A plan for spending – or raising more money
WHATEVER people said at election time, nobody now can escape the realisation that the States is running out of money. And it’s happening faster than we ever thought.
Hence, although the Policy & Resources Committee didn’t want to say it outright, the prospect of GST heading back for a States debate is a real one.
The committee knows that there is no other realistic option, and the prospect of borrowing while being unable to support repayments, is a recipe for disaster.
But still too many States members continue blithely along the course to overspending oblivion.
Tasked by P&R to cut back on their Government Work Plan objectives, collectively the principal committees shaved off £750,000.
And then topped it up with £4.8m. of ‘necessary spending’ for the rest of the life of this States.
P&R might shake their heads in disbelief – or members might be secretly pleased that their colleagues have played into their hands.
The committee has long made the case it can’t force its best intentions on the rest of the States. So it will work out how to fund its long-term funding problems based on the steer that members give – if they want to spend £4m. on policy priorities, they will have brought the issue of how to pay for it on themselves.
And that could open the door again to GST.
Other funding options have been aired. But, frankly, suggestions of motoring taxes or similar aren’t worth the trouble they will undoubtedly cause deputies just to raise a couple of million pounds.
The Government Work Plan hasn’t always made clear or comfortable reading. But the report published today, and its spending plans, or lack of them, and future prospects, is downright depressing – whether it’s paid for or not.