Guernsey Press

We need to live within our means, say opponents of introducing GST

SUPPORTERS of a campaign among States members to derail Policy & Resources’ plans to introduce a goods and services tax have been giving their reasons for opposing it.

Fees for cruise ship passengers and 'luxury taxes' have been suggested by Deputy Chris Blin for raising extra revenue. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31650659)

‘We should live within our means and cut our cloth accordingly,’ Chris Blin said yesterday. ‘There is an administrative burden in introducing a GST and there are better alternatives.’

Deputy Blin suggested ‘luxury taxes’ or fees for cruise ship passengers could be introduced.

‘We need to be sure, before resorting to GST, that we have explored all opportunities to generate and develop the economy,’ he said.

Deputy John Dyke claimed the States had not done enough to organise effective cost-cutting.

‘We haven’t looked at cost savings sufficiently to know whether the tax take needs to increase,’ he said.

‘GST will damage retail, hospitality and economic growth. Taxes might need to go up but there are other things we can look at, like motor taxes, for example.’

One of the most consistently vocal opponents of a GST has been Deputy Liam McKenna.

‘The community cannot afford to pay any more,’ he said yesterday.

‘Generation rent are already having to leave the island because they just cannot afford to live here.’

He is planning to second an amendment from Deputy Charles Parkinson that would introduce a 15% corporation tax.

Deputy Simon Vermeulen said GST would be counter-productive.

‘It comes with more running costs and people will be buying less,’ he said.

‘It will affect the viability of businesses especially in retail and tourism, which is one of our USPs.

‘I’m a big fan of projects like the new marina and runway as they will create a lot of growth. I see a lot of wasting, and I’m not afraid to make cuts. We need to live within our means and I will be sticking to my election promises the whole way.’

Deputy Chris Le Tissier claimed the States was not doing enough to control costs and that ‘incremental gains’ that could save ‘five million here and there’ could add up to ‘the amount that we need’.

He also said he believed the States and the community needed to act in partnership, meaning the unpopularity of the tax was a strong argument against it.

That was a sentiment shared by Deputy David De Lisle, who was also concerned about the effects on the high street.

‘It’s going to greatly affect retail trade,’ he said.

‘We’ll need new investment to administer it, which will come at a great cost, and we’re supposed to be limiting public servants.’

Most of no to GST campaigners optimistic of success

THE political campaigners against GST were largely optimistic when asked about their chances of success.

Deputy Liam McKenna has been encouraged by the 8,000 views his Facebook post attracted within 48 hours of going up, largely accompanied by positive feedback.

‘Momentum is building,’ he said. ‘I’m absolutely optimistic it won’t go through.’

Deputy Chris Blin said: ‘I am optimistic because there is a strong view held by a lot of the community that this is not the solution.’

Deputy Chris Le Tissier felt the war would be won, regardless of the result of this month’s battle.

‘If it goes through, it will automatically become an election issue in 2025,’ he said. ‘It would be like the schools debate all over again.’

Deputy John Dyke was a little less phlegmatic about the chances of the campaign’s success.

‘I can’t predict how it will go,’ he said, ‘but I’m sure we’ll have a full and thorough debate.’