IoD praises new States for ‘action not words’ attitude

THE NEW States has been applauded for its first 100 days in government by a leading business group.

The new States Assembly in the Royal Courts chamber. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29189063)
The new States Assembly in the Royal Courts chamber. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29189063)

The Institute of Directors has praised the States for its ‘action not words’ attitude, and it has listed a number of early achievements.

Top of the list is the outcome of the Bailiwick’s Brexit negotiations where centuries-old constitutional rights were protected, the ‘third country’ status was retained, a new free trade Customs agreement was established, and a new fishing licensing scheme was set up.

In a statement, the IoD called this an ‘extremely positive outcome’ which underlined how effectively the new Assembly had worked with key civil servants to ‘get the job done’.

The first 100 days are a popular measuring stick for success, and it was not just around Brexit that the IoD spotted promising signs.

It has also welcomed a review of the Bailiwick’s financial position and a review of capital expenditure.

Tangible results out of this have been noted, such as the direction in the 2021 Budget for £60m. to be set aside for urgent repairs to sea walls and defences.

Policy & Resources’ discretionary spend was increased in the Budget from £2m. to £5m. in an effort to cut through States bureaucracy and speed up the delivery of smaller projects.

Maintaining key infrastructure has been a top priority for the IoD, so these early steps have been welcomed whole-heartedly.

Each States committee has also been asked to prioritise its top three projects, although the result of that exercise has not been made public yet.

A new concept introduced by the Assembly was called the ‘Guernsey Expects’ policy and this aimed to ensure that the highest calibre independent members are appointed to each States committee.

This was another key priority ticked off for the IoD because it had wanted to see greater engagement between government and the business community.

Looking to the future, and beyond what is often regarded as a 100-day honeymoon period, the IoD has emphasised several issues where it wants to see progress.

‘Our members also highlighted the importance of full fibre broadband roll-out across the island.

‘This is a key priority for this Assembly and, with talks ongoing with the major telecoms providers, our members are keen to see a plan, and timescales, for delivery.

‘The topic of air links is another key member priority and, as a key strategic asset to the Bailiwick, we look forward to further engaging with P&R on how Aurigny can deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable links to the Bailiwick once travel is resumed.

‘Finally, we are pleased to note that a policy letter is due in Q1 [quarter one] for the seafront enhancement project, which will look to establish a development authority.’

While there are huge problems facing the new States, there is a sense of optimism and confidence emanating from the IoD.

‘Our members believe that the States need to be decisive and act with determination and speed.

‘In these difficult times this is more important than ever – and we, along with the other business groups, will continue to work with the States to enable them to make policy decisions based on information and evidence from the wider business community.’

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