Guernsey Press

Economic Development’s travel and stays cost almost £10,000

Members and officials of the Economic Development Committee spent nearly £10,000 on flights and off-island accommodation in the first three-and-a-half years of the States term.

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Economic Development president Neil Inder. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33406040)

Their destinations representing the committee included London, Birmingham, Cardiff, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Alderney.

They made 12 off-island visits in total, most of which required an overnight stay.

The information was contained in the latest replies to written questions about travel and accommodation costs which Christopher Le Tissier has submitted to all States committees.

Rounded to the nearest whole pound, Economic Development’s travel costs were £2,628 for politicians and £2,268 for officials. Accommodation costs were £2,460 for politicians and £2,029 for officials. Total costs were £9,385.

Committee president Neil Inder was partially open to Deputy Le Tissier’s call for more transparency and quicker publication of members’ and officials’ travel costs in future.

‘Economic Development would have no objection to there being a central requirement for data on States members’ off-island travel costs to be published on an annual basis,’ said Deputy Inder.

‘Economic Development does not feel that there should be a requirement for States members to circulate the details of their trips away on States business to all deputies within a reasonable time after the trip.

‘The committee’s preference would be for the data to be published on an annual basis, which is a more transparent and efficient way of sharing the information.’

Meanwhile, a total of 57 flights were taken by members and officials of the Health & Social Care Committee in the first three-and-a-half years of the States term.

All of them were within the Channel Islands, except one, when president Al Brouard and two officials attended a British-Irish Council meeting about drugs and alcohol in Dublin, which was also the committee’s only off-island visit which required an overnight stay.

The total cost of travel and hotels for off-island trips for the committee was £2,691.12 for political members. Additional travel expenses to cover taxis totalled £154.

The total cost for travel and hotels for civil servants during this period was £1,362.98. Travel expenses claimed by civil servants equalled £60.

Deputy Le Tissier has also asked committees whether they agree that the States should publish reports annually setting out members’ travel costs and the reasons for any trips made.

‘As with many businesses, there can be a need for travel and this should be accounted for in the accounts,’ said Deputy Brouard.

‘A detailed annual report of members’ specific travel and expenditure needs to be weighed against the resources required to provide such an annual report.

‘It is also suggested that a consistent approach across all committees would be preferable, which is perhaps a matter for the Policy & Resources Committee to consider given the implications on the States’ limited resources.’

Deputy Brouard rejected a suggestion that members’ trips away on States business should be circulated to all deputies within a reasonable time of the trip being made.

He said compiling such information would not be the best use of officials’ limited time.

P&R, which is responsible for external relations and therefore is expected to have the highest travel costs, was granted extra time to reply to Deputy Le Tissier’s questions, but its revised deadline expires this week.