Guernsey Press

Work Plan could make life tough for deputies

THE launch of the Government Work Plan is being heralded as a very different – not to say better – way for the States to operate.


It’s 'integrated, phased and funded' (if you don’t mind going out and borrowing an extra £200m. for some capital projects). It sets out four priorities for ‘a focused and efficient States’.

On first glimpse, it bags up much of the work that government had already approved, or was of a mind to do in some shiny new packaging.

The priorities are packaged up as responding to Covid-19, managing Brexit and meeting international standards, re-shaping government (with a far-reaching review of the tax system tacked on) and delivering recovery actions, which identifies lots of projects for the short and medium term.

The recovery actions are, to an extent, and the Policy & Resources Committee readily admits, inspired by Revive and Thrive, a hashtag that some might have felt failed to survive the Gavin St Pier purge of last autumn.

It is the catch-all element of this plan, incorporating addressing the housing crisis, the post-16 education issue, digital infrastructure, population and immigration framework, the Revive and Thrive funding for financial services and plans for tourism, transport and health plans. The prioritisation will be in the detail and we’ve not seen much of that yet.

On first look, the Government Work Plan is a move which makes sense for the States. Deputy Peter Ferbrache accepts he’s not much of a one for plans, but he knows that action without a plan can lead to the kind of ‘wrong’ options and actions he’s been bemoaning for years. His hope is that this plan embraces the need for some direction and the chance for government to do something meaningful.

However, critical to plans of success and genuine Revive and Thrive will be States members’ appetite for using £180m. of previous bond borrowing and taking on a further loan of £200m. to pay for it all.

And with that, and the attempt to enforce the discipline of ‘no more vanity projects’ or anything else without a way to fund it, the plan to make the States more focused has just made life a lot harder for our newly straight-jacketed politicians.