States adjourns leaving post-16 funding in limbo
Uncertainty about funding for a new post-16 education campus will continue for at least another two weeks.
The States’ Budget meeting was adjourned until 22 November with members deadlocked on proposals to borrow at least another £100m. and whether to reverse their decision of last month to de-fund Education’s reorganisation of secondary and further education, which followed the rejection of a goods and services tax.
Education president Andrea Dudley-Owen said the deferral would heap more frustration on teachers and pupils who want certainty about plans for a new sixth form centre alongside a redeveloped Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets.
‘We’ve got to look outside of the parliamentary bubble and think about the real impact this has on our staff and students – still no further forward, still in limbo, still not knowing whether they are going to get the funding for this vital infrastructure project at Les Ozouets,’ she said.
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‘We need to move this forward. We need to find the funding. For us as parliamentarians it’s like another day at the office, but for people in Guernsey this is just yet another massive frustration that they have with us as States members, of not being able to get on and be decisive and active and expedient about our business.
‘I share their frustration and I can’t wait for 22 November when we’re able to complete this debate.’
Education was hoping a majority of States members would vote for one of two amendments to fund its project – one of which proposed repaying additional borrowing through a potential new £5m.-a-year levy on local companies.
Deputies critical of borrowing for a project without its own income stream were confident they had the votes to defeat the amendments yesterday afternoon. But several members were unable to sit into the evening or today, which caused Bailiff Sir Richard McMahon to adjourn the Assembly for a fortnight, when it is also due to debate a motion of no confidence submitted in the Policy & Resources Committee.
Deputy Dudley-Owen was confident that support for her committee’s plan could be strengthened during the two-week adjournment.
‘I’m always optimistic. That’s my sunny disposition,’ she said.
‘This is an opportunity for people really to have their say and understand what is at stake here if we don’t go ahead.
‘There have been some quite strong voices heard but this is an opportunity for more voices to be heard in the intervening time.’