Guernsey Press

LISTEN: ‘Give up on GST now’, chief minister urged

The introduction of a goods and services tax is already doomed to failure, according to one of the supporters of the 'Say No To GST' campaign.

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Deputy Peter Ferbrache, left and Deputy Carl Meerveld. (Pictures by Sophie Rabey, 31704545)

Deputy Carl Meerveld has encouraged the Policy & Resources Committee to admit defeat, spike its own plans and bring all parties together to find a way forward.

‘I think it’s widely recognised within the States that the GST proposals are going to fail because the public, overwhelmingly, is against it,’ he said, claiming that the introduction of a GST just before an election would make that election a one-issue poll, with candidates elected who would inevitably overturn the new tax.

‘I’ve actually made a suggestion to P&R that they put a sursis against their own policy letter,’ said the deputy, who has already lodged his own delaying motion, ‘acknowledging that the public sentiment is massively against this and to form a working group with those three deputies who have come up with alternatives, to come up with their own plans in 18 months.’

Deputy Ferbrache has rejected the call.

The two met face-to-face yesterday for a debate on the Tax Review, available on the Guernsey Press Politics Podcast, out now.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said he is determined to continue in his role in government, regardless of the outcome of next week’s Tax Review debate.

Resignation, even if the tax plans were defeated, would be ‘grossly irresponsible’, Peter Ferbrache said yesterday.

‘We live in a democratic society and if the States decided it was option A or option B, we, P&R, would have to work with it.'

He also intimated that his view was currently shared by the wider P&R committee.

Speaking on the Guernsey Press Politics Podcast, out today, he said: ‘I’ve not heard from the other four members that if Soulsby is successful or if Parkinson is successful that they are going to, the next week, resign. They may change their mind.'

‘I’m telling you the position as I know it now.’

Deputy Ferbrache had challenged Tax Review opponents to a debate, and Deputy Carl Meerveld represented the group of ‘Say No To GST’ deputies in fronting up against him on the podcast.

Deputy Meerveld has submitted a sursis which, if successful, would postpone the tax review debate until the end of next year and rule out a GST.

P&R would be forced to investigate ‘the appropriate size of government and consequential level of services’ and come back with three options to be considered and voted upon.

Deputy Ferbrache said he had dismissed that idea.

‘We just can’t achieve it,’ he said.

‘I know its a hackneyed phrase but we can’t kick the can down the road any further.'

‘Deputy Meerveld may well be right about the conclusion of the debate next week.'

‘The States may well decide that it doesn’t like our package but it depends what it does like – we could end up with absolutely nothing.’

Separate, alternative GST-free proposals have also been submitted by Deputies Charles Parkinson and Heidi Soulsby.

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