I totally agree that this will make sure children get at least one healthy meal a day.

I really do like this idea.



I totally agree with your comment that we need to move away from universal benefits and focus on need. The problem with means testing for various benefits is that it is a costly bureaucratic process for each type of payment. maybe better to scrap family allowance and deliver added value directly where it's needed.

The school meals idea has a benefit not just to the family by providing food, but also to the government by giving the right type of nutrition to children, reducing costs of HSSD and adding value to Education services.


Instead of the Receiver General giving the unclaimed millions to charities why not give the £7.5 million to Social Security? Who in turn can reduce the amount we have to pay for visits to the doctor.No burden on the Taxpayer and a win win all around.



Perhaps the open land at Oatlands could be utilised for crop cultivation... After all, we will need a greater food supply for the future as, unfortunately, some climatic changes are becoming impossible to reverse- so it's best that we adapt by using expanses of land for crops that will help to sustain human well-being in the event of a natural crisis such as drought. However, we may need an irrigation facility to be constructed ...


I'm all for ideas but I've always thought the land there was privately owned? Perhaps I'm mistaken.

I'm afraid I'm not really up to speed with irrigation methods (or anything practical) but I think the reservoir holds good levels - I think we should be ok in a drought. I think its one of the things prior politicians have done right. Can we just not use hoses and the such for watering?

I think the most should be made of the greenhouses we have. I also think vertical farming helps with reducing the cost of land being added into a produce value - what with it at a premium here (and it would make watering easier!). Also another poster has pointed out the best soil for growing is in lower quantities than preferable on the island which would be constraint.


Hear Hear Dr Bridgman,

I suspect however that 10 000 may be on the shy side of the true figure.


Can i just ask.. Why if we have 16% of the population in poverty why are we still giving some much away each year in Overseas Aid.

I for one would rather we kept the money to sort out our own issues before giving the money to other countries who have a poverty problem.

I personally would say 16% in poverty is an issue and therefore we should use the money on island. I am not sure on the annual overseas aid amount but surely that would help.


The reason is because there is a large difference in relative poverty and absolute poverty.

Get yourself over to India for a month, then come back to Guernsey and compare.

If you have ever seen someone with Polio crawling round on their elbows and knees begging for enough money to buy some rice you know what I will mean.

Now compare this to those in relative poverty in Guernsey, who still got their polio vac and just cant get a plasma tv this year (although they frequently do!)


India, are they not tooled up with Nuclear weapons?


But again, if people are claiming poverty here and I know it would be a far cry from other parts of the World and maybe Dr Bridgman has used the wrong word, but shouldn't we sort the island out and ensure we have a good standard of living for all before we help others?

Maybe we should look at reducing the overseas aid, rather than stopping, and trying to use this to aid locals.


Dr Bridgman states that "a significant minority of islanders do not have fair access to health resources"

How many of this "significant minority" choose to spend their money on non essential luxuries rather than health resources?



You are letting your prejudice get in the way of understanding the problem here. The problem is inequality in our society and it includes innocents such as the elderly, children and thousands who work extremely hard on low incomes just to get by. It is time for Guernsey politicians to give serious consideration to both the urgent and long term ramifications of inequality. The evidence is in Dr Bridgman's report and in the video linked here. We cannot afford to ignore this message, Guernsey is one of the world's worst offenders.



This talk by Richard Wilkinson is heavily biased and academically flawed. The real conclusion is that more egalitarian societies have both less social and less economic inequality, which stands to reason.

The misconception is that is that the correlation between economic and social measures implies causality, and therefore you can turn the USA into Finland using tax policy... that is rubbish. You can't change a people's culture and values using taxes.



Do you have any basis or evidence to support that opinion?

The evidence suggests that many of the major problems of society are directly caused by inequality at great financial cost to the taxpayer.

The solution is in prevention through sound political policies aimed equality resulting in prevention rather than cure of problems. Arguably such policies would represent long term savings to the taxpayer and that is what the ongoing studies need to ascertain.

The point is well made by Dr Bridgman that we need our future workforce to be at optimal health so that all younger adults are contributing rather than drawing on the Social insurance fund.

Guernsey CAN and SHOULD change it's culture and values, it is shortsighted not to. USA might take a little longer than us to accomplish the Finland dream, I'll grant you that at least!



I wasn't suggesting that the Finnish dream was somehow superior to the American dream, just that the cultures as so different that analysis based on the simple correlations Wilkinson and Bridgman are describing too simplistic to have credibility.

My evidence is first hand. Having direct experience of Finland, and Japan, I am certain that the social equality achieved in those countries is only done so with a level of conformism and state intervention into everyday lives that would drive the average Guernseyman to riot!

An aggressive nanny state is too high a price to pay, and won't work here anyway - I'd rather Bridgman focus on less disruptive ways to improve public health.


This report is a shameful abuse of an offical platform to promote political dogma, which strays a long way outside its mandate.

That is unfortunate because his time would have been better focused on practical ways of improving actual health outcomes, including those in absolute poverty.



It certainly is a comprehensive document which will no doubt be quoted to argue against or in support of many political debates in future years

What I found disappointing was the absence of a clear definition of what poverty actually is in the Western world of 2012

Sanguine above has mentioned the absolute poverty in India ( despite its multi-billion space programme)but it seems that here in Guernsey the definition of poverty can include not having a winter coat or not being able to afford to go to the cinema



Here is the definition, todays GP opinion column, which is one of the best I have ever read, explains that nothing has been done about this for 10 years.


I'm personally shocked and saddened that the figure of those affected is up to 10,000 including the elderly and children. It's embarrassing for Guernsey.

Having no winter coat is a way of defining poverty but it does not of course encompass all the ramifications of that state of affairs.


Ray, I recall that the Guernsey definition of living in poverty included not being to go on an overseas holiday once a year.



Yes that's another of them.Well worth tapping into Spartacus' link

The charts from page 19 onwards lists them all



You seem to be fixed on the idea that in 21st century Guernsey, no one actually is poor it's just a figment of social scientists imaginations.

Not being able to afford to go on an overseas holiday once a year could mean never being able to see close relatives for the rest of your life. As I said before, defining poverty in material terms does nothing to explain the pressures and ramifications of living on an affluent island like Guernsey in the 21st century.

Dr Bridgman explained the impact and infringement on human rights etc. Wilkinson gave evidence of the wider problems this poses for society. We're all in it together.

It's not really helpful is it to suggest that a small child who has no winter coat is not suffering. I don't care who's fault it is or how the problem came about, it is OUR problem and this needs to be acknowledged and addressed.


Spartacus, there is a huge difference between not being able to afford to have an overseas holiday once a year and not having a winter coat. When i say "winter coat" i obviously mean one from a cheap store or the salvation army - not the latest from monsoon or Joules.

What do you mean when you say that not going on an overseas holiday every year means that you won't see close relatives for the "rest of your life"? Take special note that relatives overseas may be places other than Jersey, the UK or france (ie more than one flight/ferry trip). I've been on two overseas holidays in 7 years and i don't consider myself to be living in poverty. It is the inclusion of statements like these in the definition of poverty which makes it farcical and a joke when there are people in serious need ie people who do not have basic winter coats, who require our help.



The report in my link was the result of a survey of random islander's and what they consider to be necessities.

Poverty is very subjective and it is impossible to give an accurate picture of what life is like for people who are struggling as no two circumstances are the same. The Bridgman report is packed full of evidence of the impact of relative poverty and that is what many are overlooking when applying their own opinions and sometimes prejudices of what constitutes poverty.

It is interesting that you suggest the winter coat should not be a brand item, my thoughts are that it has nothing to do with fashion but must be of adequate quality to serve its purpose ie be warm and weather proof. In my experience clothing from cheap stores is a false economy as it is a gamble whether they will last or serve the purpose.

Regarding the overseas annual holiday, this is wide open to subjective views of course but Guernsey is an island and it is notoriously expensive to travel from here by any means. My point was that you and others seem to envisage 2 weeks on the costa brava whereas logically it is far more likely that many will want to travel away regularly just to keep in touch with friends and family, often elderly or sick relatives. Being unable to do so because it is prohibitively expensive, even if only one sea needs crossing, is a symptom of poverty and bound to be stressful and depressing.

I wonder whether you have not been overseas because you have made other choices or if its because you cannot afford to.


Yes you are correct that i have made other choices instead of going on a holiday such as paying for my children's after school activities which cost a small fortune and also trying to keep up with the mortgage.

I've had a further look at the link you provided and i think we are both mistaken. An annual weekly holiday away from home is NOT deemed a necessity at all and not a symptom of poverty although needless to say those in poverty would not be able to afford this. An annual weekly holiday is only deemed a necessity by 38% of the population which is hardly a majority. Same with visits to family and friends off-island 33%

I think there may be some confusion with the definition of a "leisure" activity by which the vast majority have no or very little cost.

There are also some weird items such as "carpet in the bedroom". Why just "carpet"? Whats wrong with floorboards?

There are many many items on these lists that the majority of people go without every year. Best to focus firstly on what is really necessary for the day to day - food, clothing, shelter, good medical care and education to live a healthy life.



Re annual holiday, unless there are family off island I would tend to agree an annual holiday overseas is not a necessity.

Regarding carpets, if you have concrete floors, and you can afford neither carpet or floorboards, that is a sorry state of affairs surely.

So with regard to the items you regard as necessary:

Food - this is a major focus in the Bridgman report as many have poor diet due to the direct and indirect effects of poverty. Government policies can bring improvements. Dental health inequality needs attention

Shelter - housing policies are lacking and reforms are needed

Clothing - children and pensioners at the very least need to be warm and protected from the elements but everyone deserves to be presentable socially too.

Good medical care - primary care is the main problem. Either doctors fees are too high or wages and benefits are too low for too many putting medical care out of reach.

Education - I have tried really hard not to bring the 11+ into this but yep it is there in the report as a factor which disadvantages the less well off and therefore adds to all the problems. This so obviously needs to change.


I think we agree to disagree on the overseas holiday. Visiting family off-island every single year is a luxury, an unfortunate consequence of living in a global society and 77% of those surveyed agree that it is not a necessity.

I agree mostly with the views expressed in the report. Of course a concrete floor is a sorry state of affairs i was simply commenting on the wording of the survey.

Food, shelter and clothing is mostly covered in items in the report and Im pleased that very few are lacking these as far as the survey is concerned. Housing is working hard to solve issues there and i may not agree with most of that departments business strategy but i do of course agree with the aim - i don't know anyone who doesn't.

Education- starts in the home, well before children even attend school and way before 11+. I've said before that subsidised preschool would be a good place to start before problems escalate. Money spent here would be saved further down the line and allow parents time to work or study too, if desired.

Agree with your comments above about having healthier food and drinks in schools. Getting rid of fizzy drinks, especially fizzy drink vending machines, would be a good start.


Sorry- 67% not 77% (my maths is a bit rusty!)



I guess I would come under the 33% who feel it is a necessity to visit family regularly but as I am a parent and I am very family oriented maybe that's why I feel more strongly than others. The 50% or so of Gsy residents who do not have family overseas would probably not understand all the ramifications.

We all have our own opinions on what constitutes poverty however this survey and other studies have obtained consensus views of the public. As stated in the accepted definition as set out on page 26 the pertinent point is that this definition of "poverty" applies to those who have NO CHOICE but to fall below the defined minimum level. This is the aspect which will need to be borne in mind with every govt policy, ensuring ALL Guernsey people have the choice to not be poor by this measure. 10,000 people is an unacceptable number of helpless individuals.


Well i suppose you might because you have the resources to do so and/or family only in one spot which is easy to visit? This is your own singular situation. For others, with limited resources and/or who have relatives scattered throughout the globe (like myself) it may be different and i hope you can see that. It does not mean that you are more "family orientated" and i find this remark a little offensive. Perhaps i am more orientated on my primary family rather than extended family? Being a parent you should know that allocating resources is a juggling act and i don't think i should be labelled non family because i always prioritise my children over cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends etc etc.

The definition of poverty states that you must not be able to afford 4 or more items which over 50% of the population deems necessary. These 4 items may change from year to year depending on your circumstances. I am very happy to say that i can afford all those items which over 50% of the population deems necessary and others maybe every so often- but according to your personal definition because i cannot afford to visit relatives overseas every single year then i must be either impoverished or not family orientated. I think you can understand that many people, including myself, would resent that comment.



I seem to have hit a nerve sorry! I wasn't getting at you or anyone personally. I meant that for some, as you say, seeing cousins etc is not a priority whereas if it was your mum or dad and your children never got a chance to get to know their grandparents, that might be a pity, especially if they became gravely ill and you couldn't get to them for example.

For some, lack of contact will impact on their health and happiness and for others it will be an ideal situation! Others who are spread out simply accept that they have to let go of that closeness.

If you have family and would like to see them regularly but can't, perhaps ever, because you simply cannot afford to and it is one of the four things on the list that you have prioritised bottom, after winter coats for the kids etc yes I would define that as poverty.

This question is not applicable to many of those surveyed as they don't have family overseas, so many would not understand why it might be deemed essential at all.



You must be a politician; You could even be deputy Langlois who also feels that Dr Bridgeman is out of line in entering the Political field. But if he doesn't, who will, certainly not Deputy Langlois who is not interested in the health of the poor, only the bottom line in his Social Security accounts.

So well done Dr. Bridgeman for bringing this important subject into the public arena


Nobody will thank the states, and EVERYONE will be significantly poorer if we don't cut the deficit and sustain the reserve funds in a healthy state ... and nobody seems to notice the following two conclusions from the 2002 survey:

· The vast majority of households in Guernsey (76%) are not living in poverty and are not at risk

of becoming poor in the near future. Ninety- five percent of pensioner couples are not poor

· Guernsey people are less likely to suffer from poverty and deprivation than people in Britain



I thought we were in 2013, what on earth has 2002 got to do with the figures?



Don't wish your life away!The relevance of the year 2002 is the fact that it was in 2002 that the last meaningful report on Guernsey poverty was produced

The lack of action since then suggests that the report was not fully accepted by our deputies

Spartacus has found it at ...


Page 19 onwards gives several charts of what the Guernsey people interviewed at that time believed to be the 100 basic necessities of life,and if you missed out on any four items on the list you could class yourself as being poor

As L'Eree Lad says below it doesn't really take very much to squeeze yourself into that unfortunate category

It may be time to revisit the definition of poverty?


Spartacus @ 11.20am

No,no.You've got me quite wrong there

Of course I recognize that some sections of society in the island are relatively poor.A non home owning single pensioner having to pay rent on just his/her old age weekly pension can't help but fall into that category

A widowed mother with young children is likely to be in the same boat and they all need looking after

It may be impossible to get a completely fair definition of poverty to suit the wide range of incomes in the island ( 60% of median household income would put a lot of 'comfortable' families in the poor category) but I believe it would be a good idea to revisit the 2002 definition which doesn't seem that scientific to me



You and many others are missing the point.

People have a right to health equity, this report explains how and why many, including those who are classified as poor (by any measure) fail to secure that right to full health. Reclassifying poverty definitions will not address the problem of health equity. The health problems simply correlate to the poverty markers, whatever they might be. That's why relative poverty is the term being used. The health problems are relative to lower income.

Its not a case of having a choice of paying the cost of this problem, we will all pay one way or another for society's poor health. People cannot work and contribute to society if they are ill.


Spartacus at 2.03 pm

Oh well.I blame the way I was brought up ( before Human Rights were re-invented by Left wing nutcases and expanded out of all recognition from their original post war intention)

In those days it was a choice of being able to afford the Doctor OR ( not AND)having a washing machine,Deep Freezer,Carpets,a dictionary,Microwave oven,CD Player,Video Recorder,Satellite TV and other desirable things on the 2002 poverty list



You are entitled to your opinion on human rights and to have your own view of what constitutes poverty. No one is disputing that.

The problem remains whether our government continues to throw money down the drain by trying to fix avoidable health and social problems after the problems have manifested rather than working on prevention strategies.

Do you agree with the Bridgman recommendations?


Ray, Spartacus's link is not a list of the basic necessities of life- it is only a list of comparing the percentage of persons who deem an item/activity to be necessary to those who don't have/can't afford that item. Holidays, dishwashers and other items are way down on the list whereas beds/bedding, coats and medical expenses are at the top as you and I logically would expect.

Note that Table 2.1 shows that 6 persons surveyed did not have enough money to visit the family doctor and pay for medicine prescription charges when sick - this is the area which needs addressing.


Rachel at 1.26pm

Agreed .The 2002 list on which much of the Bridgman report relies is totally useless as it is basically a list of 'nice to haves'after the first dozen or so items

The 2002 report states that six of those people interviewed claimed they were unable to afford visits to the doctor,and Bridgeman has extrapolated that to conclude that there are now 10,000 islanders on the breadline!

Hope our politicians don't make too many important decisions based on that!

Public Servant

As usual the right wing bigots are out in force believing that the only low income people are the lazy, smack heads and those who get their priorities wrong. However, the wealthy must be paying the right amount of tax because the island has no intention of changing the tax thresholds for those earning £75,000 a year plus, of which there are many. Therefore the money will just have to come from the £30,000 to £60,000 earners struggling with mortgages, stupid rents and rip off prices.

Too many people live in a cotton wool world here, inhabited by their naive, selfish, narrow/small minded, Republican views.


Public Servant,

If you think that a £30,000 to £60,000 earner is struggling with a mortgage and rip off prices where does that leave those that are earning considerably less?

The majority of people working outside the finance industry would be extremely grateful to earn £30,000+ a year.

Reality check needed I think!

Public Servant

I don't disagree Kevin but I suspect average earnings in Guernsey are around £30,000 in or out of finance. People on less are really struggling I know. While I advocate higher taxes for the well off; those earning over around £60,000, I suppose I meant that gross household incomes of £30,000 to £60,000 bear the brunt


I think you will find that those employed in the manual trades such as shops,garages,delivery drivers, storemen, labourers, gardeners etc etc can only dream of earning £30k a year.

Probably £18-20k a year is nearer the mark.

I believe the average hourly pay for good tradesmen and mechanics is about £15 an hour so some of them might just about make £30k a year before tax and insurance.


People that are ill should get the healthcare they need. It's upsetting to think they are not just because of income. Especially children.

I think education may help in the long term.

Teach young people about the cost of money and how to manage it. What their wage might be, what they need to put towards utilities and look at how their disposable income can be spent more wisely to take better care of themselves. About the financial products that could help them and how to obtain them. It woldn't take long and for some really reap future benefits and confidence on the matter.

Bring back or change Cooking lessons in schools to teach the kids about nutrition, weight management and how to cook quick healthy meals instead of scones, cake decorating and other baked goods (this is what I remember doing).



I absolutely agree with you - again.

The argument against these subjects being covered in school is that these are soft skills which should be taught by parents. Therein the problem gets buried by everyone unfortunately. Debt is another related problem of our present day culture which adds to the stress and poverty health burden.

sarnia expat

I love the comment about cooking lessons - I totally agree. Too many "convenience" foods on sale which are expensive, and full of rubbish. It makes me laugh when people are prepared to call themselves "poor" but stock up on ready made pizzas, soups etc - give me half an hour with anybody and I could show you how to make your money go a long long way. Of course you have to WANT to help yourself don't you?

Let me tell you a tale about one cookery lesson I knew about, not so long ago.

The recipe was for lemon meringue pie. Method - first buy your lemon meringue pie mix.......... I ask you?!

Healthy food also produces healthy children. The argument was raised well, some frozen food outlets over here cater for the less well off. If you are prepared to pay an astounding £1 for 12 frozen sausage rolls, what on earth do you think you are buying? Better to buy veggies off the roadside, make your own bread, and have a decent meal, home made, for a fraction of the cost - and you can freeze it too.


Dani- Here here. Cooking lessons could / would be an effective way of explaining / encouraging good habits with eating provided that the lessons focus on recipes that are about fresh healthy eating. I would go even further and say that all schools should have an area for growing food too with that also part of the lessons. We are losing a generation of people who know and understand how to grow food and not everyone is suited to an academic lifestyle.



That's so true! A growing area is a fantastic idea. I would love to see that in action.


I think Stephen Bridgman needs to make up his mind if he's a doctor or a politician.

The working taxpayer in this island can not go on feeding this socialist entitlement culture that is rapidly emerging in our community.

It's unsustainable, and will only lead to the impoverishment of us all, including those ever decreasing numbers of people that actually get up in the morning do a days work and create the wealth that he and many others which to seize and redistribute to satisfy their political leanings.



So you have the "Blow you Jack, I'm alright", mentality, let the poor crawl into the gutter , I'll just step over them.



Er many, many working taxpayers are victims of the system why ought they be impoverished to cosset you?


I agree with Theo's comments.

By advocating redistribution of wealth via the health insurance system, Dr. Bridgman is entering the serpent's pit. Once again, we are led to believe, hard working middle income earners would be expected to foot the bill for the lifestyles of the unhealthy and irresponsible minority (including some parents who refuse to help educate, support and encourage their own children).

I suggest some teachers and doctors (including Dr. Bridgman) would be of more use to the public if they concentrated on applying their talents to their chosen field of work, rather than playing politics.


Trouble is who is going to determine those that qualify as 'poor'. What is the modern description of poor?

We're told the poor can't afford this and that and we're told we can't change the upper limits to what the rich pay as it would drive them away from the island, so as always is is the middle earners that pay!

I would put myself in the upwards earnings bracket that Public Servant stated above and I for one can barely cover the cost of what we need to without having any spare cash to put aside for health cover and dental cover for two adults and a child. We have a modest mortgage (less than if we were to rent an equivalent property) and have significantly reduced our outgoings wherever we can but still left with very little left each month.

By what standards are we to judge if someone is poor or not. If it's about being having a certain standard of living then the figure will be higher than 16% I'm certain. Even when it comes to something like heating for example, I have found myself delaying ordering oil for as long as possible as with the price of oil and now electric going up significantly I can see more people that society would label ‘middle class’ as having to make these kind of choices - who will help them?

The issue will remain locally that while earnings are high, house prices and rents will remain high. I think the house price explosion has a lot to do with the change in lifestyle whereby typically both adults in a family go out to work.

Ultimately the only solution is that everyone pays an equal proportion of what they earn into a system that has no upper earnings limits. Increase business RV or extract more money from the finance industry but stop putting the added burden on the employees.

L'eree Lad

The definition of 'poor' used in the studies from which Dr. Bridgman draws his statistics are not necessarily those that the ordinary Guern may recognise as an impoverished life.

On the face of it the statement from the Survey of Guernsey Living Standards (2002) that people in poor households have "low income and suffer from multiple deprivation" sounds a reasonable measure(http://www.bris.ac.uk/poverty/downloads/region

alpovertystudies/02_GLS-2.pdf - page 2)

However, 'multiple deprivation' means not having access to 4 or more 'necessities' from a list that includes for children:

- A garden to play in (immediately catches all flat dwellers, even if they live near to a park)

- Swimming (e.g. Beau Sejour) once a month (even though the bathing pools and the sea are free)

- £1 a week pocket money (vs. 50p in the UK survey a year earlier)

- At least 7 pairs of new underwear (can't people wash clothes more than once a week then?!)

So, imagine a child from a loving but lower income family who lives in a comfortable flat, with their own bedroom. They are near to Cambridge Park and go there regularly on their bicycle to play football with their friends. They get taken to the bathing pools or the beach every weekend in the summer (but never Beausy). Their mum and dad give them 50p a week pocket money - 10 years ago remember - for their Saturday morning visit to the local sweet shop. They only have six pairs of new pants at the time of the survey.

They could be living a wonderful Guernsey childhood but according to the survey criteria they were living in poverty and suffering from MULTIPLE DEPRIVATIONS!

There are lies, damn lies and then there are STATISTICS...

L'eree Lad

oops - got the web link wrong but it is page two of the (149 page) report in Spartacus' post at 12:11 above...


I totally agree with you Public Servant, not only the lazy, out of work etc etc are poverty stricken and peoples ideas of poverty stricken are very very different. I am sure Sarah Griffiths that raises money for Sri Lanka and Haiti laughs at the idea of poverty in Guernsey compared to what the people of these two countries endure.

There is poverty in Guernsey or shall we call it hardship, no child should go to school without lunch, no person should have to decide whether to eat or heat but it happens in Guernsey and I am afraid I know very many people quite well off who moan and groan about the amount of tax and insurance they pay, as long as they can have 3 or 4 holidays a year and buy designer gear, to hell with anyone else, how sad.

It is time SSD stopped paying £12.00 towards the doctor for every patient, the well off would moan for a while but they would get over it, and many have said they dont want it. That would be a start.

Les Pets

WHY O WHY are we forever handing out money to th e lazy few. You go to the dole centre and you will see the same faces month in ,month out. Ok help the needy but toughen up and end this benefit culture. Are the unemployed better off than pensioners. YES. this is pathetic. get a grip hssd!!! I'm a states employee and have to pay for my medicals, the unemployed are states employees (as the states pay them hundreds every week) why should i pay and they don't???


I think the figure is too low & a lot more working people will be falling into that position as we post on here, noting the large food price increases I have been noticing for quite a while now I won't be far behind.


Indeed poverty does exist, you can see it even walking down the high street. Given you don't get asked for spare change every 10 minutes as in some mainland cities, but it does happen. There's even a poverty stricken cat wandering around the lower pollet in the mornings. The less well off naturally struggle to get a personal loan to help them out of hardship.

I also agree with Jeff that SSD should stop paying £12 towards doctor's bill and help the less fortunate...


Dr Stephen Bridgeman makes some very interesting points here. It is clear that there is substantial inequality in Guernsey. Further, there is a variety of research available now which suggests that there is a strong correlation between more unequal societies and worse social and health outcomes. Using the tax system and diverting public spending to alleviate these problems may be unpopular, but is it really moral or just to continue with this inequality when we increasingly know how destructive this can be? Time that our politicians "manned up" and dealt with this important socio-economic issue.

I hope that HSSD, together with SSD, now start to do some hard work to deal with this health inequity. Families that are on less than 60% of household median incomes are classified as living in relative poverty under an internationally accepted OECD definition. This should be the rule or measure used in Guernsey to help focus on those families who may be socially excluded.



Using the OECD definition every person working on Brechou must be living in abject poverty

L'eere Lad

Relative poverty is a totally unhelpful measure. If you adopt that as your measuring stick then you can never eliminate 'poverty' in a capitalist society as there will will always be inequality of income.

The only way you can achieve everybody in society on 60% or more of median household incomes is to run a communist system.

Hands up who would rather swap Guernsey now for communist Russia before the wall came down?

Not so many votes for social engineering to eliminate 'relative' poverty now eh?


L'eree lad

Inequality of income will persist but health equity is the objective.

Statistics prove that many costly problems of society are correlated to the size of the gap between "rich" and "poor".

Communist Russia is a far cry from say the Nordic model whose policies mitigate many of the problems including policies which promote health equity.


In addition, there are a number of benefits, allowances and concessions that are currently paid out by the Guernsey taxpayer at present which are enjoyed by higher earners, i.e. the already very well off. Examples include: family allowance, personal income tax allowances, College fee subsidies, and subsidies to GP fees. All of these benefits / allowances should be reviewed and possibly ended. The monies can then be diverted to perhaps start to tackle some of the deep-seated inequalities.


I agree Sigmund.

In the UK the government are cutting child benefit for all households where one member earns above £60k. I don't think this particular system is fair personally (as you could have a couple both earning £59K and they'd still get some benefits, whilst a one income family earning £61k would miss out) but I agree with the principle of it.

On Radio 5 they interviewed a woman who was complaining about the "hardship" her family would suffer when this was cut. They were a single income family bringing home just over £60k p.a.

I'm afraid she got very little sympathy from me. This kind of attitude illustrates why the welfare state has got out of control. People of all walks of live think they are entitled to benefits, irrespective of their income. That is NOT what the welfare state was designed for. It's time to return to the original philosophy behind the welfare state - helping those in need. The concept of universal benefits needs to go - it is simply unsustainable. In addition to this firm hand, we also need to invest resources into addressing the root causes of social problems - walking around spouting "just go get a job" doesn't solve anything.

Guern abroad

Agree with PLP's post.


i disagree. what bugs me is some people put so much more in (i'm talking about time to make there contributions rather than level of contributions).

why can't people work for their benefits even if its admin for the states (if you can work out benefits your not stupid)!

If everyone worked equally hard it would be fair to distibute the wealth to the poorest all the time


Anyone know what the unemployment benefit is?





Thanks Ray.... Not a lot is it? Especially if you’re only in your 20's

L'eree Lad

That's where supplementary benefit comes in...

Trust me, the majority of claimants know exactly what their 'entitlements' are!


So what sort of money are they ending up with then L’Eree lad?

Is it in the hundreds a week?.

The reason I ask is, you see this subject a lot on this site with people moaning about benefits etc, but I haven’t a clue how much we are actually talking about or what people claim for!




Wooden Spoon

Errr it's pretty much double what you get in UK. Certainly seems to be plenty for claimants to be able to afford cigarettes to smoke anyway while waiting to sign on.


Tackling "relative poverty" doesn't have to be about money-grabbing, totalitarian governments. The alternative is it just needs employers and companies to be responsible, if that means a few laws "guiding" them in the right direction, then surely its worth doing.

L'eree Lad

Once again, a total avoidance of the elephant in the room - "relative poverty" as defined by the OECD is a ridiculous concept and one that should not be used as the basis of formulating social policies, period.


However you define poverty you still have people who apparently cannot afford to go to the doctor. I would say this a serious indicator of poverty (as opposed to not being able to afford to go on holiday) and is not something I want in our society. Healthcare should be accessible to all.

sarnia expat

I went less to the Doctor for inconsequential things when I didn't have health insurance, that's for sure. However, once your company covers you for insurance you think nothing about going at all.

That said - at least no woman fears the £1500 caesarian section fee now which was applicable in the 1970s and 1980s....


Well it depends if they really can't afford the doctor or if teh prioritise other things.

Woudl be interesting to know how many pf these people can afofrd to drink or smoke


Although this Ida democratic society, I nonetheless sincerely believe that those indolent, unambitious individuals who are fully capable of working but instead decide to act as bloodsucking parasite should be forced to work. This may involve performing menial duties for little reward. This will enlighten them to the reality of civilisation and force them to accept that we all have burdens and ills in our lives...


'Use taxes to help poor live a healthy life' - thats the strap line to this article. Well how about starting right now with paying for educators in schools to deliver life skills/budgeting/food preparation and diet - seems to me if all kids were to benefit from some serious education about how to manage on minimal money and still cook healthy meals on a budget - which is absolutely possible - maybe there would be less illness as a consequence of ignorance. I believe ' ignorance' is the main root of all of this. There were several 'poor' kids at my childs primary and secondary school - however, they were the ones who had shop packaged sandwiches and similar for their lunch??!! They were the ones with spare cash to spend at the tuck shops and fetes? They were the ones always losing their uniform -- you get my point. There are obviously many parents that are uneducated and had no parental guidance themselves so it is therefore difficult for them to pass on life skills to their own children so the cycle continues from generation to generation. So although it should be parents delivering such skills this isnt happening - so it has to therefore be adapted for the whole of a childs school life. Education - lots of it and on a regular basis may help in the future.

Guern abroad

Education free from funding from food producers as otherwise we teach the wrong things. Only need to look to the US for that example.


Ways to raise more money.

1) Fine people for not recycling, via regular random "inspections" of black bin bags

2) Allow Social Security to declare smartphones and laptops/*pads as "luxury items" and therefore able to be detained until the lazy scroungers find a job, then returned after a waiting period.

3) Name and shame then if needed, fine employers who persistently refuse to change their working hours to fit with unreliable public transport.

4) Fixed penalties for smoking in the presence of children.

5) Bring back the stocks and hanging for serious offences

6) Opt out for organ donation rather than opt in.

7) All taxes owed to be paid before workers are permitted to travel.

8) Advance Proceeds of Crime Act to apply upon arrest, to high value items belonging to the accused.

If the accused is later found not guilty, items to be returned.


9) Antivirus made a legal requirement on all Internet connected devices.

10) All loan companies to be prohibited from operating in the island if their APR is more than 150%.

11) Per inch diagonal tax on flat screen TVs, call it a "Carbon Tax". Why should the rich get away with having a 75" plasma on 24/7 ?

12) Failing to save energy made a criminal offence, to include leaving lights on etc.

13) Any car parked for more than 2 weeks in a disk zone to be classed as "Abandoned" and subject for removal at the owner's expense.

14) IQ test required for all States members

15) Tax breaks for cyclists and/or users of public transport



Whenever I can't get to sleep in the early hours I find a Nytol helps ( Other good brands also available)


Not quite sure how making antivirus software compulsory will raise money. There's plenty free antivirus software out there.

Le Andre

Poverty reality check - go to Haiti, India`s cities, rural Sudan etc : that`s real poverty!


so true. Poor me culture! Just because Mr X has a porsche doesn't mean we all deserve one. As long as you can eat and keep warm with a roof over your head you are not in poverty


POverty....what a joke. If you've got a sky dish you're not in poverty. What a joke! Its priorities. If you genuinely can't feed yourselves then your in poverty if you simply have to by co-op own brand chocolate rather than cadbury's or by second hand clothes your not in poverty!


The OECD definition is the internationally accepted threshold test. It may be better to describe the test as a way of looking at inequality. It helps to measure the relative degree of difference between the median or average household income and those people living on the lowest incomes in the same society.

Yes, of course, there are issues with this definition. It is arbitrary; but at least it can be measured objectively. Many of the other so-called tests for poverty, like the new mechanism put forward by the DWP in the UK under the Coalition are inevitably subjective and arbitrary in other ways.

The reality is that you will never get total consensus on how to measure these things, mainly because there is no perfect way of measuring this sort of social issue and because some people (mainly reactionary types) in Guernsey do not wish for such social issues to be the focus of government policy in any event. They would much rather have the States bickering about largely inconsequential matters like Electronic Voting and Sunday Trading rather than tackling deeply-ingrained social injustice and inequality of opportunity.


Re. Nytol. I find listening to States debates has much the same effect... they really do drone on sometimes.

Is it too much to ask for them to *agree* for once and accomplish something useful with our taxes?


An interesting article in today's Daily Mail,albeit by Richard Littlejohn who is so right wing that he is over the horizon

He was commenting on one of the main reasons why Republican Mitt Romney ( =UK Conservative)lost to Democrat Barack Obama ( =UK Labour)

Romney was secretly taped making a private speech in May where he identified America's burgeoning entitlement culture as a major obstacle to a Republican ( Conservative ) winning back the White House saying " There are 47% of the people who will vote Democrat ( Labour) no matter what...who believe that they are victims... who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them... who believe that they are entitled to health care,to food,to housing,to you name it.I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their own lives"

No doubt many among that American 47% are totally genuine in their need for government help.I wonder what the equivalent percentage of 'victims' is in the UK,including the thousands previously in 'non-jobs'handed out like sweets to Labour's voting fodder under liar Blair and useless Brown ... and do we have any pretend victims draining the public purse in Guernsey?



If the Bridgman recommendations were listed in the Daiy Mail perhaps you would then care to read them?


Oh I've read them,every one of them

I just don't have the energy or desire to end up in an endless Spartacus / GM type debate over them thank you



Yet you desire to provoke.

Dr Bridgman's recommendations might provide an answer to your question.

Here is something thought provoking "Fair rather than minimum wage"

We are all born free we are all born equal.



Spartacus 11.04

Now you're expanding the subject into workers v employers and wage levels!

It would be interesting to compare that left wing rag journo's annual salary against the UK minimum wage

Is Wayne Rooney's wage fair? Is Daniel Craig's wage reasonable?

They're several hundred times better than my wage and even a great deal better than the PM's wage but people get paid what they're worth to their employers in most cases

If your intelligence level or skills level ( or perhaps more importantly your ambitions level)puts you into the bracket of a lower paid worker in a high priced community such as Guernsey,you have a serious decision to make

You can either choose to work harder at your job or your skills to improve your own outcome in life,or you can choose to sit back and bitch about how unfair it is that the other half are so lucky to have nice cars ( on HP) or nice houses ( on massive mortgages)

That's not to say we should not continue to strive to help and improve the lot of those in our community who through no fault of their own are in GENUINE need

It's the process of identifying those in genuine need that needs to be tackled first.Binning the rather useless 2002 'nice to have list' would be a good start

I have very little time for scrounging whingers who have the ability to help themselves towards a better life but decide instead to help themselves to whatever level of goodies are on offer from the public purse in times of necessary cutbacks



I believe you have misinterpreted the findings of the 2002 survey and all the work that has been done since then.

"The UN declaration of human rights considers that Governments have an obligation to ensure everyone can achieve a standard of living adequate for health and well being of himself and family."

If you fundamentally disagree that there is an obligation you may as well go live somewhere else beyond reach of modern civilisation.

Any "scrounging whingers" to use your phrase, are irrelevant to this discussion because presumably they can achieve an adequate standard of living but choose not to so the govt has no such obligation to them.

It's the remaining estimated 9,900 people who we are talking about who do not have the means to improve their circumstances, due to a variety of objective factors such as inequalities in access to income, assets, employment, education, health and social care and social security and civic participation.

You are trying to deny that all these people experience these inequalities but Bridgman's report is heavily evidence based and I believe this is acknowledged by probably all our politicians together with the vast majority of the public in Guernsey.


Spartacus 5.57pm

"It’s the remaining estimated 9,900 people who we are talking about"

... and that's where your argument falls apart .. it's an estimate ...a nice conveniently round figure of 10,000 plucked from the air

Doctor Bridgeman should get out of his comfortable office,stop researching what happens in other countries on the internet,meet the people he claims to be talking about and come back with with an actual number,such as 357 or 478 or whatever his real investigations, as opposed to his wild guesswork,turns up.That's when the policy makers can start their deliberations to put things right

Spartacus, you have managed to get me answering your dream world posts yet again. Experience tells me that this thread is likely to go round in circles until Christmas at least and I have several dozen budgies to pluck, so for that reason 'I'm out'


"A number of studies over the last ten years or so have consistently shown that a significant minority of our population, an estimated five to ten thousand people live in poverty."

Perhaps you are right that Dr B got the details off the internet, it's probably all there on the Gov.gg website. Or perhaps he just reads the Hansard reports.



"I'm out".

Thank you for your biggest contribution to the anti poverty debate yet.


To be clear about this.

It is Mitt Romney, alone, who defined all Democrat voters as those who took no responsibility for their lives. He provided no evidence to support this assertion and I think most people would doubt that 47% of American voters regard themselves as victims.

Many of the more vociferous posters here are attacking the 1% unemployed in Guernsey (whether with justification or not) as if they were the only sufferers from health discrimination in Guernsey. Of course, there are those who work the system at all levels of society. Are those few who take advantage of the Social Security laws any different from those few who take advantage of the Income Tax laws?



I was wondering how long it would be before the employers got dragged into this!

The last thing we need is more bloody laws and god help us.........."strategies"

stay healthy

Your post is very great and helpful to poor people.

Health is wealth.Health is most important in our life. If we shall Healthy we can do our all work .


Laziness,bad manners,lack of discipline,lack of morals,lack of respect have been with us for a long time,especially amongst some of the poor, so it is only natural that each successive generation who are described above,and who go on to breed,means that these attitudes will inevitably produce an increased ratio of negativity, compared to the so called 'rich' Turning our Island into a Communist State as one writer mentioned, might mean that all would be equal,regarding wealth, but also probably mean that we would all be equally poor.(except for the few in Power of course)


Have those involved in this enterprise ever considered that some of these impoverished families are to blame because it was they who maneuvered themselves into these detrimental situations ?



That cannot be said of children.

Besides, whatever their situation or how it arose, everyone has a human right to be able to improve their circumstances, and there are obstacles in Guernsey due to inequalities.

This is what is referred to as the poverty trap and this is why it tends to cycle from one generation to the next. Health equity is a government obligation. Dr Bridgman's report is about health equity in our society not just personal responsibility.

sarnia expat

There are only obstacles or inequalities there if you perceive them to be so. How else can some of the most important entrepreneurs in business suceeded? Poverty does not stop aspirational desire and if you truly want something then you blooming well go out, work hard for it, and you get it. People need to realise that not everything in life (like some benefits) are handed to you on a plate. I am not nit picking Spartacus, and perhaps you too have worked within some of the poorer UK boroughs - none of which can ever equate to anything in Guernsey, but we need to put things into perspective. We do not live in a third world, medical help is available for all - but sometimes you may have to pay for this and go without something else. We have all had to do it, it is nothing new. I do agree in part with Ed's post - why else are there generations of the same families still "impoverished"? you would have thought that by now, one generation would have been inspired to drag themselves up a notch? Perhaps school can also help. Inspire a little aspiration - instead of, as in my child's PSHE class recently - spent the lesson learning how to write a cheque.....


Sarnia Expat

There was an excellent debate about this subject on twitter yesterday between politicians and political pundits.

It was based on a BBC news article about why the rich look down on the poor.

It is a mistake to regard the poor as separate and different from us. We are all fallible to circumstances of birth and life events.

As for entrepreneurship, if you watch the apprentice you will see how difficult this is in reality, even all the hand selected advantaged elite participants rarely have the prerequisite aptitude and skills to succeed in the simplest start up business.

What hope do the disabled, the abandoned mothers, the elderly or the underpaid have of improving their chances of future success?

sarnia expat

Spartacus, if you truly believe that simply because you are disabled, abandoned, elderly or underpaid then you have no future - then I think you under estimate people's tenacity to overcome their difficulties. I hope that you don't really mean this and perhaps I am not reading you correctly.

I love the Apprentice. Not so sure about the Young Apprentice, but at least they have a bit of "go" about them. As do a lot of kids in this Island. Just because they have had a bad old start in life should make them even more determined to do better, don't you think?

It is not difficult to start up your own business at all - and contrary to popular opinion you do not need vast sums of money to do it successfully. But, you do need a bit of "oomph". Tony Brassell down at the Enterprise Agency is very approachable and extremely helpful.


sarnia expat

How many disabled, abandoned, elderly or underpaid did you ask? It's not a case of having no future its a case of having inadequate support due to absence of effective government policies.

I have worked in finance and battled for the rights of mothers who want to work part time and battled against discrimination of the disabled. One small cog in the wheel cannot fix things. Government policy can.

The stand out tweet of the debate yesterday was that it is possible to work your arse off and still be poor and to add insult you are described as needy. Thank you for that pearl of wisdom Steve Streeting. Also full credit to Sherbs1. Absolutely spot on.

If you have lack of confidence, lack of skills and lack of equality it is difficult to start anything, with or without the Enterprise Agency.


If the affluent sections of our society ( I am adverting to the extremely well-to-do, not a mere business owner) were truly righteous and not self-serving egotists then surely they would use their profusion of wealth to aid those less fortunate than them ?


I can see your future Ed

You will sail through University studying some totally chimerical subject and then go on to become leader of the LibDems

Les Pets

Ok if you really need assistance but the hssd must get rid of the many parasites sucking us all dry. Toughen up and start to say no to the many(not the few) who take us all for fools.


True. Very true...