Following Guy Hands’ letter to the Guernsey Press suggesting a 1% annual levy on the value of such properties – which make up 7% of the island’s housing stock – Deputy Neil Inder made clear his opposition to the idea.
‘I just want to make clear that as president of the committee for Economic Development, I do not support any measures which would seek to tax owners of open market properties simply because they live in an open market home,’ he said.
‘I greatly value the significant contributions made to the island’s economy by those who have moved here to live on the open market.
‘Many of these residents have given a lot to our community over the years both in financial terms, in the wide variety of businesses they have established here, the jobs they have created and the charitable work which they have carried out.’
He said 46 new families had been offered help from Locate Guernsey to relocate during 2022, 13 of which had also brought businesses to the island.
Those who had moved into open market properties had helped to generate £2.3m. in document duty.
‘The pipeline for 2023 looks promising with a range of high-net-worth individuals plus several financial services and other businesses who are also seeking to establish themselves on the island over the course of the next 12-18 months,’ Deputy Inder said.
‘Whatever the outcome of the Tax Review, I am determined that open market residents will not be unfairly penalised and I will not support any measure that seeks to penalise this sector.
‘Guernsey residents should all be prepared to make a fair contribution to any increase in taxes, each according to their means.’
While making it clear that he was speaking only as the president and not on behalf of his committee, Deputy Inder implied open market housing was untouchable when it came to finding new revenue streams.
‘I learned very early on in my political career that there are two words you don’t put in the same sentence – “open market” and “review”,’ he said.
‘There were attempts many moons ago to do just that and the consequences were felt widely and for many years – none of them being very good consequences. Instability is not good for business – let’s nip this in the bud.’