Guernsey Press

All trust is lost over spending

IF THE turnout along the sea front and in Market Square is any suitable barometer of public opinion, a goods and services tax for Guernsey will be once again consigned to the political dustbin this week.


Just as the two-school protest march almost three years ago to the day was the final push for wavering politicians, so yesterday’s march might have the same impact by Friday.

An at least sceptical, at worst angry, public has spoken. Some of them maybe angered too, by government’s remarkable ability to mix messages about public spending.

Late last year, the ‘we’re broke’ message was followed immediately by the announcement of plans for a £90m. marina in St Peter Port harbour. That wouldn’t be all taxpayer-funded, granted, but who looks beyond the headlines? At the end of last week, Environment & Infrastructure trials an electric bus on local roads. A committee member states that the purchase price of new buses is ‘less important than the States’ commitment to the environment’. Who writes these scripts?

It’s naive, or gone native, or truly deputies just don’t worry about the cost of government. Alderney politicians might, but the Guernsey public won't buy the whole tax package, and can’t make sense of public finances. That is what they need resolved before GST can be anywhere near credible.