Guernsey Press

P&R split ahead of debate on mooring fees

Part of Policy & Resources is branching out to lodge an amendment to the requete on increasing mooring fees as the committee is split in its views.

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(Picture by Peter Frankland, 33066868)

In January, David De Lisle lodged a requete asking the States to back an across-the-board increase in fees of 10% in place of hikes of between 17% and 46% announced by the States’ Trading Supervisory Board last year, and confirmed by the States in December.

At that time an attempt to block the board’s plan was defeated by a single vote, with four members not voting and three absent.

P&R president Deputy Lyndon Trott and vice-president Deputy Heidi Soulsby supported the requete, but the other P&R members, Deputies Jonathan Le Tocq, John Gollop and Bob Murray, have submitted an amendment to it.

  • Deputy Simon Vermeulen — one of those putting their name to the requete — joined the latest GP Politics Podcast to discuss mooring fees

‘There is a range of views within the committee and Deputy Heidi Soulsby and I, who voted for the motion to annul, continue to have reservations surrounding the level of the fee increases under the STSB proposals. We therefore, as minority of the committee, support the requete,’ said Deputy Trott in a letter of comment.

‘The majority of the committee oppose the requete and intend to lay an amendment to mitigate its propositions’ impact on general revenue through recommending either a flat rate increase to all rates, other than visitors, which would generate the same level of revenue as the original proposals, or accepting the direction of the requete but directing the STSB to compensate for the loss of income in other ways.’

The amendment, proposed by Deputy Le Tocq and seconded by Deputy Gollop, contains two propositions, both directing STSB to amend or revoke and replace the 2023 regulations.

The first requests that, with the exception of visitors, the fees should increase by 24.5% for the 12 months from 1 April, removing the variation based on vessel size, while ensuring the overall income from fees remains at the level accounted for in the 2024 budget.

The second is in line with the original proposition in the requete and requests the States to agree that the fee increases are capped at 10% but expands the original wording by directing STSB to compensate for the loss of income.

Guernsey Ports is not expected to return to profit this year, but STSB president Deputy Peter Roffey said in a letter to Deputy Trott that it will begin to make inroads into reducing the current requirement for taxpayer funding.

The 2022 Ports accounts reported a £4m. loss and for 2023, a loss of about £5m. is anticipated.

More than 80% of the additional, above inflation income this year will come from increases in airport charges and harbour commercial fees. The remainder will be from increases in leisure mooring fees, and those are weighted towards larger vessels.

‘The impact of this requete will ultimately increase the losses of Guernsey Ports in 2024 and 2025, which will extend the level of subsidy required from general taxpayers,’ said Deputy Roffey.