Guernsey Press

Loss-making Ports set to be given £6.2m. hand-out

WITH Guernsey Ports set to make a loss of £5.3m. this year, Policy & Resources is asking the States to approve a £6.2m. transfer to the utility.

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The number of passengers through the harbour and airport has not recovered after Covid, meaning Guernsey Ports is operating at a loss and will need to be supported by taxpayers.(31332451)

This followed a year in which passenger numbers remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels and followed losses in 2020 and 2021, which depleted its reserves.

A total of £13.9m. was provided by General Revenue to cover those two years, with a £4.5m. loan arranged for this year.

P&R said that passenger numbers were not expected to recover much further next year and is predicting a further loss of £6.2m.

Having taxpayers fund a trading asset’s losses was not sustainable, said P&R, and it planned to work with the States’ Trading Supervisory Board to look at options for the future funding of the ports, ‘including whether there are realistic options for incorporation or if continued taxpayer funding might be appropriate as a contribution towards the economic value created by the ports’.

It planned to report back on its progress and to make further recommendations in its Budget report next year.

Guernsey Ports is one of five unincorporated trading assets operated on behalf of the States and of them, only States Works is set to make any kind of profit this year.

Aside from the anticipated deficit to be incurred by Guernsey Ports, Guernsey Waste is forecast to end the year nearly £2m. down, with Guernsey Dairy and Guernsey Water set to return deficits of £494,000 and £1.06m. respectively.

Only Guernsey Water will not receive any funding from the States, since it will be able to fund its anticipated losses from its retained reserves.

After the States approved funding Guernsey Waste’s losses and forecast deficit from General Revenue in September, provision has been made for a further £825,000 to be included in the STSB’s cash limit.

A short-term loan facility of up to £1.2m. has been provided to the Dairy to fund its short-term capital expenditure while work progresses on the future Guernsey Dairy project.