Budget – The worst is yet to come
IF EVER there were pointers to a non-event Budget, the signs were there for the 2023 version. No money to do anything exciting, seemingly no courage to make any moves on the cost-of-living crisis, and no pressure to make any real moves on taxation, given the impending review now due to be discussed in January.
So it’s a surprise to see that the Policy & Resources Committee hasn’t just caved in to the inevitable and has come up with some new ideas, though it is wrapped in a bleak financial forecast.
The cost-of-living package is cost-neutral to the public purse, in that the giveaways will be made up from increases elsewhere. So while it’s nowhere near Jersey’s £56m. giveaway, it’s still something.
There’s the prospect raised, at last, of charging punitive TRP on derelict buildings or sites with planning permission which aren’t activated, which will surely be welcomed by many, though this won’t come in until 2024.
And all this comes with a £33m. revenue surplus – though, given a requirement to spend something like £76m. on the capital programme, that equals a £43m. structural deficit.
We’re now officially set to run out of money and we’re living off our savings. Our trading assets are losing money.
The pay off line from P&R is a tale heard before. Somehow we’ve got to raise taxes. Or next year the Budget report will be cutting services.