States needs to borrow £200m. for Work Plan

DEPUTIES will be asked to agree to borrow £200m. as part of plans to spend £550m. on capital infrastructure over the next four years.

The new Government Work Plan, published today, includes proposals to fire up the States’ limited appetite for infrastructure spending in recent years.

Capital projects slated to go ahead include whatever option is pursued for secondary and post-16 education, repairs at Havelet, Castle Emplacement and Fermain, airport hold baggage screening and enhancements at the hospital.

In total Policy & Resources has costed capital spending for both new, and in some cases significant projects, alongside standard upgrading programmes and one-off projects, at some £650m.

The plans could see the States putting the best part of £150m. a year into construction and infrastructure projects each year by 2023.

‘There has been under-investment in critical national and economic infrastructure,’ said Policy & Resources treasury lead Mark Helyar.

Treasury lead Deputy Mark Helyar. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29664810)

‘Capital investment is now vital to deliver this plan. The recommendation, which is affordable in the medium term, is to utilise existing financial assets and borrow a further £200m. to invest in our infrastructure, improve our financial resilience, and boost economic recovery and expansion.’

The States has worked out it currently has some £260m. available for capital spending from reserves, and a further £190m., which, if deputies agree, it could use from the current States bond. But that still leaves a £200m. hole in funding expectations, and hence the plan to pursue more borrowing.

Deputy Helyar warned once again that committees would need to demonstrate the ability to live within annual budgets. ‘If we agree the plan we cannot afford for budgets to creep – the whole culture must change. There are things that we can’t do and some people will be unhappy about them.’

Two significant matters likely to be derailed from the work programme are the progress of adopting Nice TA drugs, which it is proposed is delayed, and a deferral of any further investigations on equal pay for work of equal value, which is being pushed by nursing unions.

  • The States will debate the plan on 21 July.

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