Guernsey Press

‘Silent majority say they support our tax plan’

A ‘SILENT majority’ of the public are telling Policy & Resources president Peter Ferbrache that they support his committee’s tax plan.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31804256)

Ahead of the States’ tax debate resuming this morning, Deputy Ferbrache said he had received huge encouragement since the meeting was adjourned in stalemate nearly three weeks ago.

‘Since the first debate, person after person has come up to me and said “keep your resolve – we are the silent majority and we support you”,’ said Deputy Ferbrache.

‘I don’t know if they are the silent majority. I’m not saying 56% or whatever of people in Guernsey are supportive. But there is a significant number who are.’

Deputy Ferbrache also revealed that it had become apparent only yesterday that an international inspection of the island’s finance industry next year will cost more than expected.

‘We had a meeting at lunchtime. Clearly, despite everyone doing 100% they can on this, we’re going to need greater resources for the Moneyval inspection.

‘We need to pay for these things. We need every penny raised in our package.’

P&R is presenting the States with three tax packages.

Option A, its preferred package, includes GST and redistribution to assist the less well-off.

Option B is based on higher taxes on property and motoring.

Option C requires cuts in States spending of tens of millions of pounds a year. It has come out against another alternative – option D – which Heidi Soulsby and Gavin St Pier are expected to ask the States to debate today.

Although Deputy Ferbrache said on Friday that he was attracted to option D, he said yesterday that he could now see that it was flawed.

‘We’ve had material advice from Treasury that the figures do not hold water. It lacks substance. It’s like a well-intentioned meringue with no substance to it.’

However, Deputy Ferbrache said he would vote in favour of a request from Deputies Soulsby and St Pier to suspend the Assembly’s rules of procedure to allow them to at least lay their latest self-styled ‘fairer alternative’ amendment.