‘Never a better opportunity for islands to work together’

A FORMER Guernsey deputy has analysed the opportunities for the governments of the Channel Islands to work properly together for a first time to secure their futures.

Chris Brock, of Critical Economics. (31669193)
Chris Brock, of Critical Economics. (31669193)

Chris Brock, who was also a senior civil servant before his spell in politics, has used his business, Critical Economics, to put together the ‘Vision CI’ initiative – and said that scepticism about the islands ever working together has so far proved to be ‘very much a minority viewpoint’.

‘The islands should be in a much stronger position if they look to the future as one body rather than continuing to adopt diverse approaches to the delivery of services,’ he said.

‘Such a route in no way tries to undermine the unique heritage and identity of each island. However, the initiative should provide greater resilience and stability over the decades to come.

‘We want to open up objective debate, rather than spark inter-island rivalries and competing agendas.’

Mr Brock accepts that working with Jersey has rarely gone further than face-to-face meetings – a practice which restarted at the end of last year following Jersey’s general election.

‘The impact of both the challenging priorities facing each island at present and the current backdrop of long-term international and national tensions and events is a daunting scenario,’ he said.

‘Therefore, it is unlikely that there will ever be a better opportunity than now to review a pan-CI approach to the provision of many key CI public sector functions.’

Critical Economics has been pursuing this idea since 2020, but public discussion was largely put on hold during Covid.

Mr Brock said that private companies, across so many sectors of the economy, were working effectively across the islands and setting an example for the governments, and Guernsey and Jersey – and Alderney and Sark – could see benefits of critical mass and economies of scale.

Guernsey and Jersey spend some £1.5bn a year between them on public services. A third of that goes on health and welfare, with 18% on social infrastructure, 19% on education, sport and culture, and 17% on central administration.

Ever-increasing spend on healthcare with an ageing population is likely to create severe resourcing issues and Mr Brock said that a pan-island position could be a lot more effective.

. The full report is available at criticaleconomics.com

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