Comment - T&R rocks it for Alderney finances

A SUGGESTION by Guernsey’s Treasury minister that since Alderney’s e-gambling industry is doing so well, that island might like to divert some of its own money towards its loss-making airport has not – predictably – gone down well.

A SUGGESTION by Guernsey’s Treasury minister that since Alderney’s e-gambling industry is doing so well, that island might like to divert some of its own money towards its loss-making airport has not – predictably – gone down well.

Perhaps more importantly, T&R’s musings have opened up a much wider, and complex, issue about Alderney finances in general.

Left a deserted wasteland after the Occupation, then Home Secretary Chuter Ede advocated the ‘Guernseyfication’ of Alderney as its only hope of rebuilding itself, which is why this island still provides its essential public services.

As a result, Alderney States last year had revenues of a little over £1m. yet managed to spend £2.8m. It did so because of the annual allocation Guernsey taxpayers make, and the canny Ridunians even managed to make a ‘profit’ of £41,722 on the deal.

What the T&R minister has his eye on is the £2.5m. which the Alderney Gambling Control Commission raised last year and which Alderney keeps and uses to fund its capital projects.

Should Guernsey keep pushing over £1.6m. a year when Alderney has £2.5m. of its own and could adjust by scaling down its spend on major works?

It is not, of course, that simple, not least because the Guernseyfication of Alderney means that all income tax and other taxes and duties that apply here are levied there and the revenue raised comes back to Guernsey.

The real question is whether Guernsey spends more than it receives on its northern cousin. What’s the answer? No one knows, apart from a select few in Frossard House.

The critical data is not published and not even the President of the States of Alderney knows.

Alderney suspects that Guernsey does better out of the deal than it does and is pretty certain that if it was to go it alone it could provide services more cheaply than those from Guernsey’s bureaucracy, one of the reasons why the Airport is so expensive.

To date, however, this has been a boat that no one really wanted to rock – but T&R has certainly started it in motion.