Digital infrastructure and travel links top ‘recovery actions’ list

TRANSPORT connectivity and digital infrastructure are the most important of the ‘recovery actions’ agreed by the States of Guernsey under the new Government Work Plan, according to a business group.

Wendy Dorey, chairwoman of the Guernsey Institute of Directors. (29804989)
Wendy Dorey, chairwoman of the Guernsey Institute of Directors. (29804989)

A survey commissioned by the local branch of the Institute of Directors sought to identify business priorities among the 10 recovery actions agreed by the States.

Some 65 members responded, and seven out of 10 highlighted transport connectivity, infrastructure and policy, particularly with regard to air travel.

Also, 63% said that digital infrastructure was of critical importance.

‘It’s not surprising to see that transport connectivity and digital infrastructure continue to be our members’ top two priorities,’ said IoD chairwoman Wendy Dorey.

‘We’ve relied on digital infrastructure to keep our businesses functioning through multiple lockdowns over the past 18 months – and access to reliable, super-fast broadband is now a “must have”, rather than a “nice to have”.

‘And while travel has taken a back seat over the past few years, a number of businesses see the resumption of business travel as a crucial part of building their sales pipeline and growing their business over the coming years.’

IoD members represent a variety of key industries and sectors in Guernsey.

Other critical issues they identified included skills (54%), population (42%), and housing and regeneration projects, such as the eastern seaboard (38%).

‘Their responses outline the key areas that will help them and their business bounce back from the pandemic,’ said Mrs Dorey.

On average, members considered 3% growth per annum was a realistic target for the island, with respondents slightly more bullish on the growth prospects for their own business as opposed to their sector as a whole.

Population policy (66%) was ranked the most important area to support this growth target, while ‘measures to improve productivity’ ranked second most important at 43%.

‘It is noteworthy that a number of our members outlined “population” as one of the most important policy areas to enhance growth in the island,’ Mrs Dorey added.

‘It is also important to note that “improving productivity”, which incorporates upskilling the workforce, ranked second most important.

‘We hope this feedback will help inform the States of Guernsey’s Work Plan priority areas and assist with Guernsey’s economic recovery.

‘At such a critical time for Guernsey’s economy, collaboration between Guernsey’s business community and the government is key.’

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, vice-president of the Policy & Resources Committee and the political lead on the GWP, has said she intends for the States to make ‘tangible progress’ on developing the recovery actions over the next six months.

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