Guernsey Press

Divisive, but important work done

IT MAY be fair to say that of the work done by the Employment & Social Security Committee, much of it comes with a tinge of regret that the work is necessary, and some of it is openly decried for allegedly helping some of those who won’t help themselves.


Its priorities over the past two years have included the ultra-controversial and pretty divisive anti-discrimination laws – that debate now successfully parked for a while at least – financial support for the less well-off in paying energy bills, and extra support for those with regard to income support, which again do not tend to receive everyone’s backing.

The committee has claimed three other ‘achievements’ which should all prove important for the long-term. One is its stake in the provision of affordable housing. More controversially, it completed the plans for a secondary pension scheme to cover the thousands of islanders with no retirement provision beyond the OAP, which was unaccountably postponed by a majority deputies concerned about the state of the economy. Is it likely to fare better when it returns to the States soon?

The committee has also 'implemented changes to the eligibility criteria for family allowance' – that is, dipped its toes into means-testing. Savings have subsidised GP charges, dental care, and ‘cultural enrichment’ within schools. And that’s got to be seen as a pointer for future straitened times, when universal allowances come under greater pressure.