Not all good news on finances

THE Government Work Plan paints a much-improved picture for public finances over the course of this States until 2025.

But it also leads the reader again to the ultimate realisation that the forecast £85m. annual deficit will be on us more quickly than we know.

The States now says that it won’t need to borrow £200m. to fund capital expenditure until the next political term, even with an eye-watering total bill of £583m., but warns that by 2025, these annual surpluses will have dwindled away to a break-even position.

Policy & Resources says that continued investment in infrastructure to maintain and replace current assets and develop new ones, exposes the structural deficit.

But aside from capital spending, the costs of all the other things government just wants to investigate at this stage, even as one-off projects, all add up.

A statutory review of the Island Development Plan comes in at £400,000, the path to net zero is paved with a £250,000 bill, updating the electricity strategy is £350,000, and a review of the legal status of cannabis will also cost a six-figure sum, it is estimated. In all, the total impact on revenue spending is £7.5m., with an increase in baseline expenditure of £2m. per annum.

Whatever the GWP tries to achieve, demands for new services, set against a refusal to pay more taxes, still don't add up.

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