The brain drain just makes tax issues tougher

PERHAPS we were fortunate. Of the 10 interns who eventually passed through our door this summer, only one of them, the youngest, has no plans to go to university.

And while some of them have said they intend to come back to the island at the conclusion of their studies, some of them are already heading away from the island. Will they come back? Quite possibly. But if they do, the island will have lost a decade of earnings potential and tax contributions at a point when the individuals are making very little demand on the public purse.

Maybe, like many islanders before them, they will come back in their 30s, with one child in tow and another on the way, seduced by good quality of work in their profession and the lifestyle and security (if not the price of accommodation).

It is all part of the challenge facing Guernsey today, desperate somehow to manage to painlessly cut the cost of government and raise extra through taxation. A review of population policy now looks a dead cert to fly up the government’s agenda, but it offers as many problems as it does solutions.

More workers are needed to balance demographic issues and to continue to contribute decent levels of income tax, whether a GST is in place or not. But each one brings a housing problem, a housebuilding problem, a transport problem and likely a host of angry neighbours.

It’s an issue that is no easier to deal with than any other raised in the Tax Review from Policy & Resources, and while critical, should not be seen as a get out of jail card for nervy deputies.

WE HOPE you enjoy this very different Guernsey Press today. The stories tackled by our young people who have been with us all summer perhaps surprisingly doesn’t address the housing issue, nor, less surprisingly, demographics, but provides us with much to think about across the newspaper.

Away from the news, we highlight young artists in our community, raise concerns about standards in public life, and tap into the enhanced profile of women’s sport.

We would very much welcome your feedback about the issues raised.

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