Previous States accused of doing 'almost nothing'

‘THE last several States have done almost nothing,’ according to Guernsey’s chief minister.

The Policy & Resources members and senior civil servant Steve Wakelin at yesterday's Scrutiny Management Committee hearing. Left to right, Mr Wakelin, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Deputy Peter Ferbrache and Deputy Mark Helyar.(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30878786)
The Policy & Resources members and senior civil servant Steve Wakelin at yesterday's Scrutiny Management Committee hearing. Left to right, Mr Wakelin, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Deputy Peter Ferbrache and Deputy Mark Helyar.(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30878786)

Peter Ferbrache made the assertion at yesterday’s Scrutiny Management hearing, during which Policy & Resources was being asked about progress on the Government Work Plan – the agreed priorities to be pursued during this term of the States.

Scrutiny panel member Simon Fairclough asked, following last week’s decision to delay debate on secondary pensions by six months, whether Deputy Ferbrache regretted using the phrase ‘action this day’ after the last election.

‘We’ve got to do things sensibly,’ he said. ‘Action this day shouldn’t be silly action this day, or unnecessary action this day.’

He noted that the three other States members on the hearing panel questioning him – Deputies Yvonne Burford, Adrian Gabriel and Gavin St Pier – had, like Deputy Fairclough, all opposed the delay. ‘You’ve all got the same mind in relation to that, and other things’.

He argued that his original clarion call, which was made during his pitch to be elected as president of P&R in October 2020, had

‘to be interpreted in a common sense way’.

This was particularly the case, he said, because of the need to address decisions made in previous States terms.

‘We’ve been foisted with policies that, to me, were ill thought-out and haven’t ended up as well as they should,’ he said.

‘I would like to get on with things much quicker than we can but because we’re a democracy – and long may that continue – and because we’ve got procedures, some of which will need to be changed, things take longer than they should.’

Defending his support of the delay to the pension debate, Deputy Ferbrache said the issue needed to be looked at in six months’ time, ‘when we have more information as to where the world economy lies and where we are’.

He also clarified that if Deputy Carl Meerveld’s sursis had failed and the debate had gone ahead, he would have voted ‘there and then to implement the proposals’.

As the only current member of P&R who was also on that same committee last term, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq said ‘we’re heading in the right direction’ and that ‘we have been over-cautious in the past’.

The top priorities identified by P&R will be debated from 28 June, after a successful move by Deputy Ferbrache to have the Work Plan debate delayed by two weeks.

States members will have an opportunity to vote through changes to those priorities at that time and every subsequent June, according to the rules of the GWP process.

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