Guernsey Press

What your deputies said, and how they voted on tax

Mark Ogier followed the Tax Review debate all day on Friday to bring you the flavour of States members’ stance on the Tax Review, as indicated by their speeches, and a summary of the final results on the votes for options

Policy & Resources president Deputy Peter Ferbrache faces the media after the debate finished on Friday. He maintained his committee’s option, which included GST, was the only one which balanced out. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31816454)

We know it isn’t “GST or cut services” and we know there are many other things we could do which is why I’m not going to support option A, in fact the only option I am going to support is option D.’

Deputy Lester Queripel

‘My job as a deputy is to look at all options on the table and decide what is the fairest option, especially protecting those vulnerable islanders on low incomes.’

Deputy Sue Aldwell

‘‘I’m going to be voting for option C. C is the most dramatic because by voting for C we have the hard conversation. By voting for [propositions] six through 17... that gives us a compromise measure.’

Deputy Carl Meerveld

‘If option A was the preferred option it wouldn’t go ahead. I’m willing to put my neck on the line and say that i don’t think this P&R would be able to deliver it and get it across the line before the next election... It is not deliverable, whereas option D is.’

Deputy Andrew Taylor

‘To vote for option E is every bit as much a tax and spend approach as option A. It introduces punitive charges that will come as a major shock to island residents... the credible, fairer, way forward is to vote for option D.’

Deputy Steve Falla

‘If members can’t vote for B I hope they vote for option E. For me, I will be voting for option B and hope that if GST is not introduced then these members will vote for option B.’

Deputy Sam Haskins

‘I will continue to listen to debate of course but as things stand I cannot support option A ahead of option D and if all else fails... I could vote for option E.’

Deputy Simon Fairclough

‘I am going to vote for option C because I think it gets to grips with what our people want to see, which is some fiscal continence. I would also thank Deputies Soulsby and St Pier for all the ancillary options they have given us ... that we will have item by item votes on and I am in favour of pretty much all of those.’

Deputy John Dyke

‘I might get into a position where A is my only option and just see what happens thereafter... Don’t fall for option D... It might get you a bit of a high for the next day but that gets you absolutely nowhere. It will not deliver the sustainable finance we need to be looking at in any way, shape or form so don’t fall for that, and good luck with E.’

Deputy Neil Inder

‘I will be voting for option A despite knowing it will make me worse off because I accept that someone has to pay and I accept that people like me should be shouldering a large part of that burden... The huge mitigations that will be put in place will protect and soften the impact for those on more modest earnings.’

Deputy David Mahoney

‘I’m going to stick with option A because I have the courage of my convictions. I have studied this considerably and have listened to debate and I still believe that option A is the best option.’

Deputy Rob Prow

‘Option C... has been called the “slash and burn” option... There is no need to pursue a slash and burn policy. Sure, we need cuts but these can be spread amongst cuts to budgets, reducing the cost of government and so on.’

Deputy Chris Le Tissier

‘Cutting to the chase... because we’ve all made up our minds by now and no long, drawn out, grandstanding speech is going to change that, I’ll be supporting option D. And I encourage all members to do the same. Keep their speeches as short as my legs and vote for option D.’

Deputy Marc Leadbeater

‘I will certainly listen to debate but I think of the options available to us... for me I think option D is the most pragmatic of all of those... It will help restore the community’s confidence in government and give it that assurance that we are looking at ourselves and our own systems and our own processes and our own expenditure.’

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez

‘I have heard time and again over the last few weeks: “Why aren’t you taking the money from the corporate sector and from wealthy people?”. That is exactly what option A does – overwhelmingly takes more money from the corporate sector than from households and when you get down to households, overwhelmingly from the rich and not from the poor and middle earners.’

Deputy Peter Roffey

‘I find C more palatable because essentially it’s going for cuts, its going for responsibility in government its going for a smaller government... It’s going to enable people to have a disposable income and not to be drained with costs to government taxes and rates.’

Deputy David De Lisle

‘The GST method of taxation... is wrong for Guernsey at the moment. To me it’s lazy, regressive. It detracts from one of our unique selling points – no VAT or consumer-based tax. Most don’t want it and, more importantly, are willing to pay in other, fairer ways. We just have to find those ways and communicate them accurately and to me option D does that.’

Deputy Adrian Gabriel

‘Everyone agrees that there is a structural deficit...The time to act is now, that is why I support the policy letter. There is no viable alternative and doing nothing is not an option. Certainly don’t vote for option D, it will come back to bite you in the future.’

Deputy Nick Moakes, above

‘The way we should be looking at the different options in front of us is about damage limitation to some extent... The fairer alternative is trying to show that we don’t have the right to put such a huge burden of increased taxation on our economy, be it on corporates but especially on households.’

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller

‘We need to have a stable, credible and fair taxation to have any chance to deliver the services and infrastructure requirements that islanders demand. With A and the amendment now that food is out, I think A gives that opportunity to the island and to us.’

Deputy Al Brouard

‘None of the options before us today have any provision for putting aside the sorts of monies that we would need to put aside that our forefathers did... The only option that gives us the opportunity to go anywhere towards that is option A.’

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq

‘The direction I would like to take would be looking at option C. This seems the more draconian one, the one with the cuts, however this has to be tied in with some other amendments... [propositions] six to 16 and there are some within there that will give us the other areas we can look at to compensate.’

Deputy Chris Blin

‘I think GST is actually our best option... It’s the only option on the table that kind of makes any sense. I might even change my mind later... I think it’s going to be one of the cheapest to absorb in costs... What does worry me about it is small businesses and how they are going to cope.’

Deputy Victoria Oliver

‘Leaving here with nothing this afternoon would in my view be considerably better than the substantial increases for middle Guernsey that option E would bring. Nothing would at least force P&R to start from scratch... option D is a fairer package of measures.’

Deputy Gavin St Pier

‘If B or C haven’t made it, I will vote for option D because it’s a pick and mix. We’ve had some speeches saying: “Don’t go for option D because it’s a bit fluffy and will not actually deliver”, but maybe I don’t want to deliver all this pain at the moment.’

Deputy John Gollop

‘I know it’s deeply unpopular but still for me option A is the most coherent, logical and the fairest way of raising taxes in Guernsey and it does actually achieve that radical overhaul that Deputy St Pier has been talking about.’

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen

‘I think option A, the original option, with the benefit of zero-rated food, is probably the best one of that package of options we are presented with now. But the whole thing is a total mess in my view.’

Alderney representative Alex Snowdon

‘I think if we could wind back the clock and it was done in a slightly different way, I think the proposals would have had a fighting chance. However, they haven’t got a fighting chance... Even if I was to switch my vote, which I don’t intend to do, it wouldn’t be enough to get a majority for GST.’

Deputy Lyndon Trott

‘We are running out of money and that means we have to make very very difficult choices and this really I suspect is the first in a series of steps towards eventually... we will have GST because there’s been no credible alternative which is capable of doing the heavy lifting which is required.’

Deputy Mark Helyar

‘My preferred option in many ways on balance is for option E as I think Deputy Roffey has recognised some of the immediate shortfall most effectively in his proposal. But there is no pick and mix and some of the items that Deputy Roffey has included are not the same way that I would have done them.’

Deputy Aidan Matthews

‘I trust P&R and applaud the work they have done bringing a possible solution to empower the island’s future, protecting the lower earners with higher allowances... but you can’t please everyone... I believe you will not get a better deal than option A.’

Alderney representative Steve Roberts

‘I don’t know if I am going to be able to bring myself to support an option. If I did it would probably be option D, but I have to say I am not even very enthusiastic about option D and none of the others... will provide a long-term solution they are just a short-term fix.’

Deputy Charles Parkinson

‘Without putting in a GST at this point in time we are denying ourselves one of those major levers we can pull with our economy to position the island for the future, to be successful, and it’s not going to be easy.’

Deputy Bob Murray

‘I have already set out why I can’t support options A, B and C. Unlike the old song, option A is not adorable, B is not beautiful and C is definitely not a cutie full of charms and I think it highly unlikely they will get across the line anyway and I will focus similarly on why I can’t support option E, which is certainly not heavenly.’

Deputy Heidi Soulsby

‘We are at the end of the runway. We have got no more time. We have got to make decisions. The only option that bears that in mind, that balances out what we all should be doing... is option A. Deputy Roffey said it was head and shoulders and torso above all the other options. I completely agree with him.’

Deputy Peter Ferbrache

Options votes

States members listed in alphabetical order next to the options they voted for:

Aldwell - A and E

Blin - C and E

Brouard - A

Burford - D

Bury - D and E

Cameron - D

De Lisle - C

de Sausmarez - D and E

Dudley-Owen - A

Dyke - C and D

Fairclough - D

Falla - D

Ferbrache - A, B, C and E

Gabriel - D

Gollop - B, C, D and E

Haskins - E

Helyar - A and E

Inder - A

Kazantseva-Miller - D

Le Tissier - C

Le Tocq - A and E

Leadbeater - D

Mahoney - A and E

Matthews - D and E

McKenna - D

Meerveld - C and E

Moakes - A and E

Murray - A, B and E

Oliver - A, C and E

Parkinson - D

Prow - A

Queripel - D and E

Roberts - A and E

Roffey - A and E

Snowdon - A

Soulsby - D

St Pier - D

Taylor - D

Trott - D

Vermeulen - C and D

Options A to E in detail

Option A (P&R’s tax plan)

5% GST on nearly all purchases to raise £67m.

Restructure social security contributions to raise £19m.

More tax from companies to raise £20m.

Reductions in States’ spending to raise £10m.

New 15% band of income tax plus higher personal allowances plus ongoing support measures at a cost of £30m.

Option B (P&R’s compromise alternative)

Restructure social security contributions to raise £34m.

Increase TRP on residential properties to raise £5m.

Increase taxes on motoring to raise £10-15m.

More tax from companies to raise £20m.

Reduction in States’ spending to raise £10-16m.

Option C (P&R’s original alternative)

Increase social security contributions to raise £34m.

More tax from companies to raise £20m.

Reductions in States’ spending to raise £31m.

Options A, B and C are estimated to improve States’ finances by around £85m. a year.

Option D (Deputy Soulsby’s ‘Fairer Alternative’)

Increase social security contributions to raise £19m.

A new corporate levy to raise £10m., in addition to any reform of zero-10.

Other revenue-raising measures worth about £8m., but excluding GST.

Cuts in States’ spending of £8m. in 2024/25.

A second stage, after reviewing other opportunities for efficiencies and raising revenue.

Option E (Deputy Roffey’s fall-back position)

Increase social security contributions to raise £19m.

More tax on companies to raise £20m.

More tax on motoring to raise £10m.

More tax on residential properties to raise £6m.

A second stage to be dealt with by the next States.