Guernsey Press

States blamed for prolonged downturn in the open market

A PROLONGED downturn in demand for open market property has been attributed to a lack of political will, transport links and the introduction of new population laws, in a wide-ranging survey of residents in the sector.

Zef Eisenberg, one of the founders of the Open Market Forum. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 21062350)

The Open Market Forum, which was established in October last year by Zef Eisenberg, Guy Anderson and Helen O’Meara, surveyed its members about a number of matters.

Asked about factors that had attracted them to Guernsey, more than half of the 300-plus respondents cited Guernsey’s ‘fair and sensible low tax system’ and the absence of inheritance, capital or corporation tax, excluding regulated business.

Only 0.62% said that Locate Guernsey team ‘had sold it to me’.

4.07% of the respondents moved to the island in the last three years, while 10.83% said they were looking to leave Guernsey in the next three years.

85.19% of these said they did not want to leave Guernsey, but were considering it due to the gravity of their concerns over matters such as transport links and new population laws.

Nine out of 10 said they had received no correspondence from Housing before their rights were changed, and 94.36% said the States were in part responsible for the prolonged downturn in the open market.

The forum’s founders said the survey had substantiated open market residents’ contribution to society while highlighting the lack of action about their concerns.

‘The OMF supports Locate Guernsey in promoting and developing the open market, with a focus on attracting high-net worth individuals to generate further tax receipts and most importantly help diversify the economy,’ they said.

‘For example Specsavers, Healthspan and Aquastar were all founded by OM residents and are three of our largest non-finance sector employers

‘Our survey has revealed that OM residents alone contribute over £70m. in net tax take to the public purse, not including other areas of employment, investment, etc. which have been estimated at over £400m.’

They hope the States will consider these results and ‘take advantage of this opportunity for assistance’.

‘People have been concerned at the lack of demand for and investment in the OM over the last decade,’ the founders said.

‘The uncertainty created in the years leading up to the 2017 Population Management Law and the new OM laws have damaged the demand for OM and the island as a whole – for what benefit?’

‘Sales have been about half of their pre-2010 average and we have all suffered from the resulting fall in OM Stamp Duty revenues. Indeed the complexity of the PML and the perceived underlying message that non-local workers are not welcome has resulted in recruitment issues, especially for the hospitality and care home sectors.’