Guernsey Press

Connections are key for ED's future

SOME may say that Economic Development is the least powerful committee within the structure of the States. With one of the smallest budgets, much of its work could be swallowed up by other committees fairly easily.


Things have moved on since staff from the Board of Industry would sell the island at UK trades fairs as a destination for the development of new factories.

The runaway growth of the financial services sector over the past five decades has needed little external ‘development’ and now the committee’s responsibilities in that area fall largely on developing legislation to the industry’s demand, and funding, and increasing that funding, to Guernsey Finance. Assessing the value of that spend has historically been a challenge, but the committee claims that one of its first post-Covid recovery actions is ‘bearing fruit’.

Closer to home ED has been involved in the fibre-to-the-home development, which nobody has objected to, and pushed to spend more taxpayer’s money with local suppliers and providers rather than going off-island, where early successes have been claimed. It could bring some £4m. of spend ‘back home’.

Arguably the committee’s major focus, and one of its president’s specialisms, is now tourism, which it backs to the tune of £1.6m. of public money each year. There is much work promised to follow on that sector in the next few months, including a report to the States to ‘improve and develop’ the sector.

But possibly, and inter-related, the committee’s political reputation may depend ultimately on what it manages to achieve with sea and air connectivity over the next year, and particularly the community-splitting issue of extending the airport runway.