Guernsey Press

Alderney takes unusual step to support under-fire P&R

THE States of Alderney has given its full backing to Peter Ferbrache’s Policy & Resources Committee against any moves to unseat it.

Alderney's new senior politician and chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee, Nigel Vooght.

Nigel Vooght, the chairman of Alderney’s senior committee, pictured right, which includes all its States members, wrote to P&R members on Friday urging them to stay in office.

It is highly unusual for Alderney to make such an intervention in Guernsey politics. It comes as P&R’s critics continue to discuss lodging a motion of no confidence following the recent defeat of every one of the committee’s landmark tax policies.

Mr Vooght’s letter also criticised deputies for failing to agree any of five tax plans – three of them from the senior committee – intended to address a black hole in States finances projected to reach nearly £100m. a year.

He said the States of Alderney ‘fully support P&R’ and that ‘common sense failed’ when deputies emerged from six days of debate with no agreement about future levels of tax and spending.

The letter was sent to P&R on Friday. The States of Alderney also sent it by email to some other deputies, but minutes later it sent them a second email trying to recall the first message.

The letter to P&R was entitled ‘support following the Tax Review’.

In it, Mr Vooght thanked the committee for ‘all your hard work and dedication’ on the tax issue and, it appeared, more broadly.

Immediately after the defeat of P&R’s tax plans, Deputy Ferbrache said he was ‘fed up’ and could not be certain that he and each of the other four members of his committee would remain in office.

But after a few days of reflection, he said he wanted to stay put, and he challenged P&R’s critics to take a motion of no confidence to the States if they wanted to remove him.

Deputy Charles Parkinson said before the tax debate that P&R should resign if it failed again to secure the support of the States for GST. It is understood he is still considering whether to lead a motion of no confidence debate.

The States of Alderney had a difficult relationship with P&R in the previous political term. But its representatives in the States of Guernsey, Steve Roberts and Alex Snowdon, have become key allies of Deputy Ferbrache’s P&R in this political term.

In December, P&R secured deputies’ backing for a £24m. redevelopment of Alderney’s airport, including extending the length of its runway and constructing a new terminal building.

Key lines from the Alderney States’ letter

‘Unfortunately, common sense appears to have failed during the debate with no options taken forward. We fear this now places the Bailiwick in a difficult situation with resolution needed as a matter of some urgency.

‘We believe you have the determination to outline the future way ahead once the dust has settled.

‘You have all given so much in your elected roles, and we sincerely hope the current P&R continues in the role as any changes would send the wrong message to the Bailiwick and wider world which is watching closely.

‘I and my colleagues in Alderney fully support P&R and we hope we can meet again soon to discuss mutual areas of interest. In the meantime, I wish you all a well-earned break.’