Guernsey Press

Continuing to deliver on the issues that matter to islanders

Two years after the 2020 General Elections, the main States committees have been sharing with the Guernsey Press what they think they have achieved and what their priorities are before the next election in summer 2025. The series continues with Employment & Social Security.

Employment & Social Security president Deputy Peter Roffey, left, the committee’s vice-president Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez and director of operations Ed Ashton. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31351616)

Our committee has made significant progress in many priority areas during the first two years of this term, but remains focused on continuing to deliver on the issues that matter to islanders.

After many years of hard work, we were delighted the Assembly supported our work on the development of the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022. This will, amongst other things, make discrimination and harassment unlawful on the grounds of disability, carer status, race, sexual orientation and religion or belief when it comes into force on 1 October 2023. The enactment of this legislation was a historic moment for so many islanders who have been promised legal protection for many years.

Addressing the current housing challenges being experienced in all sectors of the market is one of the top priorities for the States this term and our committee has played a key role in those efforts by securing sites for the development of affordable housing.

Working in partnership with the Guernsey Housing Association and the Policy & Resources Committee, several sites have been purchased with plans well under way to develop much-needed partial ownership, social rental, key worker and specialist accommodation.

Ensuring islanders have access to support when they need it is a crucial part of our mandate and we have been pleased to have been able to maintain the real-terms value of all contributory and non-contributory benefits, for example the States pension, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit and income support.

We also stepped in swiftly to help islanders who would otherwise have struggled to afford their heating bills when the gas price suddenly jumped by 17%.

Earlier this year we implemented changes to the eligibility criteria for family allowance. This resulted in savings that have been redirected to the Committee for Health & Social Care and the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture to fund the provision of various children’s services, including subsidised GP and Emergency Department charges for under 18s, a free annual dental check-up and a programme of cultural enrichment initiatives in schools.

The development of a secondary pensions scheme for islanders has been worked on for several years and our committee has appointed a preferred supplier for ‘Your Island Pension’, the government-facilitated secondary pensions scheme.

The committee hopes the Assembly will support its plans to implement secondary pensions when they are considered soon. Bringing this scheme to fruition is a key piece of work the committee wants to achieve as soon as possible to help islanders better provide for their retirement.

The committee is expecting to deliver a great deal more progress on key areas within its mandate during the remaining time of this term. Continued progression at speed of our affordable housing development programme is essential to support efforts to combat current housing challenges.

A shortage of long-term care remains a concern and the committee, working in partnership with the Policy & Resources Committee and the Committee for Health & Social Care, plans to develop proposals to address this challenge during the next two years.

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