Guernsey Press

We’re not 100% against GST, say campaigners

ANTI-GST campaigners who attended a Q&A with Peter Ferbrache admitted they were not 100% against GST if every other option had been looked at.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache held and event at Les Cotils for the public to discuss the sustainability of public finances. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32594751)

About 45 people attended the Policy & Resources president’s event at Les Cotils, which consisted of a presentation on the upcoming funding and investment plan debate and a chance to ask the Chief Minister GST-related questions.

Stonemason Lance Vaudin, who is a member of the Guernsey People Against GST group, attended the event with other members of the group and voiced his opinions on the tax, the effect on local businesses and his acceptance if there was no other possible solution.

‘As a result of what happened in February, you’re really on the money this time, you’ve really done your homework, and it disappointed me to open the Guernsey Press to your two-page spread that I read and I liked it,’ he said.

‘I still think we should investigate every possible method, saving money or raising money.

‘I’m not 100% against GST if it came to that stage, but right now I cannot agree to it because I personally don’t feel that every stone has been looked at.’

Mr Vaudin said that Deputy Ferbrache made good points about GST, and he acknowledged that it was not all bad, but the negative side to it was what made him oppose it.

As a business owner, Mr Vaudin was concerned about administering GST and extra overhead business costs, in addition to increasing inflation.

He said that he believed taxes had to go up but every possible method should be investigated rather than jumping straight into a GST, and he would prefer to see an increase in income tax.

Former teacher Mary Brogan, who runs a discussion group, said that it had discussed many of the issues touched on at the event.

She agreed with Mr Vaudin’s stance that raising income tax would be the most efficient method of generating money, but she said the current backlog for income tax had slightly convinced her on GST.

‘I think we all agree that some money has to be found and we haven’t got our heads in the sand about this,’ she said.

‘Our group has flip-flopped between income tax and I felt that income tax would be the easiest way to raise some money, but it’s interesting how you’ve said with the income tax package, that many people will be worse off.

‘Along with Jonathan Le Tocq’s piece in the paper, I realised there’s a lot more to it and it made me a little more convinced that GST is something we should be going for.’

Deputy Ferbrache said that it had been a productive session and he enjoyed the conversations raised.

‘I don’t think I’ve been beaten too badly,’ he said.

Other deputies in attendance were Aidan Matthews, Lester Queripel and John Gollop.