Guernsey Press

‘Deputies must work together on important issues like tax’

POLITICIANS have been encouraged to work together on critical issues such as tax, rather than engaging in ‘easy populist rhetoric’ and ‘kicking the can down the road’.

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 30533026)

The reaction follows a letter about the proposed goods and services tax written by three members of Economic Development – president Neil Inder and deputies Nick Moakes and Simon Vermeulen.

The letter came as a surprise to the other two members of that committee – deputies Sasha Kazantseva-Miller and Steve Falla – because they were unaware of it and had not been asked to sign it.

Deputy Kazantseva-Miller said it was vital that deputies engaged properly on important issues such as tax.

‘It’s very disappointing to see this opinion piece being published that may be considered to be an Economic Development view without having had any engagement with the full committee.

‘Of course, deputies are entitled to publish their own opinions.

‘However, we have a committee system with protocol about publishing views that may be taken as committee positions.

‘Deputy Inder is the first to jump to his feet in the Assembly complaining about factional politics. It would be encouraging for the benefit of our community that deputies walk the talk rather than engage in easy populist rhetoric and kicking the can down the road.’

The main substance of the letter from the three members of Economic Development was a call for a year-long delay to the tax review so that a population policy, skills strategy and housing strategy could be debated first.

It also stated that a GST would likely hit the poorest households hardest, but there would also be a negative impact on ‘middle Guernsey’ and business sectors such as retail and tourism.

Deputy Kazantseva-Miller said she agreed with many of the points made in the letter, including a need to investigate corporate taxation and the effect of GST on middle Guernsey.

‘I have raised the idea of publishing a committee view on GST at a recent meeting but it was not taken up. The opinion letter is also at odds with the comments made about the sequencing of policy letters.’

Deputy Inder said he had no comment to make on the matter.