Guernsey Press

Just say no to GST, says group of deputies

A GROUP of deputies have launched a formal campaign to oppose GST, with plans for a rally, a protest on the steps of the States and the wearing of red ribbons to denote opposition to the tax.

The deputies who are spearheading the campaign against implementing GST. Back row, left to right, Carl Meerveld, Simon Vermeulen, Charles Parkinson, Chris Le Tissier and Lester Queripel. Front row: David De Lisle, Liam McKenna and Chris Blin. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31650408)

Islanders are being invited to meet at North Beach at 2pm on Sunday 22 January, from where they and the deputies will march to Market Square for a rally at 2.30pm.

States members are due to debate the introduction of the sales tax, alongside reforms to income tax and social security contributions, at their first meeting of the year, which begins on Wednesday 25 January. Policy & Resources will argue for a GST of 5% to help mitigate a predicted shortfall of up to £100m. between the money the States needs to spend in the future and the amount it takes in through all taxes.

The campaigning deputies have also invited islanders to join them in a protest on the steps of the Royal Court on the morning of that meeting.

Among the deputies to have declared their support for the campaign are Chris Blin, David De Lisle, John Dyke, Chris Le Tissier, Liam McKenna, Carl Meerveld, Charles Parkinson and Simon Vermeulen.

The campaign has no formal alternatives to raise revenue, though a number of amendments and potential options are now being discussed.

The deputies said that they accepted the States was under financial pressure, but there had to be better and more equitable ways of raising revenue, and making more savings.

The prospect of a final decision on raising revenue once again faces the prospect of being delayed.

Deputy Meerveld confirmed yesterday that he planned to lay a sursis, a delaying motion, in debate at the end of the month, proposing instead a wide-ranging review of government.

‘I’m not supporting any one solution at this stage,’ he said, ‘but I am aware of several alternatives and it will be up to the assembly to decide.

‘My sursis will instruct P&R to go away and determine what size and style of government the community wants, with costings, and come back with proposals later this year.

‘If the States can’t make a decision, then it would go to a referendum in 2024, and we’ll let the people decide.’

One of the alternative solutions is expected to come from Deputies Parkinson and McKenna, who want to introduce corporation tax at 15%.