Guernsey Press

‘We need to develop the working population’ – Prow

HOME AFFAIRS’ population and immigration changes are uncomfortable but necessary, committee president Rob Prow has said, adding that the policy review report set to be debated by the States next month threw problems the island faces into 'stark relief'.

Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow. (31286246)

The report looks to allow more worldwide recruitment, but also stabilise the island’s diminishing workforce by planning to have 300 new people arrive in the island per year. ‘[The report] was a quite stark record of the ageing demographic,’ Deputy Prow said.

‘It really reinforced the need to develop the working population. It underpins the stark reality.’

But to accommodate that, the report looked in detail at how the island would cope with so many more people with more housing and the need for increased education and health care provision.

‘For me, it’s about setting out the challenges and looking at where solutions could be found.’

He said all the recommendations in the report are based on trends and research and States committees had all been closely involved with drawing it up. That gave him hope many States members would understand the problems and back the policy letter.

He was keen to point out that the 300 migration figure was not a target or cap, but an assumption, so the States could plan for what services and resources were needed. It would be reviewed every five years to ensure it would meet Guernsey’s needs.

He said that a lack of key worker housing was an example of a problem that needed to be addressed.

Addressing productivity, he said, was not just about bringing in new people, but upskilling the existing workforce.

Deputy Prow praised the team which drew up the report, which stretches to more than 40 pages and covers all aspects of Guernsey future population needs and its impacts.

‘It is all those interdependencies and the consequences of having a larger population to suit the needs of the economy and business, while there is a chronic housing shortage’ he said.

‘There’s some real tensions.’