P&R accused of ‘political skullduggery’
A SLEW of last-minute counter-amendments by Policy & Resources, including one lodged in the middle of the debate, were described as ‘political skulduggery’ by one States member.
Jan Kuttelwascher made the comment during a lengthy debate on whether the age-related allowance should stay at £950, which Deputy De Lisle sought to do by amendment, or be reduced to £450 as proposed in the Budget.
Midway through this debate, P&R president Deputy Gavin St Pier submitted the 42nd amendment to the Budget.
It would have reduced personal income tax allowances in order to ‘balance the books’, as the attempt to retain the age-related allowance would have reduced budgeted revenues by £800,000.
‘The tactics employed here are unwelcome,’ said Deputy Kuttelwascher.
‘Here’s the punchline – that’s not the only thing you could do to balance the Budget.
‘There are other areas where you could take some money and leave everything else in place.’
He thought it should be taken out of the £12.9m set to be transferred into the Core Investment Fund.
‘For me that’s dead money, it’s not contributing to anything or anyone in society.
‘There is no immediate urgency to spend money in the investment reserve.
‘This is turning into, dare I say it, a vote of confidence in P&R because never before have I seen so many amendments, so much political skullduggery going on, especially with these 15 or so amendments that have come back from [P&R].
‘Every one of them comes back with an option that is unpalatable.’
P&R vice-president Deputy Lyndon Trott dismissed Deputy Kuttelwascher’s proposed approach to budgeting as ‘fancy-free and footloose’ and as demonstrating ‘a lack of fiscal maturity’.
He reiterated that any revenue-reducing amendment would need to be counter-balanced.
‘I’d like people to imagine, in very simple terms, if we take the sweets out of a shop without restocking the sweets, the sweets will soon run out as a consequence of that.
‘Particularly if we have directed that the shop be resourced,’ he added, in a reference to the States’ commitment to its fiscal frameworks.