Guernsey Press

What deputies said about GST in their election manifestos

Before the 2020 general election, all candidates were asked this question on the States Election 2020 website and printed manifesto booklet: What is your opinion of introducing a goods and sales tax? Here is a reminder of their responses:

Last updated

Chris Blin: ‘No way – it is regressive and inflationary and affects the wrong people. There are ideas to decrease tax or increase the tax thresholds and then apply a tax, but surely more layers of bureaucracy.’

Al Brouard: ‘I am not in favour and previously voted against a GST, but if we wish increased services, there is a need to raise more revenue, how that will be done is part and parcel of a review on tax which is being undertaken now.’

Yvonne Burford: ‘I voted against GST when last in the States as it impacts those on lower incomes the most, in terms of disposable income.’

Tina Bury: ‘From the evidence I have seen, GST hits the lowest earners hardest and that doesn’t align with my values.’

David De Lisle: ‘Against GST.’

Lindsay de Sausmarez: ‘We need to look at all viable options to make our fiscal system fairer and more sustainable, but instinctively I would be keen to avoid GST if at all possible as it is regressive – it hits people with less disposable income harder.’

Andrea Dudley-Owen: ‘I do not support a GST.’

John Dyke: ‘No. Cut waste first.’

Simon Fairclough: ‘I wouldn’t like to see it, but will inevitably be considered as one of the options in a tax and benefits review.’

Steve Falla: ‘I am completely against this regressive form of taxation.’

Peter Ferbrache: ‘In principle against it, but certainly there should be a moratorium on any tax increases for the next eighteen months to two years.’

John Gollop: ‘Opinions are not always based on fact. I deplore the way Jersey imposes GST on food and children’s clothes but sales taxes allow reductions in income tax for the less well off and more health services. I would be against sales taxes that would weaken our retail sector or increase poverty but think long term we will need more consumption taxes to support greater tax equity.’

Sam Haskins: ‘GST is regressive, hitting lower income earners the most. It leads to a lazy government, encourages the black (cash in hand) economy, takes a department to run and increased red-tape and reporting for new businesses.’

Mark Helyar: ‘Against it as it harms the poorest in society.’

Neil Inder: ‘Against.’

Sasha Kazantseva-Miller: ‘I am not in favour of regressive taxation that may make lower income households worse-off, which GST on its own would do. However, there are ways to model a GST introduction together with increasing the income thresholds for income tax and income support which can have a balancing-out effect. We should review all ideas as part of the fiscal review.’

Jonathan Le Tocq: ‘I used to work for VAT in the UK and have seen first-hand how regressive and expensive to implement and oversee such taxes can be. So I still wish to avoid introducing a GST unless absolutely unavoidable. However we cannot simply keep on increasing things like TRP and fuel duty. Similarly we are over-reliant on taxing employment and income. We have some taxation on spending now in the form of excise duties and imports. If it can be demonstrated that a proportionate reduction in Income Tax and/or other taxes could be achieved with the introduction of an expanded form of tax on spending I would be content to consider it.'

Chris Le Tissier: 'No net tax increases during the next term and no GST. Increase the tax cap for high net worth individuals.'

Marc Leadbeater: ‘It would hit the lower earner hardest and is in my opinion regressive – no to GST.’

David Mahoney: ‘I am against GST and will not support.’

Aidan Matthews: ‘I oppose GST as it affects those on low and middle incomes.’

Liam McKenna: ‘GST will hit the pensioners and working class hardest, this seems unfair that the highest earners pay exactly the same for goods as those on a pension.’

Nick Moakes: ‘I want to avoid raising taxes so no. Plus GST will hit the poorest the hardest.’

Bob Murray: ‘No. Not at all.’

Victoria Oliver: ‘No there are still savings to be made within the States.’

Charles Parkinson: ‘I am opposed to a GST. However, we must recognise that our public finances have been damaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, and some difficult decisions will have to be taken.’

Rob Prow: ‘Any new tax, especially one that taxes the same people again, must be a last resort and only considered after prioritising spending and examining all amounts and purpose of existing pots of States money. By way of example, the capital reserve fund has £230m. unallocated sitting in it and we have a bond we hardly use. The other problem with a sales tax is that VAT is often not adequately deducted from retail prices in Guernsey.’

Peter Roffey: ‘I’m against it. It would be regressive.’

Heidi Soulsby: ‘I have always been opposed to GST as it isn’t progressive and voted against looking into it in the previous term. The debate will not go away until we have a sustainable tax system, which we do not have at the moment and which is why the tax and benefits review is going to be critical next term.’

Gavin St Pier: ‘I supported it in 2015. I accepted the States’ decision to undertake no further work on it. Personally, I remain of the view that it is need not be a regressive tax (if introduced appropriately with other changes to the tax and benefit systems) and can actually be a progressive tax (because the wealthy consume more).’

Andrew Taylor: ‘Against. The administration costs will outweigh the tax gains (unless high rate of tax), it will be a bureaucratic nightmare for small businesses, and doesn’t address government spending habits.’

Lyndon Trott: ‘I hope that economic growth will be sufficient to avoid the need for it.'

Simon Vermeulen: ‘Absolutely no GST. It is tough enough already. We need to grow our economy and protect our unique position of not having a sales tax.’

Five deputies did not respond to the question above, but answered this question in a Guernsey Press survey: Are more taxes, including a sales tax, an inevitable part of that recovery?

Sue Aldwell: ‘Walking around the island, the suggestions put forward to me have been 1 or 2p on income tax or 10% on internet purchases, encouraging islanders to buy local.’

Andy Cameron: ‘No, prefer that money was generated in other ways. We have a large debt to pay, and have to be realistic. Tax breaks to facilitate new ideas.’

Adrian Gabriel: ‘We don’t need a GST to create income – we have a large loan, used correctly, this will help. A fairer tax spread is needed too.’

Carl Meerveld: ‘I do not support the introduction of GST. I want to see the States’ costs and waste reduced further before considering higher taxes.’

Lester Queripel: ‘If extra revenue is genuinely required, ability to pay must be a prime consideration. Territorial tax a possibility.’