Value of Alderney gambling industry to Guernsey ‘not recognised fully’
ALDERNEY’S contribution to the Bailiwick’s economy through its gambling has not been given the recognition it deserved, the States of Guernsey has been told.
After Alderney representative Steve Roberts had delivered an annual update on the work of the States of Alderney last week, Deputy Lyndon Trott said it seemed to him as if the island was in denial about how much it cost the Guernsey taxpayer – what amounted to a £3,000 subsidy per annum for every man, woman and child in Alderney.
Were this applied in Guernsey it would amount to some £189m. a year, he said.
Mr Roberts said ‘denial goes both ways’ and that Guernsey benefited from gambling based in Alderney and that did not get the recognition it deserved.
Among the other items reported by Mr Roberts was an increase in Alderney’s resident population, which was up to 2,039 by September 2018, representing a rise of 2.3% over five years.
But Neil Inder questioned the nature of the growth and asked if this was predominantly early retirees or if many were economically active.
Mr Roberts said that some of the incomers had already started businesses and a great deal of money had been invested in the island.
Deputy Inder went on to ask if the island had done any work on ‘some great idea’ and to perhaps change the mindset of the population. He could not understand how an island in the middle of four functioning economies was not working better.
Mr Roberts said that workshops were ongoing on the subject of how improvements could be made. ‘We have some very promising things coming up,’ he said.
Deputy Barry Brehaut wondered if some sort of discrimination in favour of those who were more economically active was operated, to which Mr Roberts replied that there was a system of work permits and everyone moving to the island was screened.
He was unable to give figures to Deputy Jennifer Merrett of how many of the population worked compared to those who did not, but said he would obtain this information and send it to her.
Mr Roberts concluded his update by saying that the island was working towards a good, friendly conclusion to the revisions being planned to the 1948 agreement: ‘For we are friends and partners and we must all not lose sight of that in the coming months of discussion.’