Guernsey Press

Taxpayers ‘left in the dark’ over States’ travel costs – deputy

Deputies’ travel costs are back in the spotlight after a States member submitted questions demanding figures for the past four years.

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Deputy Christopher Le Tissier appealed for more transparency on States members' travel costs. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33315815)

Each committee has 15 days to provide information about the travel costs of its president, other members and civil servants.

The questions, submitted by Deputy Christopher Le Tissier, are reminiscent of those which Mary Lowe asked for several years when she was a States member, which culminated in an unsuccessful bid to get politicians’ travel costs published annually.

Deputy Le Tissier appealed for more transparency about such costs at a time when the States was considering the need for tax increases in the years ahead.

‘I need to find out exactly where we are spending our money – taxpayers’ money – and if it is justified in the present economic circumstances,’ he said.

‘This type of information is routinely not published, leaving the public to speculate. Once the facts are known, deputies and the public will have the information to have a reasoned debate.’

Deputy Le Tissier has submitted a total of 10 questions to every committee president asking for information covering the period October 2020 to March 2024.

He wants to know the date, cost and destination of flights paid by the States.

He also wants to know hotel costs and spending allowances funded by the States.

Deputy Le Tissier’s questions conclude with a request for a fresh commitment from committee presidents to publish annual reports setting out their members’ and officials’ travel costs, as well as letting all deputies know when trips are taken off the island on States business.

He was disappointed that previous attempts to secure routine publication of travel costs had failed, despite previous chief ministers indicating support for the practice in 2011 and 2015.

In 2012, Deputy Lyndon Trott, who was then the island’s senior-most politician and has been again since the end of last year, revealed that he had spent a total of £66,000 on travel costs over the previous four years, while spending more than 150 days out of the island on States business.

‘It is well known that I would like to see the cost of government reduced before any new taxes, such as GST for example, are introduced,’ said Deputy Le Tissier.

‘Transparency and accountability in the use of public funds are essential and important to me.

‘Despite some assurances in the past... these have not been followed through and deputies and the public are still left mainly in the dark.’

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