Quick-fire responses over Tax Review
GUERNSEY’S senior political committee has pledged its support for a move to ensure that any future increase in a goods and services tax has to be decided in parliament.
The commitment came during a Facebook live event last night, during which Policy & Resources president Peter Ferbrache, treasury lead Mark Helyar and committee member Dave Mahoney were joined by Employment & Social Security president Peter Roffey and States Treasurer Bethan Haines to field questions from those watching from home.
Just less than 300 people watched the live stream and although the panel of five were all dressed in black, they were far from mournful, breezing through 35 questions in 67 minutes in a business-like manner.
The amendment proposing to ensure parliamentary control over the GST rate has been proposed by Home Affairs president Rob Prow and was the first to be announced ahead of the debate, which will begin on Wednesday 25 January.
The panel highlighted the extensive nature of the proposals, which aim to reduce the overall tax burden on most of those on lower incomes, while seeking to ensure wealthier islanders – some of whom have a lot of money, but officially little income – pay more through a 5% tax on what they purchase.
Many references were made to Jersey’s experience of introducing the tax, from which Guernsey could learn lessons.
‘I think within a short period of time, people will have got used to GST,’ Deputy Ferbrache said, ‘just as they’ve got used to the equivalent in other jurisdictions.’
Deputy Ferbrache repeated that he would be happy to debate the Tax Review with any political opponents.
The panel also addressed concerns about States spending, and said it would continue to look to make savings within government, and whether GST would be maintained at 5% for a set period – they admitted that the decisions of future assemblies were out of their control.