Guernsey Press

Deputy calls for work on benefits of privatisation

DEPUTY Mark Helyar has called for more work to investigate the benefits of privatising States’ companies and trading bodies.

Deputy Mark Helyar. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32478277)

He believes that the thinking behind his electricity strategy amendment calling for a review into closer working between Guernsey Electricity and Jersey Electricity – possibly up to the point of merging them – could be applied to other States’ assets.

‘I think we should be applying the same kind of criteria to whether we hold other trading entities as closely as we do, where private capital, not government ownership, could release them to be more efficient.

‘Where the government does government things, it’s not particularly good at running businesses,’ said Deputy Helyar, who is vice-president of the Policy & Resources Committee as well as Treasury lead.

He identified Aurigny and the Dairy as two States-run organisations which could potentially benefit from partial or full privatisation.

Deputy Peter Roffey, president of the States’ Trading Supervisory Board, which oversees government trading bodies, said his committee was not considering selling off States assets.

‘I was elected on a mandate of not privatising key utilities,’ he said.

‘What we have considered is commercialisation, putting in management, as we have at Aurigny and Guernsey Post.

‘Having a virtual monopoly in a small community is not something I would support. Having a public amenity is very important in those circumstances.’

Deputy Helyar also wants to see closer working with Jersey across a range of businesses and services.

‘The idea that we should continue to develop things in isolation from one another, when we could be co-operating and saving costs and making things more efficient... that has got to be the way forward.'