Hansard 2nd June 2020


 

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

TUESDAY, 2nd JUNE 2020

COMMUNICATIONS BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER

1.1Welcome to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor

QUESTIONS

2.Written Questions

2.1 Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour of the Minister for the Environment regarding the Island Plan debate: (WQ.182/2020)

2.2 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Infrastructure regarding more safe cycling and walking: (WQ.183/2020)

2.3 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Education regarding belongings in university accommodation: (WQ.184/2020)

2.4 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding reduced taxes, capital projects and retaining the Island’s workforce: (WQ.185/2020)

2.5 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Education regarding P.P.E. provided for school staff: (WQ.186/2020)

2.6 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding support for businesses who cannot social distance: (WQ.187/2020)

2.7 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Chief Minister regarding lifting lockdown on public activities: (WQ.188/2020)

2.8 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding improving working conditions: (WQ.189/2020)

2.9 Deputy G.P. Southern of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding contracts negotiated with Island G.P.s: (WQ.190/2020)

2.10 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding a report of the Income Forceasting Group: (WQ.191/2020)

2.11 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Chief Minister regarding economic recession: (WQ.192/2020)

2.12 The Connétable of St. Martin of the Chief Minister regarding the Island’s Recovery Strategy: (WQ.193/2020)

2.13 Deputy I. Gardiner of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding information on International Service Entities: (WQ.194/2020)

2.14 Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding staffing levels at Revenue Jersey (WQ.195/2020)

2.15 Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding the claiming of expenses when working from home: (WQ.196/2020)

2.16 Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour of the Minister for Children and Housing regarding the 1,001 Days programme (WQ.197/2020)

2.17 Senator K.L. Moore of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding savings and cuts: (WQ.198/2020)

2.18 Senator K.L. Moore of the Minster for Education regarding pupils studying fewer than 9 G.C.S.E.s: (WQ.199/2020)

2.19 Senator K.L. Moore of the Minister for Education regarding tuition hours and opportunities to re-sit exams: (WQ.200/2020)

2.20 Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding post mortem examinations: (WQ.201/2020)

2.21 Deputy K.F. Morel of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding deceased Islanders registered as having Covid-19: (WQ.202/2020)

2.22 Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding donations given to hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic: (WQ.203/2020)

2.23 Deputy C.S Alves of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding processing of Covid-19 tests and the provision of results: (WQ.204/2020)

2.24 Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding details of Medical Health advice to deal with Covid-19: (WQ.205/2020)

2.25 Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding guidelines being followed for the testing of Covid-19: (WQ.206/2020)

2.26 Senator S.C. Ferguson of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding cost benefit analysis of all-Island testing: (WQ.207/2020)

2.27 Senator S.C. Ferguson of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding legal actions still open with members of staff: (WQ.208/2020)

2.28 Senator S.C. Ferguson of the Chief Minister regarding a think tank and the Recovery Plan: (WQ.209/2020)

2.29 Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding airline Blue Islands and financial assistance: (WQ.210/2020)

2.30 The Connétable of St. Martin of the Minister for the Environment regarding animal welfare: (WQ.211/2020)

3.Oral Questions

3.1Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence of the Minister for External Relations regarding an update on Brexit negotiations (OQ.137/2020):

Senator I.J. Gorst (The Minister for External Relations):

3.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.1.2Senator S.C. Ferguson:

3.1.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.2Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding complaints of bullying and harassment in the public sector (OQ.134/2020):

Connétable R.A. Buchanan of St. Ouen (Vice-Chair, States Employment Board - rapporteur):

3.2.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.2.2Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

3.2.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.2.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.2.5Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.2.6Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier:

3.2.7Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.2.8Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

3.2.9Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.3Deputy R.J. Ward of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding specific facilities time arrangements with the Unions (OQ.136/2020):

The Connétable of St. Ouen (Vice-Chair, States Employment Board - rapporteur):

3.3.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.4Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding use of the local workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic (OQ.147/2020):

Deputy J.M. Maçon (Assistant Minister for Social Security - rapporteur):

3.4.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.4.2Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

3.4.3Deputy J.H. Perchard:

3.4.4Deputy J.H. Perchard:

3.4.5Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

3.4.6Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.4.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.4.8Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.4.9Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.4.10Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.5Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding funding the “Our Hospital” project (OQ.139/2020):

Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.5.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

3.5.2Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

3.5.3The Connétable of St. Helier:

3.5.4Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

3.5.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.5.6Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.5.7Deputy S.M. Ahier:

3.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St Helier of the Minister for Children and Housing regarding Children’s Rights Impact Assessments (OQ.145/2020):

Senator S.Y. Mézec (The Minister for Children and Housing):

3.6.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.6.2Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.6.3Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.6.4Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.6.5Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.6.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.7Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding the police not wearing face masks (OQ.140/2020):

Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement (The Minister for Home Affairs):

3.7.1Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.8Deputy R.J. Ward of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding the relaxing of the stay at home order (OQ.142/2020):

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.8.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.8.2Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

3.8.3Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.8.4Connétable J.E. Le Maistre of Grouville:

3.8.5Senator S.C. Ferguson:

3.8.6Senator S.C. Ferguson:

3.8.7Deputy J.H. Perchard:

3.8.8Deputy J.H. Perchard:

3.8.9Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.8.10Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.8.11Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.8.12Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.9Deputy I. Gardiner of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding use of private Covid-19 tests (OQ.148/2020):

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.9.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.10Deputy K.G. Pamplin of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding isolation of healthcare workers (OQ.135/2020):

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.10.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.10.2Senator S.C. Ferguson:

3.10.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.10.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.10.5Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.10.6Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.10.7Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.11Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding P.C.R. tests and negative results in order to fly (OQ.141/2020):

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.11.1Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.12Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding financial assistance for families (OQ.146/2020):

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

3.12.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.13Deputy K.F. Morel of the Minister for Social Security regarding consultation in respect of family friendly legislation (OQ.138/2020):

Deputy J.A. Martin (The Minister for Social Security):

3.13.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.13.2Senator K.L. Moore:

3.13.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.14Deputy J.M. Maçon of the Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding funding for cultural and arts organisations (OQ.132/2020):

Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade (Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

3.14.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

3.14.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

3.14.3Deputy J.M. Maçon:

4.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for Treasury and Resources

4.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

4.1.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

4.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

4.3Senator S.C. Ferguson:

4.3.1Senator S.C. Ferguson:

4.4Deputy S.M. Ahier:

4.5Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

4.6Deputy R.J. Ward:

4.6.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

4.7Deputy M. Tadier:

4.7.1Deputy M. Tadier:

4.8Senator K.L. Moore:

4.8.1Senator K.L. Moore:

4.9Deputy I. Gardiner:

5.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Chief Minister

5.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

5.1.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

5.2The Deputy of St. Peter:

5.2.1The Deputy of St. Peter:

5.3The Connétable of Grouville:

5.3.1The Connétable of Grouville:

5.4Senator K.L. Moore:

5.5Deputy M.R. Higgins:

5.6Deputy R.J. Ward:

5.6.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

6.Questions to Ministers without notice

6.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

Senator I.J. Gorst (The Minister for External Relations):

6.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

6.2Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

6.2.1Deputy J.H. Perchard:

6.3The Connétable of St. Helier:

Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour (The Minister for Infrastructure):

6.3.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

6.4Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade (The Minister for the Environment):

6.4.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

6.5Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

6.5.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

6.6Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.6.1The Connétable of St. Brelade:

6.7Deputy T. Pointon of St. John:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.7.1The Deputy of St. John:

6.8Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

6.8.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

6.9Deputy R.J. Ward:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.9.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

6.10Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat of St. Helier:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.10.1Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat:

6.11Connétable S.A. Le Sueur-Rennard of St. Saviour:

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

6.11.1The Connétable of St. Saviour:

6.12Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Senator I.J. Gorst:

6.12.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

6.13Deputy G.J. Truscott:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.13.1Deputy G.J. Truscott:

6.14Deputy G.P. Southern:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.14.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

6.15Deputy K.F. Morel:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.16Deputy R.J. Ward:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.16.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

6.17The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Senator L.J. Farnham:

6.18The Connétable of St. Helier:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.18.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

6.19Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.19.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

6.20Senator S.C. Ferguson:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.20.1Senator S.C. Ferguson:

6.21The Connétable of Grouville:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.21.1The Connétable of Grouville:

6.22Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.22.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

6.23Deputy G.J. Truscott:

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

6.23.1Deputy G.J. Truscott:

6.24Deputy G.P. Southern:

Senator L.J. Farnham:

6.25Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.25.1Deputy J.H. Perchard:

6.26Deputy R.J. Ward:

Senator L.J. Farnham:

6.27Senator K.L. Moore:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.27.1Senator K.L. Moore:

PUBLIC BUSINESS

7.Draft Amendment (No. 44) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey (P.12/2020)

7.1Deputy R.J. Ward (Chair, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel - rapporteur):

7.1.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

7.1.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

8.Draft Amendment (No. 45) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey (P.13/2020)

8.1Senator K.L. Moore (President, Scrutiny Liaison Committee):

8.1.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

8.1.2Senator K.L. Moore:

9.Putting Jersey businesses first (P.56/2020): amendment (P.56/2020 Amd.) - Reduction of lodging period

9.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

9.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

9.1.2The Deputy of St. Martin:

9.1.3Senator L.J. Farnham:

9.1.4Senator K.L. Moore:

9.1.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

9.1.6Deputy J.H. Young:

9.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

9.1.8Deputy J.H. Perchard:

9.1.9Deputy S.J. Pinel:

9.1.10The Connétable of St. Brelade:

9.1.11The Deputy of St. Peter:

9.1.12Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Deputy K.F. Morel:

10.Economic Recovery In-Committee Debate (R.54/2020)

10.1Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

10.1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

10.1.2The Deputy of St. Martin:

10.1.3The Deputy of St. Peter:

10.1.4Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

10.1.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

10.1.6Deputy J.H. Young:

10.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

10.1.8Senator S.C. Ferguson:

ADJOURNMENT


[9:32]

The Roll was called and the Dean led the Assembly in Prayer.

COMMUNICATIONS BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER

The Deputy Bailiff:

1.1Welcome to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor

Turning now to the Consolidated Order Paper; on behalf of Members I would like to welcome His Excellency to the Chamber this morning. 

QUESTIONS

2.Written Questions

2.1 Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour of the Minister for the Environment regarding the Island Plan debate: (WQ.182/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise the Assembly when he is intending to hold the Island Plan debate; is he giving any consideration to amending legislation in order to defer the debate until the next parliamentary term of office; and, if not, why not?

Answer

As with many aspects of government business, the Island Plan Review has been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and cannot now be delivered based on the previously scheduled programme, scope of the review, and the planned extent of public engagement and consultation. This is because of the logistical problems, diversion of resources and the huge uncertainty of future government policy required by our post Covid recovery. 

With the advice of our external planning partners Arup and officers of the Strategic Policy team, I have considered the options to respond to the situation: this has included the potential deferral of the review until the next parliamentary term of office. However preliminary discussions with my Ministerial colleagues have rejected this possibility and I have been requested to further consider an island plan being lodged and debated in time for the May 2022 elections.

There are pressing community needs that remain to be addressed, such as affordable homes and key worker accommodation; local parish housing needs; improving the quality of the island’s urban environment and public infrastructure, such as a new hospital. Some work in progress is partially complete and can continue to be progressed but much cannot be started until our Covid status allows.

The Council of Ministers maintain their aim to deliver a new Island Plan within the current parliamentary term. This necessitates changes to the process of review and adoption; as well as reducing the scope of the plan because the situation is too uncertain for reliable forecasts and medium-long term planning to be undertaken.

Our external advisers consider it will be very challenging to meet the shortened timescale. Early stakeholder engagement will be significantly reduced however it may be possible to hold virtual events with their assistance and, whilst not ideal, the extended 12-week lodging period would run in parallel with wider public consultation; a full examination in public would follow to consider public and States Members’ views. Detailed timescales can be set out in an amended Island Plan Programme shortly.

These changes will require a wider political discussion before they are adopted. It remains my intention to hold in-committee States debate as soon as possible in order that elected members can contribute their views. The significant changes of process and scope required can be discussed. At the same time as the issues that the Island Plan Review can sensibly address in the remaining timescale before the elections, given the future public policy vacuum which Covid has created, particularly in matters such as population, the economy and the need for sustainability. We need to recognise that it will be several months before we begin to see what “new normal” in Jersey can look like and may well take longer.

2.2 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Infrastructure regarding more safe cycling and walking: (WQ.183/2020)

 

Question

Will the Minister confirm what actions, beyond discussions, will be taken within the next month to embed green transport initiatives into our infrastructure, with particular reference to schemes enabling more cycling, safe walking and other forms of transport, both –

(a)   in St. Helier specifically; and

(b)   across Jersey more widely?

Answer

As Jersey progresses through the Government’s Safe Exit Framework we will take the actions necessary to support the management of the Coronavirus crisis recovery, including sustainable transport. This will be led by the public health advice and supported by what the scientific evidence tells us.

This situation is rapidly evolving and the details of the work remain policy under development, the programme at this time is provisional, as a number of work streams are being undertaken in parallel and require consultation with key stakeholders prior to any public announcement

a)      For town a progressive programme of potential measures has been developed in consultation with the Parish of St Helier and schemes will be individually consulted upon as they are brought forward, it is anticipated that a number of these will be actioned during the next 4 weeks to provide new or widened walking routes and cycle parking. 

 

The types of initiatives under development for delivery over the period and the longer-term include:

 

  • Reallocation of road space to support new or widened walking and cycling routes.
  • Improving walking and cycling on key routes to schools.
  • Re-routing of existing cycle routes to reduce conflicts with pedestrians.
  • Provision of additional physical cycle racks and virtual cycle stands to support initiatives such as the Evie shared cycle scheme (this technology does not require a physical rack as the bikes have stands, but rather a GPS coordinated area marked with road paint).
  • Bus shelters.

 

In terms of prioritisation, we will first be supporting the public health need by providing spaces for pedestrians to physically distance, whilst looking at any secondary benefits that can be realised, such as cycle routes and the creation of alfresco dining areas. In the case of many places of refreshment this will be critical in allowing them to safely reopen during current social distancing restrictions.

 

We will also be identifying where additional space will enable businesses to get back to work by providing space for queuing outside of retailers and allow life to begin to feel normal again. We do know that reallocating space for walking and cycling also provides new more direct or less congested alternative routes. The recent changes to traffic management in Broad St are an early example of the type of measures under consideration.

b)     Across Jersey more widely, we will follow the same blueprint for St Helier as outlined above, proportionate to the localised impact. An example of this type of initiative that has been undertaken was the closing of La Grève de Lecq harbour road to provide for social distancing over the recent bank holiday weekend.

 

The allocation of the limited resources available has to be balanced against the demands on our officers’ time from other on Covid-19 priorities, thus we have to direct our efforts where the need is most acute and where we can have the greatest impact, starting in the centre of St Helier were footfall is highest and working outwards.

2.3 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Education regarding belongings in university accommodation: (WQ.184/2020)

Question

Given that many university accommodation tenancy contracts end in late June, whether on campus or privately rented, will the Minister advise what support, if any, is being given to parents of university-aged children to help with the safe return of their belongings, and provide information about any methods being considered for such safe return?

Answer

An update on Higher Education support during coronavirus was published on Friday 22nd May confirming that students can now travel between Jersey and the UK to collect their belongings. This also advised that The Government of Jersey (GoJ) will not be approving additional financial support to cover getting belongings back from university as this is considered something that students would need to do every year, albeit under different circumstances, and would therefore be covered by existing maintenance grants.

If this causes severe financial hardship for any students, the department will consider these on a case by case basis.

A short survey was also published at the same time to help better understand the scale of the issues related to the collection and return of university students’ belongings left in their accommodations, which require packing, collection and transfer to Jersey. Officers have also been exploring any potential options for logistics support which will be presented to the Minister once the survey results have been collated and analysed.

2.4 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding reduced taxes, capital projects and retaining the Island’s workforce: (WQ.185/2020)

Question

Following comments made at a press conference on 15th May 2020 by the Assistant Minister, in which a package of measures to address the economic effects of ‘lockdown’ was reportedly announced, including reduced taxes, capital projects being brought forward, expenditure on training the Island’s workforce, stimulation of green lifestyles and support for the introduction of technology, will the Minister confirm –

(a)   when the Assembly can expect to receive details of this package;

(b)   what discussions, if any, the Council of Ministers has had to date regarding the package, including the dates of any meetings when it was discussed; and

(c)   the timescale for producing further detail about these measures?

 

Answer

At the press conference the Deputy refers to, the Assister Minister did indeed refer to a package of measures that will be needed in order to address the economic effects of the actions taken to deal with the potential health risks associated with COVID-19.  The measures referred to are examples of the possible ways in which Government can help drive the Island’s recovery.

Distinction should be drawn between medium to longer term measures to support the longer term recovery, which will form part of the Government Plan for 2021-2024, and measures to stimulate the economy as we release the restrictions on people and business put in place to address the health crisis.

These measures to stimulate the economy are currently being developed and discussions held between Ministers, and will be considered by the Council of Ministers in the coming two weeks.  Some of these measures will require decisions of the Assembly.

In the meantime the duration of the extension of the Co-Funded payroll scheme is being considered, which as well as providing protection for livelihoods and business would stimulate the economy also.

Measures for the longer term recovery will be informed also by the in-committee debate this week.

2.5 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Education regarding P.P.E. provided for school staff: (WQ.186/2020)

Question

Given the Government’s advice to wear face coverings when shopping or in a public place, will the Minister advise –

(a)   what personal protective equipment (P.P.E.), if any, is provided to school staff currently at work;

(b)   what manner of P.P.E. will be provided to school staff on any wider return to work; and 

(c)   whether any specific equipment is currently, or will be, provided for schools that require a greater level of physical support for students, such as Mont à l'Abbé? 

 

Answer

(a)   The provision of P.P.E. for schools follows guidance issued by the Medical Officer of Health and Government of Jersey advice. As such, P.P.E. has been limited to our special schools open during the school closure period for a small number of vulnerable children and children of critical workers. The PPE is provided for the eventuality of a child in a special school becoming symptomatic on site and staff needing to respond or supervise closely whilst in isolation and waiting for collection by parents.

 

(b)   Schools are being supported, by a central CYPES team, with their planning for a safe return to work. P.P.E. is not required or recommended for general use in any school setting. Schools will be provided with a stock of P.P.E. which contains the full items necessary for responding to a student or staff member becoming symptomatic whilst at school.

 

(c)   Mont á l’Abbé, as a special school has had access at all times to PPE in order to manage pupils with greater need of physical support and personal care.

 

2.6 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding support for businesses who cannot social distance: (WQ.187/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise –

(a)   what support, if any, will be given to businesses that cannot conform to social-distancing guidelines and are therefore unable to open for all staff to return to work safely; and

 

(b)   whether the Government Co-funded Payroll Scheme will continue indefinitely for these businesses until they are able to reopen as normal? 

Answer

(a)   The Government has taken unprecedented steps to support businesses that are unable to trade normally as a result of public health measures such as physical distancing that have been necessary to protect lives and control the outbreak of Covid-19.

 

(b)   Businesses that are unable to conform to physical distancing guidelines are being supported through the Government Co-Funded Payroll Scheme, Business Disruption Loan Guarantee Scheme and deferrals of GST and Social Security payments. Where a business is of strategic significance, other support is likely to be made available, and businesses that are tenants of a Government-owned property may be able to benefit from rent deferrals or renegotiations where necessary.

Together the measures put in place to support businesses and the economy make available more than £300 million, making this the largest package of emergency Government economic support in the Island’s history.

(c)   Work is underway to determine how long the Government Co-Funded Payroll Scheme should remain available, but the Scheme is an emergency provision that cannot affordably provide support indefinitely. The Government is considering how best to provide longer-term support to businesses that are most severely impacted by the continuation of physical distancing requirements.  The Government is mindful of local businesses’ needs through this difficult period and recognises that some business models may need to adapt to respond in the Island’s emerging ‘next normal’. Future plans will be developed in partnership with industry groups to help to ensure Jersey’s economy is able to make a robust recovery.

 

2.7 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Chief Minister regarding lifting lockdown on public activities: (WQ.188/2020)

Question

Following the easing of restrictions on public activities, will the Chief Minister –

(a)   advise how the Government is monitoring Covid-19 indicators to assess the impact of the easing of restrictions;

(b)   provide the Assembly with a timeline to show how and when such monitoring has been and will continue to be undertaken; and

(c)   ensure that there is application of, and adherence to, an incubation period in respect of any return of children to schools and any decisions in relation to the opening of shops and the use of public transport?

 

Answer

a)      The Government is monitoring Covid-19 infections and impact of infections across a range of metrics including but not limited to number of positive and negative case numbers, hospital occupancy and number of positive patients in hospital, death numbers and details of deaths. These metrics are analysed and visualised using different analytical and statistical methodologies. A variety of metrics and reports are also published daily and weekly on gov.je. In addition to the daily details on positives cases and deaths, recent publications also include a report on the reproductive number, a report on the preliminary results from the serology testing and detailed charts on Covid-19 case numbers over time.  Public health intelligence is monitored and discussed at the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell which provides advise to the Government. In addition, detailed public health intelligence updates are provided at every Emergency Council meeting. Regular States Member Briefings and Scrutiny Briefings have been held since the outbreak and have provided further detail on monitoring metrics. Updates are also provided to the Health Minister and Competent Authority on Covid-19 metrics.

b)     The monitoring of on-island Covid-19 cases started with the first PCR test results received on 12 February.  Since, the range of metrics monitored has been constantly expanded. The Government will continue to use the detailed Public Health Intelligence to inform their decision-making.

c)      The Government is monitoring all aspects of Covid-19 metrics very closely as described above. Government decisions on the exit strategy and each level (including all of the cases referred to in part (c) of this question) are informed by the advice provided from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group.

 

2.8 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding improving working conditions: (WQ.189/2020)

Question

Following the completion of the Employment Forum’s Consultation on Annual Leave and Rest Breaks, will the Minister advise the Assembly of any proposals she has to improve working conditions for Jersey employees?

Answer

A major improvement in the working conditions for Jersey employees will be achieved with the implementation of the family friendly Employment Law changes that were approved by the Assembly last year.  The Appointed Day Act for this law will be debated on 16 June. 

Among the future priorities of my Department will be the conclusion of work on the recent Employment Forum consultation on statutory annual leave and rest breaks, which took place from December 2019 to February 2020.

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the urgent need to re-prioritise the work of my Department, I recently agreed with the outgoing Chair of the Employment Forum that the Forum would not present its recommendations at the present time. The current Chair of the Forum supports that decision. Once time and resources allow, the Forum will continue its deliberations and present its report and recommendations to me.

2.9 Deputy G.P. Southern of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding contracts negotiated with Island G.P.s: (WQ.190/2020)

Question

Will the Minister explain to the Assembly whether the contracts negotiated with the Island’s GPs make provision for those Islanders who are in greatest financial need and / or who have medical vulnerabilities (such as the elderly on low incomes and those with chronic illness), as requested by the Assembly with its adoption of ‘Affordable access to Primary Care Scheme’ (P.125/2019), and if not, will he explain why not and advise when measures will be brought in to cater for these two groups?

Answer

Under the contract agreed between the government and GPs, a Government subsidy means that GPs are charging patients a reduced fee – approximately 50 per cent less than before. The fee arrangements are set out below:

Covid Response Team Home visit and All End of Life          Free          

General Practice consultations (Including telephone and video consultations and nurse consultations)

  • Children aged 0 to 4                                                              Free     
  • Children and young people 5 to 17                                             £10                              
  • All other consultations                                                                 £20
  • Home Visit                                                                                     £40
  • Repeat consultation on same issue within 72 hours                        Free
  • Pregnancy bundle                                                                            £120

 

Free Services

  • Cervical Smear                                                                          Free
  • Childhood Immunisations                                       Free                      
  • Repeat Prescription                                                                Free
  • Prescription collection/delivery service                              Free
  • Letter of referral                                                                      Free

 

These arrangements are a result of health professionals coming together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.  Future arrangements will be dependent on further discussions with the GPs as the contracts end. Work continues in relation to the specific groups identified in the ‘Affordable access to Primary Care Scheme’ (P.125/2019), but the discussions with GPs will heavily influence the outcome.

2.10 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding a report of the Income Forceasting Group: (WQ.191/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise whether the report of the Income Forecasting Group (I.F.G.), that was scheduled to be completed by the end of May, has been finalised and, if so, will it be released to States Members and the public; and if not, will she explain why?

Answer

States Members received a confidential briefing on the report of the Income Forecasting Group on Friday 22 May.  The report was published on Wednesday 27 May.

2.11 Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Chief Minister regarding economic recession: (WQ.192/2020)

Question

Given reports in the U.K. which show a prospective budget deficit of approximately £337 billion if the economic recession is ‘V-shaped’ (that is, ‘short and sharp’) and a deficit of £516 billion if the recession is more prolonged (‘U-shaped’ or ‘L-shaped’) and, that indications from the Office for Budget Responsibility (O.B.R.) are that a ‘U-shaped’ recession is increasingly likely, will the Chief Minister provide the equivalent figures forecast for Jersey’s economy and state whether it is his assessment that a ‘U-Shaped’ recession is also likely in Jersey; and will he provide any updated advice which the Government has received from the Fiscal Policy Panel (F.P.P.) on this matter?

 

Answer

The UK government and Jersey have different financial year ends which will render comparison difficult.

The Income Forecasting Group released its Spring Forecast on 27 May 2020, for the period 2020 to 2024. This shows a reduction in the general revenues income forecast for 2020 of £106m (12%) from that presented in its Autumn forecast and for 2021, £103m (11%) less.

The IFG considers this to be the central forecast for Ministers to use in preparing the Government Plan 2021-2024. However, given the uncertainty and risks of a longer period of health restrictions and/or a protracted economic recovery, a downside forecast has been prepared for 2020-2024, showing an income forecast reduction for 2020 of £163m and for 2021 of £157m.

Expenditure plans were agreed in the Government Plan 2020-2023 and, for the period of that plan, revenues and income were at that point forecast to be broadly balanced.

Revised forecasts for expenditure in 2020 will be published in the Government’s half yearly report. However to date the Minister for Treasury and Resources has allocated an additional £175 million to fund the response to the health, economy and livelihoods crisis arising from Covid19.

The latest advice of the FPP was published on 23 March 2020 and it is on that advice that the Government’s financial and economic response has been based.  The FPP’s central forecast is for Jersey’s economy to contract by over 6% in 2020. On a quarterly basis, however, the FPP anticipated that quarter 2 and quarter 3 of the year will see very steep declines in activity, when compared to last year. The Income Forecasting Group (IFG) report, published on 27 May, provides some analysis of the ‘shape’ of the FPP forecast. This analysis suggests that under the FPP forecast “Jersey could see a broadly ‘U-shaped’ initial recovery phase, when looked at on a quarterly basis. But beyond this initial recovery GVA remains significantly below the FPP’s previous forecast.”

While economic forecasts are highly uncertain at this time, the IFG report also includes a comparison of the FPP’s forecast with more recent forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and states that the shape of the Jersey forecast is broadly in line with the IMF forecast for other advanced economies, though the Jersey forecast sees both a sharper contraction and a slower recovery (see chart below from the IFG report). Government continues to plan on the basis of the FPP’s March forecast. In due course the FPP will update its forecast, and will take account of the latest information available at that time.

cid:image001.png@01D63453.C44E8B20

2.12 The Connétable of St. Martin of the Chief Minister regarding the Island’s Recovery Strategy: (WQ.193/2020)

Question

Further to the response to Written Question 161/2020, will the Chief Minister provide an update on the bodies or political groups (such as Policy Development Boards, Political Oversight Groups or other bodies similar to the Science and Technical Advice Cell and the newly announced Economic Council) which the Government of Jersey is planning to establish in order to coordinate and draft policies in relation to the Island's Recovery Strategy from the Coronavirus pandemic; and will he provide details on their proposed membership, scope and terms of reference?

Answer

Besides those bodies listed in Written Question 161/2020, the only groups currently being set up in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic are:

  • The “Political Oversight Group for Economic Recovery” (including its working group, scope and associated structure), the details of which are set out in MD-C-2020-0038. The terms of reference will be published once agreed and finalised.
  • A new “Ministerial Group on Tax Strategy”, is replacing the current “Revenue Policy Development Board”. Likewise, once details of the group are finalised, terms of reference etc. will be published.

2.13 Deputy I. Gardiner of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding information on International Service Entities: (WQ.194/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide the Assembly with information in respect of –

(a)   the total number of International Services Entities (I.S.E.s) on the list held by the Comptroller of Taxes for each year from 2015 to date; and

(b)   the total amount of revenue in listing fees received for I.S.E.s in each of the above years, to include a breakdown of the fees received for different types of such entities together with the details of the type of businesses which run them?

Answer

Table 1: Number and type of International Services Entities

Year of Assessment

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Count of ISE entities

1612

1757

1632

1804

1615

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type of Entity

Deposit Taker

23

21

19

19

18

Participating Member

633

627

562

734

541

Fund Functionary

24

22

18

14

12

Managed Manager

145

182

179

190

229

Affiliation Leader

93

89

85

85

83

Fund Services Business

125

115

114

118

125

Non-Affiliated Person

6

6

4

8

10

Other ISE

663

776

736

676

607

CIF/AIF* Collective investment fund & Alternative investment fund

0

0

0

39

70

MEM* - Managed entity exclusively as manager fund service business & collective investment fund

0

0

0

3

0

AIFSB* - AIF services business

0

0

0

8

15

 

Number of Vehicles

32,469

31,661

30,762

29,961

29,388

Total value: £m

£9.1m

£8.8m

£8.4m

£9.0m

£8.8m

 

Notes on Table 1:

  1. Some entities will include more than one “type” on their ISE return and so the sum of the “types” will not equal the number of entities
  2. For more information on entity type see Regulations 4 and 7 of the Goods and Services Tax (International Services Entities)(Jersey) Regulations 2008
  3. “Other” ISEs are funds, companies and partnerships that are not regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and their supplies are made outside of the Island or to another ISE 
  4. (*) These categories were introduced into the ISE regulations from 2018
  5. A “vehicle” is an entity (other than a trustee) that is administered by a trust company
  6. Full information for 2020 will not be available until later in the year

2.14 Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding staffing levels at Revenue Jersey (WQ.195/2020)

Question

In respect of staffing levels at Revenue Jersey will the Minister advise –

(a)   how many staff are currently employed;

(b)   how many of those staff have been, and continue to be, working from home;

(c)   how many of those staff are currently unable to work at all as a result of the Covod-19 crisis; and

(d)   in the event that a reduction in staff levels has been experienced, to what extent, if at all, this has impacted on the ability to process tax returns and rebates?

Answer

(a)                As at 1 June 2020 Revenue Jersey employs 103 people (97 full-time equivalent employees). 

(b)               About 35% of Revenue Jersey’s workforce is working from the Office: 65% is working from home.

(c)                There are currently no tax officers unable to work at all as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Revenue Jersey has experienced losses in productivity for a number of reasons, principally the availability of work capable of being done remotely; limitations on the availability of laptops in the early days of lockdown; office space within the parameters of social distancing; and also the domestic circumstances of tax officers.

(d)               Processing tax rebates to individuals, businesses and charities has been given high priority throughout the Covid-19 crisis.  Revenue Jersey has continued to process 2018 and 2019 tax returns alongside this work.

2.15 Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding the claiming of expenses when working from home: (WQ.196/2020)

Question

Given that the U.K. Government has provided guidance regarding the claiming of expenses under its tax system for the costs of working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, will the Minister advise if a similar approach is to be taken in Jersey; and, if so, when any such guidance will be made available to both employers and employees?

Answer

Claiming tax relief in respect of expenses incurred while working from home is being allowed in a wider range of circumstances than usual during the pandemic.  Revenue Jersey has published the following guidance on its “Coronavirus Tax Help” pages on the Government website. 

Expenses and working from home

Revenue Jersey will be adopting a practical policy with regard to expenses incurred when individuals have been required to work from home and are reimbursed by their employers.

This policy is limited to the period of time that the Government of Jersey is advising individuals to physical distance, which commenced on Friday 20 March 2020.

Employer reimbursement

Where the employer covers the cost of working from home during this period, these payments can be ignored for tax purposes when they are £10 or less per week. These expenses do not need to be declared by the employer on their ITIS returns and should not be included on the personal tax return.

No reimbursement from employer

Those employees who have to work from home but who do not receive any type of compensation from their employer may claim a flat rate of £10 per week to cover any costs incurred (heat, light, telephone, internet etc.). This claim should be made in the employment expenses section of your 2020 income tax return

2.16 Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour of the Minister for Children and Housing regarding the 1,001 Days programme (WQ.197/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise whether the Government is still working towards the aims within the original strategy of the 1,001 Days programme and, if so, state what progress has been made since his appointment as Minister and what action plan, if any, he has for future progress?

 

Will he further advise whether he will commit to the recently-renewed aims of the First 1,001 Days Movement and whether he has given any consideration to the Movement’s statement of 9th April 2020 to the U.K. Government (in response to the Covid-19 pandemic) and its applicability to Jersey?

Answer

The previous government committed to the 1,001 days programme in 2015. This been superseded by the new Government and the Government Plan which sets out a very clear commitment to children which is entirely consistent with the vision and mission described by the 1001 critical days movement.

I can confirm that the recently renewed aims of the First 1,001 Days Movement have not been considered in Jersey. However, despite the disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the Government’s emergency response to the threat posed by the pandemic has included careful consideration of the needs of children and their families. The actions taken during the pandemic represents a continued and enduring commitment to children and families which will be built on as we continue to negotiate a safe exit from the emergency measures put in place during the pandemic.

2.17 Senator K.L. Moore of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding savings and cuts: (WQ.198/2020)

 

Question

Further to the request to departments to consider financial savings in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, will the Chair provide a list of any job vacancies, showing the department and role in each case, that have been approved, paused, or declined for recruitment, together with the reasons for these decisions; and will he state whether a new process for authorisation of posts for recruitment has been introduced and, if so, provide an explanation of this new authorisation process?

Answer

At the States Employment Board of 24th April 2020, the Executive Leadership Team requested the endorsement of additional controls to recruitment activity.  This was requested due to the significant pressure on cashflow within the government and minimising future commitments to on-going expenditure (through recruitment) until a longer-term impact assessment of the current economic situation on Government resources.  This position was agreed by the SEB.

There has been no change in the Code of Practice for resourcing, however an additional panel scrutinises and challenges in more detail departmental decisions.

A panel chaired by the Group Director of People and Corporate Services, and comprising of the Director General, Customer and Local Services, Chief of Staff, Group Director for External Affairs and Group Director for Performance, Accounting and Reporting have reviewed all existing recruitment activity and will scrutinise all future activity.

In doing this the panel consider:

  • Whether or not the role is providing a statutory service or is required for statutory or regulatory compliance.
  • Alternative contracting arrangements other than permanent employment (for example, internal acting arrangements, splitting the role, pausing or covering through fixed-term contracts)
  • Alternative service delivery methods (such as asking another part of the Government to provide the service or sub-contracting)
  • The impact of a delay or a pause in the recruitment to the role.
  • Whether or not the role is linked to income generating activity, and whether that activity is continuing at the same level pre-COVID economy.
  • Whether alternative methods of delivery have been established during the COVID response (for example, online or telephone instead of face-to-face)
  • The impact on vulnerable persons, including providing support for children in education with a statement of need.
  • The market position for such roles.
  • Whether the role is more cost effective, or lower cost, than previous delivery.

 

This applies to all roles across the Government and non-ministerial departments.

For roles that had already made an offer of employment, the panel approved these roles en bloc.

All other roles have been reviewed, with deferrals made where additional information is required.

The list is provided below, by category requested.

Summary of Recruitment Activity and Status

 

Department

Approved to continue

Approved to proceed as offer made

Cancel assignment

Paused

Approved to proceed

Deferred for departmental review

Grand Total

Chief Operating Office

1

2

0

6

0

0

9

Customer and Local Service

3

1

0

9

0

0

13

CYPES

79

39

3

2

0

8

131

Growth, Housing and Environment

0

7

0

6

0

7

20

Health and Community Services

101

2

4

13

0

1

121

Justice and Home Affairs

10

5

1

7

0

0

23

Non-Executives and Legislature

7

3

0

1

0

6

17

Office of the Chief Executive

0

5

0

0

1

1

7

Strategic Policy, Performance and Population

0

7

1

3

0

1

12

Treasury and Exchequer

11

12

1

0

5

0

29

Grand Total

212

83

10

47

6

24

382

 

2.18 Senator K.L. Moore of the Minster for Education regarding pupils studying fewer than 9 G.C.S.E.s: (WQ.199/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide a table to show how many pupils in years 10 and 11 are studying fewer than 9 G.C.S.E.s, with the numbers broken down by school and indicating how many G.C.S.E.s are being studied in each case?

Answer

As entries have not yet been recorded for 2021, it has not been possible to provide figures for year 10 as schools were on half term in the week that this question was asked, and the availability of school staff is limited.. Figures for year 10 as well as confirmed figures for year 11 will be provided once schools reopen and the information can be collated and verified by the end of June.

The breakdown below for year 11 is based on entries recorded in schools’ management information systems (SIMS). The numbers have not been checked with schools due to half-term. It is possible that the information has not yet been recorded for certain qualifications or for pupils that have recently joined the school.

The figures include all GCSE and equivalent qualifications (including BTECs). Where a pupil is entering multiple qualifications in the same subject, only one of these entries has been counted.

It should be noted that some students are entered for GCSE examinations prior to the summer of Year 11 and these figures do not include any GCSE’s already achieved.

As of January 2020, there were 13 pupils in year 11 at Mont à l’Abbé School and 9 at La Sente, typically students at these schools take fewer than 9 GCSEs as appropriate to their individual requirements Due to the availability of term time only administrative staff during half term, it has not been possible to ascertain accurate figures, although these would likely be too small to provide due to the risk of breaching the privacy of individual students.

 

 

Number of GCSEs recorded in SIMS Yr 11 for summer 2020 examinations

 

 

School

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total 8 and under

9 or more

Grainville

5

0

5

5

0

5

25

45

40

130

5

Haute Vallée

0

0

0

0

0

10

20

35

20

90

10

Hautlieu

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

5

5

135

Jersey College for Girls

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

10

30

40

60

Le Rocquier

0

0

0

5

5

5

10

40

55

125

15

Les Quennevais

0

0

0

0

0

0

15

60

50

130

0

Victoria College

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

100

 

Due to the small numbers, the Department have determined that to provide figures where they represent fewer than five pupils would likely breach the privacy of the individuals. Independent rounding has been used to round all numbers to the nearest 5. Therefore, 2 or fewer students, including 0, will show as 0 in this table.

2.19 Senator K.L. Moore of the Minister for Education regarding tuition hours and opportunities to re-sit exams: (WQ.200/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide details of any support given to students who should have been sitting A-level or G.C.S.E. exams this year, including –

(a)   the number of hours of tuition;

(b)   any pastoral care that has been provided;

(c)   whether any enrichment programme has been established; and

(d)   whether opportunities are to be given to students who are dissatisfied with their results to be able to ‘re-sit’ their exams?

Answer

(a)   Ofqual stated “There is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade, and no student should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools were closed. Where additional work has been completed after schools and colleges were closed on 20 March, Heads of Centre should exercise caution where that evidence suggests a change in performance. In many cases this is likely to reflect the circumstances and context in which the work is done.”

The number of hours of tuition varies greatly across schools. With no requirement for additional tuition in accordance with the Ofqual guidance above, the majority have concentrated on providing support with bridging work to assist with moves to other educational establishments. Students studying for BTEC Technical Awards or other Level 2 and 3 qualifications not affected by the cancellation of exams have continued to receive subject specific tuition. At Highlands this ranges from 15 – 22hrs per week.

(b)   Schools have continued to support their students and maintain contact.  In some circumstances this has included careers/UCAS support, counsellors have been available.  Some schools have continued with online assemblies.

(c)   enrichment programmes include research projects, employment preparation tasks, activities, competitions, challenges and online tutorials.

(d)   If students are dissatisfied with their grades, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam at the nearest available opportunity. There is currently an Ofqual consultation, which ends on 8 June, on the possibility of an Autumn 2020 exam series. If an Autumn exam series is not agreed following the consultation, there will be an opportunity for students to sit exams in Summer 2021.

 

2.20 Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding post mortem examinations: (WQ.201/2020)

Question

Will the Minister confirm the number of post mortem examinations that have been performed on patients diagnosed with Covid-19 who subsequently died?

Answer

No post mortem examination was performed on patients whose Covid-19 infection was established during life (either by virology nasopharyngeal swab tests or clinical symptoms /imaging). In one case, Covid-19 was identified on the post-mortem tissue sample (nasopharyngeal swab and lung tissue), but the underlying cause of death was an extensive acute myocardial infarction due to coronary atheroma. 

 

2.21 Deputy K.F. Morel of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding deceased Islanders registered as having Covid-19: (WQ.202/2020)

Question

How many recently-deceased Islanders, if any, who were suffering with Covid-19 at the moment of their death have been registered as having a cause of death that was a condition other than Covid-19?

Answer

All 29 deaths which have been registered in Jersey with a COVID-19 related cause of death were certified with other causes of death in addition to COVID-19.

Deaths are certified and registered to include all primary and secondary causes of death that contributed to the death. Therefore, multiple causes of death can be and are certified.

How causes of death are certified/registered

Death in Jersey is first certified by registered medical practitioners who are qualified in law to undertake this function. Medical practitioners complete a statutory document (Medical Certificate of the Fact and Cause of Death – MCFCD) which includes the causes of death and sign a legal declaration that they have certified the death to the best of their knowledge and belief.

Currently, following the submission of the MCFCD by the medical practitioner to the Superintendent Registrar, it is scrutinised and verified separately by the Superintendent Registrar and (where appropriate) the Viscount. Following this scrutiny, the death is registered by the Superintendent Registrar and the causes of death are placed on public record in the island’s death registers.

The MCFCD form allows the registered medical practitioner to state, in full, all causes of death associated with that person or (if they are unable state the cause of death) to certify that the cause of death is unknown – in which case the matter is referred to the Viscount to determine the cause of death.

Causes of death are presented in four separate sections on the MCFCD so as to record comprehensive detail around the primary and secondary causes of death as follows:

Part 1a. records the disease or condition leading to the death

Part 1b. records any immediate antecedent condition to the cause of death in Part 1a

Part 1c. records any morbid condition that could give rise to the cause of death

Part 2.  records other significant conditions that contributed to the death, but are not related to the disease or condition in Part 1.

2.22 Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding donations given to hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic: (WQ.203/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide a list of any donations that have been given to the hospital during the Covid-19 crisis, including monies, equipment and resources such as personal protection equipment (P.P.E.), and confirm to what area of the hospital budget any such donations have been apportioned?

Answer

The hospital has received a number of donations during the Covid-19 crisis – all very much appreciated.

Many donors did not want any public acknowledgement of their generosity and therefore this answer does not name the donors.

One organisation donated £45,000 and this has contributed to the funding of:

-            20 End of Life T34 Syringe drivers

-            2 Hamilton ventilators for the Intensive Care Unit

-            40 hand-held Pulse Oximetry units for the Wards [When Covid patients are on oxygen these hand-held devices monitor a patient’s blood oxygen levels via a little finger probe. A very important part of respiratory management and ongoing care.]

In addition, the following donations of equipment and PPE were received

  • 20 Ventura Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices
  • 400 oxygen concentrators
  • 2 mechanical ventilators
  • 960 Visors
  • A quantity of masks and gowns
  • A quantity of individual items and samples donated by individuals and organisations coming forward for the PPE Cell to test for suitability of use during the height of the emergency
  • 1 box N95 face masks
  • 6 boxes of hand sanitiser
  • Several boxes of hand sanitiser to distributed to hospital and community staff

 

Medical equipment such as a mechanical ventilator is recorded on the HCS asset register.  These items are not formally allocated to a hospital budget.  They are recorded as ‘gifted’ to formally establish HCS ownership and corporate liability when in operational use.   The benefit then helps defray the cost of future expenditure on such items.

PPE was not formally allocated to a hospital budget.  Such items were checked for CE marking which is the medical device manufacturer's claim that a product meets the essential requirements of all relevant directives for its use. They were then reviewed in the Government of Jersey PPE Cell by a senior doctor and infection prevention and control specialist to consider their functional suitability and acceptability of use.  If these tests were satisfied, the items were incorporated into the stock distributed by the PPE Cell.

The General Hospital and HCS more broadly received numerous ‘acts of kindness’ from individuals and organisations during the COVID emergency.  These were distributed to staff by the HCS Wellbeing Team.

These included, for example, petrol vouchers and hot food supplied by local restaurants and food outlets.

2.23 Deputy C.S Alves of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding processing of Covid-19 tests and the provision of results: (WQ.204/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide a breakdown showing, on a week-by-week basis, the mean average time, as well as the longest and shortest times, it has taken to process Covid-19 tests and to provide individuals with their results, with the breakdown to indicate the percentage of each week’s tests that required more or less time than the mean average?

Answer

The average turnaround from the sample being received to the sample being authorised/reported, and percentages taking more or less than the average time are shown in the tables below.

This is separated into whether the test was undertaken off-island or on-island. Off-island turnaround times are reported in days, while on-island turnaround times are reported in hours.

Results are communicated to the patient within 24 hours of the result being received in the Pathology Laboratory system (OMNI).

Off-island tests are where the sample has been sent to the UK for processing.  In the early weeks of the Covid pandemic, this was a manual reporting process, which means that data were not always captured in real time – often the result would be communicated to the patient and clinical staff before it was entered in OMNI. In more recent weeks, the systems have been changed so that results can be electronically shared between the laboratories in the UK and our system.

As well as this manual process, the Pathology Laboratory staff often undertake quality assurance processes, which means that a test result date may change. It is not possible to review every individual record to identify where the test result has been through such a process.

It is therefore not meaningful to report the longest and shortest turnaround times. As far as possible, the numbers reported below take account of these processes and it is noted that when calculating an average, these issues are smoothed.

Off-Island Tests (Days)

 

 

Average Turnaround time (days)
 

% taking more than 3.0 days

% taking 3 days

% taking less than 3.0 days

10/02/2020 - 16/02/2020

3.1

28.57%

57.14%

14.29%

17/02/2020 - 23/02/2020

7.0

100.00%

0.00%

0.00%

24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020

3.5

65.38%

0.00%

34.62%

02/03/2020 - 08/03/2020

3.9

39.29%

46.43%

14.29%

09/03/2020 - 15/03/2020

2.5

9.80%

50.98%

39.22%

16/03/2020 - 22/03/2020

3.7

43.39%

11.98%

44.63%

23/03/2020 - 29/03/2020

3.0

20.75%

51.87%

27.38%

30/03/2020 - 05/04/2020

3.1

28.48%

35.92%

35.60%

06/04/2020 - 12/04/2020

3.4

29.35%

48.71%

21.94%

13/04/2020 - 19/04/2020

2.4

2.29%

29.77%

67.94%

20/04/2020 - 26/04/2020

2.0

0.64%

3.18%

96.18%

27/04/2020 - 03/05/2020

2.9

36.09%

11.92%

51.99%

04/05/2020 - 10/05/2020

3.2

24.00%

65.09%

10.91%

11/05/2020 - 17/05/2020

3.2

27.60%

61.11%

11.28%

18/05/2020 - 24/05/2020

2.6

11.57%

35.44%

52.98%

Grand Total

3.0

22.70%

38.95%

38.35%

 

On-Island Tests (Hours)

 

Average Turnaround time (hours)
 

% taking more than 5hrs 30mins

% taking less than 5hrs 30mins

06/04/2020 - 12/04/2020

9:19:38

58.24%

41.76%

13/04/2020 - 19/04/2020

6:00:01

34.97%

65.03%

20/04/2020 - 26/04/2020

3:27:42

11.02%

88.98%

27/04/2020 - 03/05/2020

5:47:35

26.87%

73.13%

04/05/2020 - 10/05/2020

4:24:08

20.00%

80.00%

11/05/2020 - 17/05/2020

6:59:24

35.18%

64.82%

18/05/2020 - 24/05/2020

4:40:02

20.07%

79.93%

Grand Total

5:30:29

26.64%

73.36%

 

2.24 Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding details of Medical Health advice to deal with Covid-19: (WQ.205/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide details of the medical health advice that was made available to the Government for its determination of the most suitable approach to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, including details of any different strategies that were considered and the relative merits, disadvantages, potential effects and possible outcomes of each one?

Answer

Medical advice has been provided to Ministers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is documented in a number of forms:

  • Presentations and verbal advice at meetings of the Competent Authorities Ministers and Emergencies Council is documented in the minutes and supporting documents for those meetings;
  • Medical advice on the introduction and/or extension of Regulations or Orders is contained in specific advice letters to the relevant Minister from the Medical Officer of Health;
  • Summaries of advice from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) are provided on specific issues as requested by Ministers, and summarised in STAC minutes;
  • Epidemiological analysis of the virus in Jersey is updated weekly, with key data published on gov.je.

Ministers continue to have ongoing direct discussions with both the Medical Officer for Health (Dr Susan Turnbull) and the Deputy Medical Officer for Health / Consultant in Communicable Diseases (Dr Ivan Muscat) as strategic options are considered.

The return of the Medical Officer for Health following a period of sickness absence has also increased public health capacity and enabled her and, at times also Ivan Muscat and Patrick Armstrong (Chair of STAC), to attend briefings to explain the medical advice to the public and partners.

Medical advice is provided with reference to the emerging evidence and latest responses taken in other jurisdictions, as well as advice and evidence issued by the World Health Organisation, Centres for Disease Control in the US and Europe, and Public Health England. Ongoing assessment is made to compare Jersey with numerous other jurisdictions depending on the issue in hand – including, but not restricted to, the jurisdictions of the UK and Ireland, other Crown Dependencies, European jurisdictions, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.

Medical advice on each aspect of the strategy is underpinned by a review of these sources, for example (and not limited to):

  • Respiratory, hand and environmental hygiene
  • Social/physical distancing
  • Evidence on vulnerability to complications from COVID-19 Self-isolation for those with symptoms 
  • Household isolation if one person has symptoms
  • Schools closure
  • Voluntary stay at home / avoidance of shops, closure of leisure etc
  • Introduction of lockdown
  • Use of face coverings
  • Time spent outside and the activities allowed
  • Newer measures to interrupt transmission – such as ‘bubbles’, limits on meeting non-household members
  • Testing, app-based tracking and tracing (which contextualised for example the approach taken in jurisdictions like Singapore).

Our assessments and the general literature on the subject indicate that the approach taken in Jersey has been essentially similar to that taken by many other countries, although the timing of introduction was sometimes different. Decisions on timing were made in accordance with our knowledge of the progression of the pandemic locally meaning that some of our interventions were later or indeed earlier than those in other places.

A summary of the Government’s synthesis of the evidence and appropriate strategy for Jersey is already published in the Report provided to the Government’s COVID-19 Elimination Strategy (P.61/2020): Second Amendment. The Government’s COVID-19 Strategy Update, to be published on 3rd June, will also contain further evidence summaries that inform both medical advice and Ministers.

2.25 Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding guidelines being followed for the testing of Covid-19: (WQ.206/2020)

Question

Will the Minister –

(a)   provide the guidelines that have been issued to the people staffing the Coronavirus helpline in order that they can decide whether someone is, or is not, eligible to be tested for Covid-19; 

(b)   state who signed off on these guidelines, and any other advice that has been given to staff, before they were provided;

(c)   advise whether callers’ details are noted at the time of their call and, if so, what details are taken; and

(d)   state whether such details are taken in the case of every caller to the helpline and, if not, explain why not?

Answer

(a)   Callers to the helpline who have one or more symptoms consistent with Coronavirus infection are eligible for a PCR test. The eligibility criteria for testing have evolved over the course of the pandemic, in response to our increased testing capacity, medical advice regarding COVID-19 and the development of our testing strategy.

(b)   The criteria for testing and guidance for callers is confirmed by the Deputy Medical Officer of Health. This guidance is under continual review.

(c)   Calls to the helpline have covered a wide range of topics relating to Coronavirus since this service was launched on 19 February. Callers’ details are not recorded when they contact the Coronavirus helpline unless they are booked-in for a PCR (swab) test, to avoid collecting personal data unnecessarily. Callers are booked-in for a test using the Health and Community Services TrakCare database to generate an appointment. For callers who have a record in TrakCare as they are already patients, the helpline will confirm the following information: General Practitioner; postcode; mobile telephone number; ethnicity; and religion.

The following information will also be collected for callers without a TrakCare record, so this can be created: full name; sex/gender; date of birth; civil status; country of birth; and full address.

The following information will be collected for all callers who are offered a PCR test: relevant clinical details/history; reason for swabbing; location for swabbing; details of off-island travel in last 14 days; and specific symptoms experienced in the last 14 days and date of onset.

Prior to the increased testing capacity announced on 30 April[1], the details of symptomatic callers to the helpline who were advised to self-isolate were recorded and shared with Public Health. These records were kept to both monitor the spread of Coronavirus locally and to enable those with symptoms to be contacted if additional testing capacity became available. The following data was collected: name; contact phone number; number of adults and children in the household; number of adults and children in the household displaying symptoms; comments on symptoms; and address. 

(d)   There is no pertinent reason to record the personal details of all callers phoning the helpline with general enquiries.

 

2.26 Senator S.C. Ferguson of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding cost benefit analysis of all-Island testing: (WQ.207/2020)

Question

What cost benefit analysis, if any, has been undertaken of all-Island testing for Covid-19 compared with the drawdown of £500 million credit that has been arranged and what were the results of any such analysis?

Answer

A COVID-19 Business Case was produced for the £500m Revolving Credit Facility and the Island-wide Testing Programme.  Both Business Cases adopted the same approach which included the development of an Economic Case including an options analysis which set out a range of potential options and the evaluation of each option against agreed evaluation criteria.  The relative costs, impacts and risks associated with each option were considered along with a consideration of the pros and cons of each option.

The Island-wide Testing Programme considered the following options:

  • Option 1: Maintain the current testing programme only (no surveillance testing)
  • Option 2: Maintain current level of testing at c.120 PCR tests per day on a prioritised basis, no additional on-demand testing, introduce some surveillance testing using point of care serology only
  • Option 3: Island-wide testing programme at c.500 PCR per day through a prioritised planned and on-demand testing service, introduce population surveillance using point of care serology and lab-based serology.

Option 3 was selected as the preferred option. 

The Revolving Credit Facility Business Case considered the following options:

  1. Do Nothing – no government support or financial stimulus
  2. Do Minimum – funding to meet life-saving health requirements only
  3. Do Maximum – funding to fully support the economy

The Minister was advised by the Treasury Advisory Panel. Option 3 was selected as the preferred option.

We also considered a number of different types of borrowing instruments which are set out in the table below.

 

Revolving Credit Facility

Private Placement

Public Sterling Bond

Advantages

  • Simple and quick (4 to 6  weeks) to arrange and led by SoJ
  • Provides flexibility on amount and can be drawn down in stages
  • Cheapest cost of financing
  • Can be repaid in stages or a single lump sum, with no early repayment penalty
  • SoJ has good relationships with local banks
  • Extension options are available that can be considered alongside the Recovery Plan.
  • Existing credit rating supports issuance
  • Low rate environment means low fixed coupon
  • Longer tenors available than RCF
  • Delayed drawdown possible (for a premium)
  • Amortisation possible

 

  • No financial covenants
  • Low rate environment means low fixed coupon
  • Longer tenors available than RCF
  • Existing issuance and documentation can be leveraged
  • Amortisation possible
  • Multiple maturity issuance available for larger size (£500m+)

 

 

 

 

Disadvantages

  • Shorter tenor than other markets (<5 years)
  • Increased re-financing risk
  • Financial covenants likely to be required
  • Higher arrangement fees and likely non-utilisation cost
  • Bank capital and credit maybe constrained
  • Longer time to completion than RCF (approx. 12 weeks)
  • Financial covenants likely to be required
  • Costs incurred if redeemed early
  • Higher cost than public bond issuance
  • Investors are less familiar with sovereign issuers
  • Financing costs stretched in current market (Less flexibility than the RCF)
  • Longer time to completion than RCF (approx. 12 weeks)
  • Maintenance of credit rating and other ongoing public disclosure requirements
  • £250m minimum issue size
  • Costs incurred if redeemed early
  • Staggered draw down difficult so risk of ‘cost of carry’ if not utilised
  • Amortisation less attractive to investors
  • Market effectively closed to new issues at the moment – therefore not a viable option

 

Government of Jersey Business Cases use principles from the Green Book “five case model” to enable consideration to be given to the strategic case, commercial case, economic case, financial case and management case.

 

2.27 Senator S.C. Ferguson of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding legal actions still open with members of staff: (WQ.208/2020)

Question

Will the Chair advise –

(a)   how many legal actions involving members of staff who are no longer employed by the States are currently ongoing;

(b)   what the legal costs to the States for such actions have been over the past 5 years (for each year), whether or not they have been completed or are ongoing; and

(c)   in cases over the past 5 years where the States Employment Board has either lost such a case or a stand-off with the other party has been reached, why the Board has not negotiated a settlement?

Answer

(a)   There are currently 3 case files ongoing brought by former members of staff.

(b)   The majority of the resources associated with the above case files are provided by staff within the Chief Operating Office and the Law Officers’ Department. 

Precise external spend is not held by the States Employment Board on a calendar year basis, although costs data on significant cases will typically be available after formal resolution/settlement (subject to any confidentiality obligations).

Current external spend in relation to ongoing case files is approximately £200,000 to £250,000.

(c)   The States Employment Board has engaged in confidential settlement discussions in several cases, whether that be through “without prejudice” correspondence, settlement meetings or mediations conducted by independent third parties such as the Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service. In some cases, matters have been amicably resolved without the dispute proceeding to the Royal Court or the Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal. However, agreement is not always possible. 

In directing or agreeing to any such discussion, the Board receives advice from case officers and the Law Officers’ Department (where such discussions are subject to litigation privilege, which is not waived).  Additionally, the Board considers any such terms of agreements in the context of its public duty that such settlements are proportionate to the liabilities.  Where there is an unrealistic expectation from the other party regarding liability and/or quantum, the Board cannot enter into such terms.

This approach is consistent with that taken by other large employers, in Jersey and other jurisdictions.

 

2.28 Senator S.C. Ferguson of the Chief Minister regarding a think tank and the Recovery Plan: (WQ.209/2020)

Question

What progress, if any, has the Chief Minister made in establishing a ‘think tank’ of High Value Residents (‘2(1)(e)’ residents), industry and union representatives to advise on a recovery plan from the Coronavirus pandemic; and will he advise whether this ‘think tank’ will be independent of politicians and Government officers and whether its advice and conclusions will be published?

Answer

As mentioned in answer to WQ193/1010, the Chief Minister is in the process of finalising the “Political Oversight Group for Economic Recovery (POG)”. Within its structure, there will be a working group, referred to as the “Economic Council”, supporting the Oversight Group, which will contain a wide variety of individuals from across different industries within the Island.

Whilst this is not specifically a “think tank” of only High Value Residents, it will serve a similar purpose of providing expert advice to the POG and to Ministers, in supporting their decision making in relation to the Island’s economic recovery.

The purpose of the group is to provide external independent advice to Ministers and officials, in addition to that provided by officials. All minutes and papers from meetings of the Political Oversight Group and the working group will be available for scrutiny, and any report produced by the POG will be published.

2.29 Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding airline Blue Islands and financial assistance: (WQ.210/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise the Assembly –

(a)   whether the Government of Jersey is supplying the airline, Blue Islands, with financial assistance and, if so, how much and for how long will such assistance be provided; and

(b)   whether the Government is considering providing financial support for any airlines that operate a service to and from Jersey?

Answer

a)      Covid-19 has disrupted global travel significantly with a largescale decline in passenger numbers following the introduction of travel restrictions across the world. In the absence of commercial flights, the Government entered into a contract with Blue Islands to secure lifeline services to and from the UK for the movement of non-emergency medical patients and essential workers. The contract with Blue Islands has a minimum term of three months and up to £330,000 has been allocated to provide these essential flights.

Blue Islands are also eligible to apply for payroll support for any Jersey-based employees.

b)     Restoring air connectivity will be critical to the recovery of the Island’s economy in the months ahead. It is incumbent on the Government to work very closely with Ports of Jersey, Visit Jersey and key stakeholders such as the Jersey Hospitality Association and Jersey Finance to restore air connectivity as soon as it is safe to do so. Together with Ports of Jersey, we are in very regular contact with our key airline business partners. We stand ready to discuss tailor-made incentives and support with each of our airline partners – none of them are immune from the impact of COVID-19. 

 

2.30 The Connétable of St. Martin of the Minister for the Environment regarding animal welfare: (WQ.211/2020)

Question

Further to the response to Written Question 175/2020, will the Minister –

(a)   advise which specific areas of the Animal Welfare (Jersey) Law 2004 have been reviewed to date and what progress had been made before the Covid-19 pandemic began;

(b)   state whether the project of reviewing the Law includes consideration of the welfare of wild animals, as well as those used for animals, recreation and companionship;

(c)   advise whether the work undertaken to date will be used when the review recommences and, in that regard, whether it will be used to bring forward amendments to the legislation in tranches;

(d)   provide details of the timetable for the review that had initially been planned; 

(e)   re-consider whether to re-start the review before the Covid-19 pandemic passes and state whether this is the only ‘business as usual’ project to have been impeded in this way; and

(f)    state whether officers working on the review of the Law have been seconded onto working groups or projects related to the Covid-19 pandemic or Brexit and, if so, how many and what work has been undertaken, if any, to compensate for the reduction in resources allocated to the review of the Law?

Answer

a)      Before March this year, all areas of the Animal Welfare (Jersey) Law 2004 had been reviewed. The Natural Environment team are currently reviewing draft five of a new law and are currently at the stage of considering penalties. For example, issuing improvement notices, assisting animals in distress and if aspects of ‘Lucy’s Law’[2] in the UK are required in Jersey;

b)     The welfare of wild animals is currently being reviewed as part of the drafting of a new Wildlife (Jersey) Law. The work on this new law is being progressed in parallel with the review of the Animal Welfare (Jersey) Law 2004;

c)      Yes, the work undertaken to date forms draft five of the new law and will continue to be the basis for ongoing work;

d)     There is not a specific timetable for this work. The work is progressed in tandem with the other duties of officers as and when time allows;

e)      As stated in the response to written question 175/2020, the review (as well as most other work) has been impeded but it is still ongoing, albeit at a slower rate. Business as usual work in all areas will have been impacted and resources are being managed and allocated as available. It should be noted that secondary legislation has also been drafted to cover licensed activities; prohibited activities; and exempted prohibited activities. It should be noted that the Animal Welfare (Calves) (Jersey) Order 2020 has already been made;

f)       Officers have been redeployed to assist with the Government’s COVID-19 response where appropriate as well as assisting with the Island’s preparation for Brexit. Work in both these areas will have affected all officers in the Natural Environment team in some way. No specific work has been undertaken to compensate for this impact as the team will have been required to respond dynamically to manage and prioritise business as usual as well as allocate resources to other areas deemed necessary and/or urgent. It should be noted that this requirement for dynamism will have not only affected this team, but rather the government as a whole considering the current circumstances.

 

3.Oral Questions

3.1Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence of the Minister for External Relations regarding an update on Brexit negotiations (OQ.137/2020):

Will the Minister provide the Assembly with an update on progress with Brexit negotiations, highlighting the latest developments that affect Jersey and the other Crown Dependencies?

Senator I.J. Gorst (The Minister for External Relations):

It is a pleasure to see you in the virtual Chair this morning.  States Members will know that Brexit negotiations have been ongoing despite the COVID-19 crisis.  The latest round begins today and I, along with the Chief Ministers of Guernsey and the Isle of Man, met virtually with Cabinet Office Minister, Penny Mordaunt, yesterday to discuss our involvement and ongoing interests.  We had a productive discussion and I reiterated our priorities for Jersey which, as I have set out before, include promoting and preserving our constitutional autonomy and economic interests and maintaining the rights and privileges of our residents and businesses to trade and develop our agile economy.

3.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

I was hoping for something a little more specific from the Minister.  Would the Minister be able to say about any particular moves forward in any areas?  Is there any certainty as to any element of the negotiations that the Minister has been involved in?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

The Deputy knows, and I am sorry if he feels I have not been specific.  Oral questions are not necessarily helpful in being detailed nor specific.  I am intending to produce another Brexit report by the end of June, which will update Members further.  But the sad fact of any negotiation is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The Deputy will know from reading the international media that of course there is ... I am not sure whether “stand-off” is the correct word but there is continued positioning by both sides in this negotiation and of course that continued positioning affects any progress that might be made in regard to Jersey’s position but we are still being well understood and our position is being acknowledged and maintained in these negotiations.

3.1.2Senator S.C. Ferguson:

What is the position on the fishing rights?  Is the Minister taking a robust stance over the fishing rights, as opposed to the stance he indicated 2 or 3 months ago?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Perhaps the Deputy would elucidate on the stance she feels I have taken because we have been robust from the start.

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

At the briefing it was a somewhat emollient approach to the negotiations as opposed to something rather more robust considering the whole thing is based on an 1843 agreement with the French.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I think the Senator is confusing matters.  She is referring to the Bay of Granville Agreement, which she will know from media coverage in Jersey that there is some disquiet among the fishing industry about how that agreement is working, and we have continued to speak to the French about that.  There is a belief that there are some abuses taking place on the French side and we are continuing to consider and discuss those matters.  The fishing issue with the European Union of course is a wholly different one and we continue to take a robust position with regard to fishing.  It came up in the conversation yesterday.  Jersey and Guernsey are absolutely aligned in wishing to be able to continue to be masters of our own destiny when it comes to deciding on fishing.  Of course, the United Kingdom is also clear on what it wishes to do in regards to fishing and how it becomes a coastal nation state, and therefore for us we have suggested that we do not necessarily want to be dealt with in exactly the same way as the U.K. (United Kingdom), depending on what the deal there is, and we wish to be entrusted to negotiate on our own behalf.

[9:45]

3.1.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

Is the Minister satisfied that, given the U.K.’s negotiating stance with the E.U. (European Union) and the apparent impasse that they have reached, Jersey will be able to maintain good neighbourly relation with the E.U. despite the fact that the U.K. is adopting its very difficult stance?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Good question.  I think we have, for the last number of years, endeavoured to maintain a good neighbourly relationship independent of the U.K.’s membership of the European Union and I have no doubt that as we continue to do that - it has been difficult of course during the COVID crisis - but officials have maintained good relationships either via virtual meetings or via old-fashioned letter or email correspondenceI have been doing the same with Ministers and officials and European Union ambassadors to the United Kingdom.  It will be critical that we do so as the U.K. leaves the European Union because the dynamics of that relationship has changed and therefore it will become more critical that we engage positively with member states, for example in Paris and in Berlin.  The Deputy knows of our programme to work through embassies in both Paris and in Berlin and in other European capitals to maintain that positive bilateral relationship.

3.2Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding complaints of bullying and harassment in the public sector (OQ.134/2020):

Following a recent freedom of information request which revealed that there have been 11 cases of complaints of bullying or harassment this year against senior managers in the civil service, compared to 20 during the whole of last year, will the Chief Minister state what assessment, if any, has been undertaken of the reasons for this increase and what action, if any, will be taken to address the matter?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (Chair, States Employment Board):

The Connétable of St. Ouen is taking this question.

Connétable R.A. Buchanan of St. Ouen (Vice-Chair, States Employment Board - rapporteur):

The Government’s efforts to address poor behaviour within the workplace has been a priority for the States Employment Board senior management for the last 2 years.  Bullying and harassment is not acceptable and must and has been tackled.  As Members know, we commissioned some while ago an external report by the HR Lounge and the outturn of this and the Team Jersey phase one report reiterated the need to act.  We have acted.  We introduced a new bullying and harassment policy, a whistleblowing policy, and have put in place ways to report concerns, including a confidential reporting line.  Furthermore, every single line manager has now attended mandatory training in identifying and addressing bullying behaviour.  A new induction programme has specific information about these policies on our behaviours and values and how to report concerns. We are encouraging reporting and we think employees are feeling more confident that we will take their complaint seriously.  We have centralised all investigations, we record all complaints and investigate each one independently of local management.  It is for these reasons I believe employees are more confident about coming forward and because of this greater confidence in the system we are seeing an uptake in complaints.

3.2.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I thank the Connétable for his answer.  What troubles me about this is the increase.  It seems very high in this year for all years, we all know what we have been through the last few months, and my original question, and I thank the detail for the work going into all of this and I think right at the end he talked about a slight tick because of that.  But again my question is asking about the assessment of the reasons of the nature of these complaints.  Can he give an indication what they are surrounding and what they are about?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  Each one is about bullying and harassment.  I cannot give the Deputy details of each complaint but in essence they are not that much different from complaints we received on that subject from previous years.  If I give him a summary of where we are with those cases; of the 11 reported, 6 have required full investigation, 3 were resolved informally and 2 are still currently being reviewed for more information.  The 6 that were requiring full investigations, 3 of those were not substantiated, 2 are pending a formal outcome and one is an ongoing investigation.  I cannot give a single reason for this.

Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

I was going to ask for a breakdown of the stats because there is a difference between allegations and what has been upheld but I feel the question has now been answered, thank you.

3.2.2Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

Given the amount of money that was spent on the HR Lounge and the amount of money that was spent on Team Jersey, systemic failures were recognised and we are still getting higher numbers of cases.  Is this not a pointer to the fact that this issue of bullying within the States workforce is still real and present and needs even more work to correct the issues that are there?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  That sort of has a resonance with me because one of the things we have done, and unfortunately been a bit interrupted with the COVID pandemic, was to invite the HR Lounge back to review the work that we have done and to give us some recommendations on how we can improve further on what we have already put in place.  There is no complacency within the S.E.B. (States Employment Board) and the Deputy is right, we are still concerned that we are receiving complaints through the anonymous line.  We are pleased to see those complaints because it means people trust the line.  Any complaints about bullying is a concern to us and we are taking it seriously.

3.2.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

Is it not the case that as we return after COVID there will be even more pressure in the workplace and so it is even more important that we have systems in place to protect workers who will inevitably face pressure, and particularly to look after their mental health given the pressures of work as they come back?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

There are support mechanisms in place for those employees who are suffering mental health problems and we have mentors who provide counselling and support through occupational health.  I just reiterate the points I made.  We do take it seriously.  We are concerned about what will happen when we all return to the workplace and things return to normal, and that is the reason why we have asked HR Lounge to come over to make sure that the work we have done is of good quality and to give us further guidance on how we can improve things further.  Yes, we do recognise the risks of a bullying problem within the workforce but I can assure the Deputy we are doing everything to eradicate that, that is possible.

3.2.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

Is the Assistant Minister satisfied that the seriousness with which S.E.B. takes the issue of bullying is being reflected within the organisation and passed down appropriately through the organisation in line with S.E.B.’s wishes?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  The short answer is yes and I spent a lot of time working with my chief officer to ensure that that is the case, and I know he is as committed as I am to, (1) modernising the workforce and (2) ensuring that the States of Jersey is a place that people want to work and we are an employer of choice.  One of those drivers is to make sure that we do not have issues like this going forward.  So, both the S.E.B. and the H.R. (Human Resources) Department are very much behind this and working very hard to ensure that the problem is solved.

3.2.5Deputy K.F. Morel:

Given the Assistant Minister’s last answer, will he explain as to why he believes, by his own admission, that there is a still a problem of bullying in the government as an employment organisation?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  It goes back to a previous culture that we had when the current S.E.B. took over.  We are doing everything we can to change that culture, which is why we engaged Team Jersey to work with us.  Sadly the current pandemic has meant that has all been put on hold but I can assure the Deputy that once we are through the pandemic we will be doubling our efforts to drive that through the organisation and improve our culture.

3.2.6Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier:

Bullying is usually systematic because of the culture in the workplace so how does S.E.B. hold managers to account for ensuring they change their culture?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for her question.  Essentially it will be through their performance agreement and part of the metrics of their performance agreement will be to support and drive through the organisation the Team Jersey culture programme.  It is through that that we believe we will improve people’s cultural approach to their colleagues and ultimately drive out bullying altogether from the workplace.

3.2.7Deputy C.S. Alves:

So how does the S.E.B. measure whether the Team Jersey programmes are working?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

The outcomes of Team Jersey were measured a number of ways but I guess the most specific for managers is their performance against the metrics that we set them in their performance agreements.  Also feedback that we will be taking from the staff on how they feel culture has improved.  We were hoping to do an all-staff survey but again unfortunately COVID has interfered with that.  But that is on the agenda going forward in September that that will be the case.

3.2.8Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

The original question was about analysis after cases had been reported.  I just want to draw back to that point because the HR Lounge report, I believe one of the recommendations was to carry out post-incident review and analysis so that organisational learning could occur going forward.  As the respondent said, there has been a 2-year process of implementing these things.  Is that post-incident review process now in place and what can we learn from it going forward this year as to why there might be more complaints?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

There are multiple questions there.  In terms of the review process, we are due to receive a full review at S.E.B. in June, which will outline all the details I think the Deputy was referring to.  But I forget the second part of her question, if she could be very kind and repeat it I would be grateful.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

This is an atypical year, will there be a review of the reasons for these cases and how is S.E.B. going to manage a further increase of this year, especially under the circumstances?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

A full report showing detailed outcomes from each of the cases plus analysing trends is due to be presented to S.E.B. in June.  We then intend to engage with HR Lounge and review the way forward thereafter including what we do based on the outcomes of the report that we receive in June.  But we do get interim updates on trends.  Some of which I can share, some of which I cannot.

3.2.9Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Thank you, colleagues, for joining in and some of my final supplementaries were taken.  But it was reassuring to hear other States Members join in questioning and thank you, Connétable, for answering the questions.  I fully believe him when he says ...

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Oh, for God’s sake.

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Sorry, Senator Ferguson, I will carry on though.  My supplementary is this: this is an unprecedented year and he did start by saying it is a priority.  This pandemic has thrown up various problems of how can everything be a priority.  How can he today reassure me and the members of staff and the States Assembly that we will see a decrease in bullying by senior managers of the States of Jersey?

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for his final question.  It is our intention to carry on monitoring this and also to engage with HR Lounge so that eventually we end up with a very small number of cases.  I cannot give an absolute assurance that this year we will not see any further incidents.  But all I can assure him is that the S.E.B. take this matter very seriously.  The Deputy refers to other priorities in the current pandemic and, yes, we are all struggling with those.  But this, in our minds, is a very important theme.

[10:00]

We are trying to drive towards being an employer of choice in Jersey and the only way we are going to do that, or one of the many ways we are going to do that, is to ensure that we have the right culture in place and that people want to come and work for the States.  Stories and rumours of bullying in the States workforce will not encourage people to do that so I can assure him that despite the current pandemic we are taking this incredibly seriously.

3.3Deputy R.J. Ward of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding specific facilities time arrangements with the Unions (OQ.136/2020):

Given recent reports of a drive to improve relations between the States Employment Board and trade unions, will the chair state what changes, if any, have been made to the specific facilities time arrangements for the 3 teaching unions since May 2018 and what the arrangements now are?

The Connétable of St. Ouen (Vice-Chair, States Employment Board - rapporteur):

The States Employment Board has agreed that one of its priorities for 2020 was the formalisation of mechanisms of engagement with our trade union colleagues.  S.E.B. directed officers to meet directly with trade unions, which they did on 18th February.  The meeting involved all 16 trade union representatives and S.E.B. officers, including the group director of People and Corporate Services.  Part of the outturn of this meeting was that they should continue and also the question of facilities time, which I know the Deputy is particularly interested in, was also discussed but given the onset of the pandemic this matter was not finally concluded.  It was worth mentioning that during the COVID response unfortunately our meeting framework has not taken place but we have had regular engagements with our trade union colleagues on a daily basis to discuss and bring upcoming changes and to advise them of any communication or changes in COVID advice.  They have also had a weekly opportunity to question the group director.  During this very difficult time, unfortunately the question of facility time has been put to one side other than we have obviously allowed for trade union colleagues who want to join these meetings to do so.  I cannot thank our colleagues of the trade unions enough who have been unbelievably helpful, and particularly the teaching unions, who have engaged with us continually about provision of schooling for some children during the COVID crisis and are now working with us on the safe return for some years to schools over the coming weeks.  We had hoped concluding a new agreement including facility time would have been placed by the end of summer however understandably the focus has been on COVID-19.  We are in the process of negotiating a timetable but obviously that is subject to the relaxation of the restrictions that are in place but we would very much like to have this matter, including facility time, agreed by September.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Before I ask my supplementary, may I just say that the question I asked was from May 2018.  Although I take on board the comments since the COVID-19 emergency I do not feel I should have to use my supplementary to re-ask my first question, if I may say, about the arrangements from May 2018.  It is very difficult when you get a limited number of questions here and it would be great if the first one was answered first, if I may say.

The Deputy Bailiff:

It is very important, Connétable, that you respond to the question.  The Deputy makes the point that his question does ask for material from May 2018 onwards, so, Deputy Ward, I accept your point.  Do you want to indicate what part of the question you regard as being unanswered and you can then ask a supplementary in the usual way?

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Yes, it is arrangements for the 3 teaching unions since May 2018 and the arrangements now.  It is clear there are no arrangements now but I just wonder with regards from 2018.  I was very specific in my question.

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I think the Deputy is alluding to the arrangement of the teaching unions.  The arrangements since May 2018 to the date of this meeting, which was 18th February, have remained as they are.  But I am aware there is a discussion between the 2 teaching unions as to the allocation of facilities time between those unions and that subject is the subject of negotiation that is taking place.

3.3.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Given that there was a specific facilities arrangement until May 2018 can the Assistant Minister answer what happened to that arrangement since that time because it seems to have been lost.

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  It is my understanding that that arrangement continues to be in place as we are now.  Each union has an allocation of facilities time, which is related to the size of their membership and that continues at the moment, although, as the Deputy I am sure is aware, that is the subject of negotiation at the moment.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Do I get a final supplementary?  I thought that was my supplementary supplementary.

The Deputy Bailiff:

No one has asked a question so I do not think you do get a final supplementary.

The Connétable of St. Ouen:

Can I just say, before you close down that question, I am very happy to sit down with the Deputy on a one-to-one basis, appropriately socially distanced of course - one has to remember to put that in these days - and cover off the concerns that he has, which he clearly has, and I would not like to feel that he walked away from today’s meeting without those questions being addressed.  If he would like to get together with myself and my officer I am very happy to go over in great detail what is happening and what arrangements we are proposing to put in place and what is there already.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Thank you, that would be very constructive.

3.4Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding use of the local workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic (OQ.147/2020):

Will the Minister advise what strategy is in place, or is to be put in place, to assist with the downturn in employment markets as a result of the COVID-19 crisis in particular in relation to the retraining and redeployment of the local workforce?

Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier (The Minister for Social Security):

This question is going to be answered by my Assistant Minister, Deputy Maçon.

Deputy J.M. Maçon (Assistant Minister for Social Security - rapporteur):

I thank the Deputy for this question and this area is of course departmental.  Back to Work and Skills Jersey work closely together in this area.  As the Government moves into the recovery phase a key priority for future economic well-being is to support Islanders back into employment as quickly as possible.  Longer term strategies to maintain the skilled workforce for the future will be developed as part of the work undertaken by the Economic Recovery Political Oversight Group.  Throughout the COVID period Back to Work teams have been supporting people who are out of work and this will continue as we move into recovery.  Back to Work also provides support for retraining to get people into new employment.  I am pleased to also say that the co-funded payroll scheme is helping Islanders in work and obviously return those displaced back into employment.  From June, businesses can also recruit individuals who have been out of work for longer than 6 months and making a claim under the co-funded payroll scheme.

3.4.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

Are there any industries which are currently short of labour who would normally use seasonal workers?  Would the Assistant Minister advise what plans, if any, to provide further encouragement to the businesses to employ local people, including those who might otherwise be claiming income support?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

This is where the cross-departmental element comes into this.  Both Back to Work and Skills Jersey are forming what is called the Skills Response Forum.  This is currently and actively seeking intelligence from the business community to identify where skill gaps within the labour market are required, where courses may be required to develop in order to shift people from one industry into another.  That work is currently being undertaken.  There are monthly reports being produced by Skills Jersey in order to understand the requirements of the industry.  For example, we know there are aspects where in construction and social care there is growing demand for people to go in their jobs.  In the legal and finance area it is more of a status quo model.  What does seem to be a rising concern is what will be available for school leavers and young people, and that is where the departments will need to concentrate the areas of development.

3.4.2Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

The Back to Work initiative has been invaluable over the years, particularly since the last financial crash.  It was so successful that we cut the funding while I was Assistant Minister.  Can the Assistant Minister now advise whether they are considering bolstering the Back to Work initiative with extra funding?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

That will be for the political oversight group to make that bid going forward.  As of yet, it has not met so I cannot confirm that that has specifically been looked at.  Of course we will be looking at many bids.  The other aspect of course is to remember the type of recession and as we still understand the situation, some businesses will be able to get on their feet, some will require more support.  So in the range of packages of economic recovery I would expect and I would hope that the Council of Ministers will look at retraining packages, whether that is through the Back to Work team or through the Skills team.  I should also point out of course that Highlands College are doing a huge amount of work as well.

3.4.3Deputy J.H. Perchard:

I apologise if I missed this in the initial response.  The original question asked what strategy is or would be put in place to deal with the downturn in the employment market.  Did the Assistant Minister state that the strategy will be developed by the political oversight group for economic recovery or the Economic Council?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

It is a bit half and half.  Because of the previous recession we do have some pillars of strategy already existing in place and that is obviously through things like Advance Plus, what is being done under Skills Jersey, so that aspect of strategy is already there.  The Economic Political Oversight Group will be developing further policy.  So the answer to the Deputy’s question is both, and I hope that clarifies the situation.

3.4.4Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Is the Assistant Minister saying that both the political oversight group for economic recovery and the Economic Council will be responsible for strategising regarding a downturn in employment market?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

It is my understanding that the political accountability will reside with the political oversight group

3.4.5Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

In answer to the questions the Assistant Minister has talked about Highlands courses.  Is it not the case that efficiency savings have been proposed for some Highlands courses on cost recovery grounds and would that not hinder the process of training up a new workforce?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Yes, and certainly my Minister for Education has made exactly that argument.  Certainly any progression on the areas of efficiency savings at Highlands College have not progressed and that is part of the argument we need to make around the Council of Minister’s table.

3.4.6Deputy G.P. Southern:

Will he ensure that such cost recovery charges do not proceed in future?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

We need to do an examination of the specific courses.  So for some cases, some of the financial sector courses, for example, perhaps there is a case that costs could go up there.  Other areas, for example, social care where we desperately need more development, I think that there is an argument that we should not be doing that.  What we are keen to do is to get that feedback from industry to understand their position but certainly we will be making the argument that there are some course rises where it just would not be any common sense to increase fees at the moment.  But the argument I suppose is it will take a sectorial response.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

So that is yes and no?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Correct.

3.4.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

Could the Assistant Minister please explain how political accountability will rest with the political oversight group given that the political oversight group clearly contains members of the public who are not accountable to the States Assembly?  So why does political accountability reside with the P.O.G. (political oversight group) and not with the Minister?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Perhaps I have misunderstood how it works.  It was my understanding that the political oversight group would be made of Ministers and therefore there would be that political accountability there.

3.4.8Deputy K.F. Morel:

The political oversight group has been named and while Ministers are on it there are also members of the public.

[10:15]

Perhaps the Assistant Minister could help us understand how members of the public will be held accountable.

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I do not know exactly how the governance of that group will work.  I do not know whether these individuals will be, for example, non-exec members, how the voting aspects will work within that body but I would imagine that regardless the politicians on that group will remain politically accountable.

3.4.9Deputy R.J. Ward:

Seeing as the Assistant Minister has responsibility for training and H.E. (higher education), can I ask him for his vision on what he would like to see as the response to the downturn in the economy and the retraining of our workforce accordingly?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I will be making those comments during the in-committee debate later today where I have more freedom and it is not just restricted within the confines of this question.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Could he give us pcis perhaps or some idea of how that links in with the political oversight group?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

As I say, I will reserve my position for the in-committee debate.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Can I raise a point of order, Sir?  The answers given to Deputy Ward just now were clearly not answers to the question, they were actually a refusal to answer the question.  I do not understand how that sits within Standing Orders.  Essentially the Deputy has no right to reserve his answer.

The Deputy Bailiff:

The obligation is to give a concise and relevant answer under Standing Order 65.  I think that is right, and I can understand that in this context, Deputy Maçon, you feel entitled to reserve your position until the debate, which Members are going to enjoy later on today or some time tomorrow, but the Standing Orders do require you, when asked a question to answer concisely and relevantly obviously in relation to a matter that is within your responsibility.  I think in the circumstances, and bearing in mind that answers are supposed to be brief, you ought to give a brief summary as requested by Deputy Ward.

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

But that also means I have to answer within the areas that I have political responsibility.  There are things where you need to do stuff in Economic Development which would not fit within my political responsibility remit so I am confined.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, I agree that you are confined to matters within your responsibility but you still must answer the question as opposed to decline to answer the question.

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Very well.  As I say, I would like to see further support for training courses, short-term courses, part-time courses that react and respond to industry need.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Is that all you wish to say?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Yes, thank, you, Sir.

3.4.10Deputy I. Gardiner:

The question in time and answers now showed clearly that there is a confusion about political responsibility and accountability.  This question was submitted first to the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture and transferred to the Assistant Minister to answer.  Would the Assistant Minister go back and come back to the Assembly so that we will have a clear understanding who would be responsible politically to develop a strategy to assist with the downturn of the employment market?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Yes, I give the Deputy that undertaking.

3.5Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding funding the “Our Hospital” project (OQ.139/2020):

Following the Deputy Chief Minister’s statement on 12th May 2020 that a financing Proposition for the “Our Hospital” project will be brought to the Assembly for debate in May 2021, will the Minister update the Assembly on any plans for funding the project, and indicate the anticipated level of borrowing required, if any, to fund the project?

Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

As highlighted in the question, the Deputy Chief Minister stated that a financing Proposition for the “Our Hospital” project will be brought to the Assembly for debate in May 2021.  A full assessment of financing can only be completed once a site for the hospital has been determined and a detailed appraisal of the total cost of construction has been undertaken.  This is why the Deputy Chief Minister alluded to the date which is some 12 months in the future.  In the event that borrowing is required to fund the project then I am cognisant of many of the solutions available to me, having just assessed a number of options as part of the process for putting in place a £500 million revolving credit facility which will be used to support individuals and the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over the coming months, as details of the “Our Hospital” project become clearer, work will commence on the assessment of all potential options for financing, which I would expect the range from the utilisation of reserves through the long-term debt funding.

3.5.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Will the short-term funding solution that the Minister mentioned for the revolving credit facility impact our ability to borrow money for the “Our Hospital” project?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

No.  Although I appreciate the volatility of the markets at the moment the recent experience of, as the Deputy mentioned, the revolving credit facility demonstrated there is significant appetite for many wanting higher quality sovereign entities such as the States of Jersey, the terms under which the facility was made available were very favourable.

3.5.2Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

Is the Minister able to enlighten us on the proposed location of the new hospital because this is something that is obviously worrying a lot of people who want to know where it is going to go?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, I am one of those people who would also like to know where it is going to go but I am not part of the “Our Hospital” group, I am afraid, so I cannot enlighten you.

3.5.3The Connétable of St. Helier:

Is the Minister able to say when the location will be announced?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think, from what I recall of the Deputy Chief Minister is saying, in July.  It was supposed to be, as we all know, at the end of April but the COVID situation has held up that announcement.

3.5.4Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

Given the interest rates are at an all-time low and long-term bonds, coupon rates could be secured I am assured at rates as low as maybe 1 per cent, can the Minister update us on the work she is doing to keep an eye on these markets to ensure us that we will be able to strike when the time is right and not miss out on this phenomenal low interest rate opportunity?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Absolutely, Deputy.  Of course we are always monitoring it and we did a huge amount of work before taking out the up to £500 million revolving credit facility.  So that has helped inform us very clearly of the market recently and also a huge amount of work was done beforehand with the Future Hospital project where a bond was established at very low interest rates.  It was never actually signed off because the, as you will know, Gloucester Street was not approved by Planning.

3.5.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Following the previous Assembly’s situation with the finance and the trickiness that played out in the public, what is the Minister for Treasury and Resources message to those all involved in the project when she gets the proposition?  What would she like to see that is not repeated with this situation?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think the Deputy might be referring to the assessment of site availability?  Could you clarify that please?

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Yes, which led to the funding situation for the previous project, which had to be changed.  So it is just more about what is the message you ... so basically not repeating the mistakes of the past but what is your message to those involved when you eventually see the plans that you would like to then work on.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Thank you very much, Deputy.  That is very clear.  I think 3 sites are going to be presented, if I am correct - open to correction if that is not the case - but I think 3 options with all the viability or not of each option.  Once the States Assembly have agreed on a site then of course there will be the decision as to what it constitutes, how big it is going to be and ultimately what it is going to cost.

3.5.6Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Also her personal message, as being the Minister for Treasury and Resources on the biggest issue of this Island bar other things going on presently, to her colleagues when she finally gets the plan; what would she like to be her message as Minister for Treasury and Resources with this most contentious project coming up.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

My message would be ... I cannot say it because it is not a politically acceptable phrase, but I have thought it a lot that one was just to get on and do it because we have wasted so much time over this project.  I understand the enormous potential cost of it and also the fact that it has to accommodate all various sorts of the Island’s patients’ needs, including cancer requirements, mental health requirements, so it has got to be an all-encompassing general hospital, which of course you do not have to have in the U.K. but we do here.  But I would like the message to be to the Deputy that we need to get on with it and make a move.  It has been too long, it has been a battle ever since I have been in politics.

3.5.7Deputy S.M. Ahier:

In Future Hospital: approval of funding P.107/2017, the intention was to borrow up to £275 million over a 30 to 40-year period.  Will the Minister take the same approach concerning the repayment period?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, the Deputy is quite right, it was a long-term borrowing facility which at the time was the best way forward.  It did not happen, as I mentioned earlier, but at the time that was the best way forward.  I think there was quite a lot of criticism at the time as well that we were leaving our grandchildren with a huge debt but we do not know the amount yet.  We do have reserves so it is not necessarily going to be the borrowing.  We have just got to ascertain, when we know the required amount, how we go about it.  Not necessarily borrowing at all but that was what was decided to be the best option for the last project.

3.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St Helier of the Minister for Children and Housing regarding Children’s Rights Impact Assessments (OQ.145/2020):

Will the Minister outline to the Assembly the timeline proposed to introduce and implement child rights impact assessments or C.R.I.A.s throughout the Government of Jersey; and, will the Minister advise what level of priority this work will have?”

Senator S.Y. Mézec (The Minister for Children and Housing):

Prior to the outbreak of this pandemic, the plan was that I would lodge the draft legislation to indirectly incorporate the U.N.C.R.C. (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) into Jersey law for debate before the end of this year and work had been going on recently to achieve that, including consultation.  It is that piece of legislation that would have created the statutory requirement for children’s rights impact assessments to be undertaken alongside the development of policy legislation and Propositions in this Assembly.  Unfortunately, some of that work has had to be temporarily put on hold because there has been a massive movement of officers towards the pandemic response and preparing lots of the work that is urgently needed to be done on that.  So I am expecting the work to bring forward that legislation to recommence within the coming weeks.  But the point at which it comes before this Assembly for debate is probably going to be delayed until the beginning of 2021 rather than by the end of this year, as I would have hoped.

3.6.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I thank the Minister for his answer and I do understand that the situation we are in has led to delays, although I am disappointed to hear that there will be a delay.

[10:30]

Can the Minister just affirm to the Assembly that this work will be given the highest priority over other pieces of work and would the Minister look into redirecting resources from other departments due to the fact that we have committed to put children first?  Could the Minister please look into doing that to perhaps mitigate the delay?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

That is a very welcome suggestion as far as I am concerned.  I want to reassure her that this particular piece of work I think is a top priority, partly because that incorporation of the U.N.C.R.C. indirectly into Jersey law has so many positive repercussions, as a result of it, that will have an impact and an influence on all sorts of other pieces of work that go on that, for me, it has to be a priority.  I am disappointed that it will inevitably be delayed, hopefully just by a couple of months or something like that.  So it certainly has my full support as a priority.  But what I will say to the Deputy is I do not think there should be a reason for not at least piloting children’s rights impacts assessments before then.  Within the department in which I have got responsibility for, that is happening already with the children’s rights issues arising with the return to school.  But I think we ought to be suggesting to other departments that they ought to start doing that as well.  I think there have been a few incidents recently that have demonstrated that that is important.  So over the weekend I had a brief discussion with the director general for C.Y.P.E.S. (Children, Young People, Education and Skills) and at some point this week we are going to have a discussion about how we can promote that for other departments as well.

3.6.2Deputy I. Gardiner:

Can the Minister advise: has there been any impact assessment done without legislation?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I just mentioned that one is being piloted with the return to school and how that is being facilitated.  That is what we are calling an ongoing children’s rights impact assessment, which I think is an appropriate way of doing it.  Rather than creating a document and then putting it on a shelf this will be an evolving thing.  I know that the officers who were working on the Island Plan were also incorporating a children’s rights impact assessment into it, partly because they anticipated that by the time the Island Plan comes around that the statutory requirement for children’s rights impact assessments will be in place so they were going to have to do it anyway.  Whether or not that is still the case, knowing that that work was going on with the Island Plan at such an advanced stage I think was a really good thing to see.

3.6.3Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Could the Minister for Children and Housing give his assessment as to whether this has got the backing and full support as he has outlined the obvious, which is putting a lot of pressure I would imagine on the Government and their resources and, as we have seen with some of the Propositions that have been put forward, that Scrutiny have raised issues about this?  Is he getting a sense that this is just not supported?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I am not getting that impression, no.  I am certainly getting the impression that throughout this very hectic period things have been overlooked that should not have been overlooked, which I have spoken strongly about to other colleagues to pressure them not to overlook these sorts of things.  I find that disappointing but it is not something that I would say damages our prospects of getting this done at the end, purely because this has been such a hectic time and as is, I think, understandable mistakes have been made along the way that you would hope otherwise would not be made.  That is why it is so important that we make this a statutory requirement and have it in place, so that it is just an automatic thing that every department does, rather than it being seen as needing to come from the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department or the Ministers associated with that department.  It should be all of our responsibility.  I do not get the impression that it is not supported.  I do get the impression that from time to time, through a really difficult period, some things have been a little bit clumsy, which has been frustrating, but I know that we will get through it in the end.

3.6.4Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I thank the Minister for his answer.  I want to reiterate the point of this is going to come to the States Assembly for a debate.  Has he got any concerns about bringing that debate if he is unsure that the culture and the climate is behind this, and will he still bring it?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I certainly will bring it.  There is no force on heaven or earth that can stop me from bringing that.  It is such an important piece of work that does need to happen.  The point has to be made that when Deputy Doublet brought the original proposition to start us on this pathway of incorporation that was adopted overwhelmingly by the Assembly.  I cannot remember if it was unanimous or not but it at least was very close to it.  I think that the Assembly has bought into the principle.  Some people may start to get nervous when they see some of the detail and what it means but I think this is the inevitable pathway that we are on and that is why I am determined to bring it to the Assembly as soon as possible.  I am disappointed that it is delayed a little bit but we will get there.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

My question was just answered right at the end of the previous bit, so no need for it, thank you, Sir.

3.6.5Deputy K.F. Morel:

Sorry, I thought of a question at the very end.  Given that the Council of Ministers or the Government as a whole have more than 100 items of work labelled as high priority, would the Minister be able to be a bit more specific in where in those more than 100 items of work he would expect this piece of work to sit?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

It is a difficult question to answer.  If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority.  What I have said is that the work for this had already started.  It had proceeded to a point where cancelling it is, I think, impossible, not just politically but practically as well.  It would just be a really silly thing to do at this point.  We have adjusted our timeline based on the fact that the officers who were working on it have had to redirect themselves to other areas and are now committing to have it brought about in the very early part of next year.  I am confident that that is what is going to happen, and I am confident that others have bought into it, so there will not necessarily be any political speed bumps along the way, hopefully.

3.6.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I thank the Minister for his answers and I am pleased to see that this will be a high priority and I thank Deputy Morel for his question.  I wanted to ask the Minister what specific actions will he take in terms of encouraging and persuading other Ministers to pilot this, if that is indeed doable, before it is within our legislation?  For example, will he commit to raising this in the Council of Ministers every time a new policy comes up and urging Ministers to take this into account and do this work as a matter of urgency?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I am happy to do that.  It should not require me to do that, though, and I think that is the cultural thing we need to get to grips with, is that even though we have a Minister for Children we are all the corporate parents here.  Every Minister should be doing this unilaterally without having to be pressured.  I mentioned in response to an earlier question that I am due this week to have a discussion with my director general to talk about this, and that is a result of some of the concerns I have expressed leading up to this point.  I guess from that conversation I will be a little bit clearer about what I have got to do and what can be done behind the scenes with other officers as well to start encouraging this work.

3.7Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding the police not wearing face masks (OQ.140/2020):

Will the Minister advise why the police are not wearing face masks when patrolling and coming into contact with members of the public at distances of less than 2 metres?

Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement (The Minister for Home Affairs):

I am sure you will expect me to say, and I say it sincerely, that the safety of our police officers is an absolute priority.  The States of Jersey Police is following national and local guidance on the use of personal protective equipment.  The 3 main elements of that guidance is maintaining social distancing, ensuring basic hygiene and having personal protective equipment readily available for use when COVID-19 is suspected.  Mandatory or routine wearing of masks and other P.P.E. (personal protective equipment) is not currently considered appropriate.

3.7.1Deputy C.S. Alves:

Given that those working in restaurants such as waiters, et cetera, are using P.P.E. such as masks and the public are seeing this, does the Minister not agree that this should be an area where the States should be leading by example?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Certainly the States of Jersey Police, as I said, are following local guidelines and following national guidelines.  As far as masks are concerned, the recommendation as I understand it is that they are useful in enclosed spaces like shops and so on, but not necessarily as far as police officers are concerned when patrolling outside.

3.8Deputy R.J. Ward of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding the relaxing of the stay at home order (OQ.142/2020):

I look forward to another chance to get an answer.  I would like to ask the Minister how many people, so that is a number, have been subject to P.C.R. (polymerase chain reaction) testing, serology testing and contact tracing since the restrictions of the stay at home order were eased and what proportion, that is another number, of the Island’s population do these figures represent?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

Good morning, and I hope I can please the Deputy, because I believe I do have the numbers.  Jersey moved from level 4 to level 3 of the safe exit framework on 11th May.  Between 11th May and 29th May inclusive 2,942 individuals had P.C.R. results reported.  This represents 2.75 per cent of the Island’s population.  Among those there were 14 positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed.  The contact tracing team have spoken to healthcare professionals on behalf of 4 individuals and directly to 9 others.  These cases are equal to 0.01 per cent of the population.  A final set of numbers, 3,859 people, or 3.6 per cent of the population, participated in the essential worker antibody survey and received a serology test between 21st May and 29th May.  That concludes my answer.[3]

3.8.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I thank the Minister for a direct answer, and I have a supplementary?  May I ask the Minister what is the target in terms of how many will be tested as we move, as has been suggested, towards level 2 on 17th June of lockdown, which gives a great deal more freedom on the Island?  What would the Minister for Health and Social Services really want to see from the outcome of those tests?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

In respect of the P.C.R. testing we know we have capacity to conduct in the region of 500 tests a day, or 3,500 a week.  Taking of those tests is in many cases voluntary, so we are not working to a target but we are directing those tests at hospital staff and patients, at care homes and their residents and staff and at front line workers. 

[10:45]

They will be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that infection is not among those groups of people.  The serology testing is really to establish the prevalence of the disease in the community.  Previous surveys have indicated that it is at a very low level.  The community survey that took place over the last weekend will have its results published, I believe the intention is towards the end of this week.  We will see if there has been any increase in the community.  We will also soon have the results of the essential worker survey to see if there is any difference in groups of workers, so if those who might have been out and about during lockdown at work have been exposed to any greater degree than the general levels in the population.  Depending on those results from the 2 surveys then we will make a decision on whether further testing needs to take place, but indications are at the moment that there are very low levels of spread in the community, which would indicate that perhaps at the moment the thinking is 97 per cent of people have not contracted the virus.

3.8.2Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

The Minister gave a number of figures to do with P.C.R. tests.  Can he tell us how many of those tests are repeat tests for those involved in the front line and how many are new P.C.R. tests? 

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

For that detailed question the only information I have are on the daily statistics that are released to all States Members, so it gives a figure for total samples tested and total people tested.  There have been 7,500 samples as of yesterday and 6,603 people have been tested.

3.8.3Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Will the Minister go away and find out the figures and come back and tell States Members how many of them are repeat tests and how many are new tests, otherwise the figures are meaningless?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I will try to get more information to the Deputy and to Members, but of course we do want to repeat these tests with our front line workers to ensure that COVID is not spreading among them.  It is clearly the intention to repeat and repeat and repeat, also in our care homes, to make sure that COVID is not present at the moment, but I will get what information I can to the Deputy.[4]

3.8.4Connétable J.E. Le Maistre of Grouville:

I think the Minister answered my question, but can he confirm that the latest estimate is that only 3 per cent of Islanders have contracted the virus?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

That was the approximate figure.  I think it was 3 point something, I forget just at the minute the precise figure to the decimal point, but that was the figure released in the early part of May following the first round of the community serology testing.

3.8.5Senator S.C. Ferguson:

The general testing, the pinprick test, is apparently not yet considered 100 per cent reliable for individuals and I am told that the version being used is supplied by Healgen and I am also told that this particular test is not yet accredited, even by the Chinese authorities.  Why are we using such a test?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The test is not used for diagnostic purposes.  It is used only for survey purposes and with the agreement of Statistics Jersey that its use can provide us with valid statistical data, but I agree with the Senator it is not passed or indeed used here for diagnostic purposes.

3.8.6Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Does the Minister not realise that this is giving false confidence to members of the public such as my colleagues in the States who have undertaken this pinprick test?  Does he not think that it would be a good thing to obtain tests that are individually useful as well as population useful?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

No doubt there will be occasions when clinically it is considered desirable to obtain a diagnosis from a serology test and there are moves afoot to be able to conduct such a test in our labs, which would involve the taking of a full blood sample from a vein and testing that in a clinical environment.  That is coming forward but it will only be in limited circumstances for clinical need that that is used.  I think everyone having the serology test is advised that it is not a diagnosis, that there are limitations around the results and they are provided with information.

3.8.7Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Is the data that the Minister referred to in his initial response driving the decision as to when certain measures are eased?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Further data forms part of the evidence that is considered by S.T.A.C. (Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee), by the medical officer of health, in making their recommendations to Ministers as to the measures to be taken, so they are one part of it.

3.8.8Deputy J.H. Perchard:

My apologies for that overlap, Minister.  What other evidence is included alongside this data to inform those decisions?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Evidence related to hospital admissions for COVID, G.P. (general practitioner) evidence as to the presence of COVID in the community, calls to the helpline, also drawing on evidence internationally around the spread of COVID and research coming out of the World Health Organization, Public Health England and other bodies, so a variety of sources.

3.8.9Deputy G.P. Southern:

Does the Minister not accept that as a result of the debate last week about maintaining distancing inside a property or outside a property the public were left somewhat confused what the rules were and what measures has he taken or will he take to clear up this confusion?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I am not quite sure how that relates to the question on testing.  I was asked whether I accept, and I do not accept that premise, as stated by the Deputy.  I think we need to look at the places in which we live our lives.  We have regulation concerning workplaces, including shopping areas.  We have regulations concerning outdoor spaces now and the question of our homes is an area in which we have far more control and therefore it was not thought appropriate, and I would hope the Deputy would normally support this, for the long arm of the law and regulation to extend into what people should do in their own homes.  That is my response, and I made that clear during the debate, which was supported.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

I am left speechless, Sir.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Sir, I thought Deputy Alves had a question in the chat.  Sorry, I am just trying to be polite.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you very much.  I did not spot that, and apologies to Deputy Alves.

3.8.10Deputy C.S. Alves:

As part of the original question Deputy Ward asked about how many people have been subject to contact tracing as well.  I am not sure whether I missed the answer to that.  Could the Minister clarify, please?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

A notification of a positive result is given to members of the public by the contact tracing team, so they would have contacted the 14 positive cases of COVID confirmed between 11th May and 29th May and they would have gone through the necessary questions and then made further contact, if appropriate, with others who have been in contact with those 14 positive cases.

3.8.11Deputy C.S. Alves:

Can the Minister elaborate and state how many people who have been in contact will have been contacted by the contact tracing team if required?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I do not have that detailed figure but I will endeavour to provide it to Members later on.

3.8.12Deputy R.J. Ward:

I would like to ask the Minister for a direct answer to this, which is: is the Minister content or happy with the level of P.C.R., serology testing and contact tracing for us to move to level 2 of the lockdown in such short order?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I have regard to the advice that Ministers receive and as a result I am content.

3.9Deputy I. Gardiner of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding use of private Covid-19 tests (OQ.148/2020):

Given that COVID-19 is a notifiable disease under the Notifiable Diseases (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Order 2020 will the Minister advise what data, if any, is provided to the Health and Community Services Department by Orchid Care Services in respect of any clients who test positive for COVID-19 and if any details are provided does the department then track and trace the clients who tested positive?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

Orchid Care Services is a private undertaking that is not affiliated to Government.  Orchid are publishing anonymised summaries of their test results, although this information has not been requested by Government.  COVID-19 is a notifiable disease and all healthcare professionals should be aware of their obligations to report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.  As it currently stands, however, the 1934 Public Health Law does not make explicit provision for providers of testing or diagnostic services.  Anyone who uses the Orchid Care Service who receives a positive result for IgM antibodies should contact the coronavirus helpline to discuss their case history and arrange a P.C.R. test as they may be infectious to others.  Officers from the helpline will then complete the notifiable diseases online notification and the contact tracing team are responsible for communicating P.C.R. results to patients and will then interview those who test positive for coronavirus so that direct contacts can be traced and tested.  It is important to stress, as covered with Senator Ferguson, that the antibody testing cannot be used for individual diagnostic patient testing.  We are only using them in government as part of 3 ethically approved programmes of research to establish the spread of the virus within target populations.

[11:00]

3.9.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

Since Orchid started testing almost 2 weeks ago 61 clients had antibodies and 41 were tested with positive traces of, which means they may still be infected or may have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection.  As Orchid and our Health and Community Services use an identical test would the Minister look into creating a process whereby data on COVID infection gathered by Orchid be shared with us, with the Government and would be followed up with a P.C.R. test regardless of whether they have any symptoms?  I am particularly worried about people being tested positive and being asymptomatic.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Notwithstanding that Orchid is not part of government, of course, there have been communications to understand what Orchid are doing and to get some reassurance over the means by which they administer these tests and what advice they give to those who arrive for testing but the data and the test results belong to the person who has asked for the test.  There is no compulsion that we can put around this to ensure that those test results are shared by Orchid with Government or indeed anyone else without the consent of the person who is tested.  It is the decision of that person, but we would always advise, and I think it is the case that Orchid also advise anyone receiving that positive test to contact the coronavirus helpline.

3.10Deputy K.G. Pamplin of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding isolation of healthcare workers (OQ.135/2020):

Will the Minister explain why healthcare workers are exempt from testing and isolation following contact with a person showing symptoms of COVID-19?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

This might take quite a time or perhaps more than the normal time allowed to explain, because it is rather complex.  In relation to testing of healthcare workers for the purpose of screening, testing is voluntary.  If a healthcare worker has symptoms of COVID-19 testing is mandatory, but otherwise, in all other respects, it is voluntary.  When it comes to isolation there is guidance available relating to healthcare workers and exemptions apply under the following circumstances.  Firstly, in a case where a healthcare worker lives with someone who shows signs of symptoms but has not been confirmed as positive and the healthcare worker does not have any symptoms themselves in line with the guidance this healthcare worker could come back into the workplace based on a documented decision by the employer taking a proportionate risk-based decision and whether or not the area already has COVID-19.  Secondly, in the case where a healthcare worker has direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, provided that the healthcare worker does not have any symptoms themselves in line with the guidance, the healthcare worker could come back into the workplace based on a documented decision by the employer taking a proportionate risk-based decision and whether or not the area already has COVID.  Health and Community Services has developed a local policy to operationalise the guidance that is published on the gov.je website.  This was agreed by H.C.S. (Health and Community Services) on 20th May and details of the circumstances in which the exemption would apply along with the process for approval on exemption.  The policy does not allow isolation exemptions of healthcare workers who are symptomatic, have tested positive themselves, live with someone who has tested positive or have recently returned from travel within the past 14 days.  I do stress, they are not exempt.  The return to the workplace for the healthcare worker would require a number of arrangements being in place, which include P.P.E., breaks separate from other people, no lift-sharing or use of public transport and strict physical distancing when travelling to and from work.  When not in work the healthcare worker must isolate and follow the isolation guidance.  If at any point the healthcare worker develops symptoms they must not come into work but contact the helpline and notify their line manager.  Finally, these exemptions would only apply in exceptional circumstances after all other staffing options have been explored. 

3.10.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I thank the Minister for the answer but he got to the point at the end that having read and re-read these, and I am quoting now a spokesman for the Government, it says: “The impact that the isolation period could have on service delivery, particularly in terms of staffing, could pose a high risk to patient safety.”  It is for this reason that an isolation exemption became necessary and it is not just in the States of Jersey, it is in private healthcare.  Does this sit easy with the Minister, because the incubation period with this virus, as we know, is 5 days where people could be asymptomatic, but if a member of a healthcare provider has come into contact they believe with somebody that their professional opinion should be: “We need to self-isolate to see if we develop any symptoms.”  Is the Minister comfortable with this change of policy?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

It is not a change of policy.  It may be a development of policy the more we learn about COVID.  The first point to bear in mind is that this is only used in exceptional circumstances after other staffing options have been explored, so if other staff are available the member of staff might well isolate plus the fact that each decision is subject to a careful evidence-based consideration, an assessment is made of risk and it is fully documented.  It is in so many of these cases a proportionate assessment and the fact of the matter is that we have not seen any cases arising given we have seen a low level of infection in the Island, so this policy has not created harm.

3.10.2Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Given the fact that this type of test is usually only about 60 per cent accurate and frequently provides false negatives and false positives, is this not sufficient grounds for some form of disciplining, say inaccurate advertising, for example?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Does this arise from the question the Minister was asked?  Minister, does it arise from the question you were asked?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I do not believe so, Sir.  I think the tests that I am referring to, which healthcare workers are subject here, is the P.C.R. testing which is accurate and used clinically.  I think the Senator is referring to the antibody testing and possibly alluding to the last question.

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Yes, I am sorry.  I have come in late to the previous question but I still think it is a valid question.  Sorry, Sir, I will withdraw it.

3.10.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

Notwithstanding the lack of harm that has been done to date, does the Minister accept that a healthcare worker could be spreading the virus, yet showing no symptoms and therefore the potential for harm with the voluntary aspect of the healthcare worker testing is there?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

On the face of it, yes, that is possible, as it is possible with any of us during the early days of an incubation period.  This is recognised in the policy and a careful risk-based assessment is made.  As I have said, this policy is only used when there is no other option and it is a necessary policy, more so when we were facing the predicted peak of cases when we anticipated the hospital might be overwhelmed and needed every resource it could have.  We are of course in a slightly different situation now and I would think the risks are assessed differently.  Nevertheless I am asked about policy and it remains a policy.

3.10.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

Given that this is the current policy, and that he does accept that there is the potential for harm to be caused, could the Minister explain why, given that we do not need all the resources that were perhaps envisaged at one stage, there is not an obligatory testing regime for healthcare workers?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Well, there is that testing regime that I have referred to in previous questions.  There is regular testing now of all front line workers to detect the presence of the virus, so that is running hand-in-hand and we can know by that regular testing.  It is not daily testing, so that is not to say that we know on a day-to-day basis, but we have a good testing regime that satisfies the clinicians who are working in this area.

3.10.5Deputy I. Gardiner:

I would like to follow up and again to understand what the rationale is behind not doing obligatory testing for the healthcare workers who come in contact with a person showing COVID-19, not to make it obligatory, even though they are not showing the symptoms, as we know that 30 per cent of the people are not showing symptoms, according to the new statistics?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

If the Deputy means requiring the healthcare worker to take a test, it is a voluntary test unless they are showing symptoms then, like anyone else showing symptoms, we would ask them to take a test.  Of course while they are not showing symptoms the rule is that they can continue with their work unless it is agreed that the workplace has other means of sourcing the workers that they need.  As I have said, all staffing options are explored and if it is thought desirable to isolate somebody who has been in contact and there are other staffing options available those other options will be deployed first.

3.10.6Deputy I. Gardiner:

I think that my question has not been answered.  I asked if a healthcare worker came in contact with a person showing signs of COVID-19 healthcare workers because 30 per cent of people with COVID do not show symptoms what is the rationale behind the decision not to make a test obligatory for the healthcare people who are coming in contact with people with COVID?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Deputy Gardiner, could you repeat your question because certainly here there was a lot of echo and the Minister may not have caught the whole of your question?  Could you repeat it slowly?

Deputy I. Gardiner:

Sure, Sir.  I would like to understand the rationale behind the decision not to make the test obligatory for healthcare workers who come in contact with people with COVID symptoms, the rationale of the decision not to make it obligatory?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

My answer would be that this is a risk-based assessment conducted by clinicians who understand well the risks of the spread of COVID and in the context of their workplace they take that decision.  As I said, it is not always a requirement that that healthcare worker does attend work, but the option is there but, first of all, all other staffing options are explored.  I think that is the best I can give.

[11:15]

3.10.7Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

My final supplementary is that what troubles me about this is it is not just policy for the States of Jersey Health and Community Services.  It is also for the private sector as well.  As we go through the journey of unlocking and more and more people may come in and out of the Island, as we go through this process there is the risk that people will come into contact showing symptoms.  This virus is still asymptomatic.  If somebody who works in care providing thinks they have come into a position with somebody who may be showing symptoms surely the best thing to do is to alert the manager, request a test, stay isolated for a period of time, so that it can be proved and they can go back into work.  Does the Minister not agree?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The scenario that the Deputy has proposed could well happen in that the healthcare worker would contact the line manager and the line manager would agree with them that it is best that they stay home and isolate.  These things are considered on the basis of an assessment of risk and those considering them are well-trained and understand the risks, so I would be happy to leave it to their professional judgment.

3.11Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding P.C.R. tests and negative results in order to fly (OQ.141/2020):

As some countries start to accept incoming flights will the Minister advise whether there is capacity in the Island for people wishing to return to their country of origin to have a polymerase chain reaction, P.C.R., test and to receive their results within the period of 72 hours before travelling, if that is required by the destination?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

Last Friday the COVID-19 border testing trial commenced to test passengers arriving at Jersey Airport who choose in advance to opt in to the trial.  The trial will be reviewed on a regular basis.  Before committing testing for outward bound travellers we would want to make sure that such a provision would not have a material impact on the availability of testing for Islanders for diagnosis or screening.  It is hoped that in time a definitive global standard for testing travellers will be established with broad international agreement on what is required at the border to keep countries citizens safe from the spread of virus.  That, we expect, would be grounded in evidence-based guidance and recommendations.  We agree that travel to and from the Island is of importance to the Island and its economy and we recognise the need to establish an appropriate testing regime at our border as part of our long-term response to the pandemic.

3.11.1Deputy C.S. Alves:

My question was quite specific referring to people wishing to return to their country of origin.  I am not sure if the Minister is aware but we do have numerous members of the public who are currently stuck on the Island or wishing to return because their current circumstances are making it very difficult to live here.  Can the Minister clarify whether these people, who basically require repatriation, would be able to have these tests if it is a requirement of their destination?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

This is an evolving situation because different jurisdictions are considering how to open up their borders and what arrangements need to be made at borders.  So we are doing the same and we are going to need to receive information as to what might be required by countries that people are travelling to.  Most of our flights will be through the U.K. I would have thought so we are particularly looking at the requirements that the U.K. may put in place for persons arriving there.  Even those wishing to return further afield will probably have to return via the U.K. so therefore we have first to look at that initial step of what is the U.K. requirement.  There is nothing preventing us doing what the Deputy is suggesting but just at the moment we are not able to say there are positive plans to do that because all of this has not yet been settled internationally, how airlines will start their routes once again and what measures will be in place at the airport.  There is a lot of work going on both in Jersey and elsewhere to work out all these kinds of issues and I believe that the answer will come about probably within the next few weeks for the Deputy.

3.12Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding financial assistance for families (OQ.146/2020):

Further to the Ministers commitment given in the Assembly on 27th May 2020 to look into financial assistance for families, will the Minister advise what plans have been, or are to be, prepared in relation to this matter and will he provide a timeline for formulating and implementing such plans?

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

At the last sitting I undertook to confirm whether parents could get assistance from the co-funded payroll scheme.  I can confirm that it covers any employee in the supported sectors, whether they are working or not, as long as they are being paid by the employer.  The scheme therefore means employers can be paid even if they are unable to work because they are looking after children.  Additionally, the scheme allows for the self-employed who are caring for a child to claim under the scheme and also covers the costs of a nanny if employed by the household.

3.12.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I thank the Minister for his answer and can the Minister reassure the Assembly that this scheme or a scheme like it will be extended for as long as parents are at home looking after children who perhaps may be shielding because they are vulnerable?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

The Minister for Treasury and Resources has assigned an extension to this scheme until the end of August so it is guaranteed until the end of August at this stage with a further review in July.  I am sure I can reassure Members on behalf of the relevant Ministers and the Council of Ministers who will be making those decisions that a great deal of consideration will be given to the needs of all households and families when we are considering how the scheme could be extended into the future.  It is important that we provide the relevant support to Islanders right through and out the other side of the pandemic.

3.13Deputy K.F. Morel of the Minister for Social Security regarding consultation in respect of family friendly legislation (OQ.138/2020):

Will the Minister confirm what consultation, if any, was undertaken with stakeholders prior to lodging the Draft Employment (Amendment No. 11) (Jersey) Law 202- (Appointed Day) Act on 19th May 2020, and will she provide the names of any groups or entities consulted, together with the dates of any meetings?

Deputy J.A. Martin (The Minister for Social Security):

Thank you, Deputy.  I did not undertake any consultation with external stakeholders in respect of lodging the Appointed Day Act.  Thank you.

3.13.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

Could the Minister explain why she chose to undertake no consultation, given that we are in the midst of a crisis and all stakeholders would have been affected by that crisis?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

It would be very, very unusual to take any consultation on an Appointed Day Act.  The Deputy says everyone will be affected, in fact it will be very, very few people affected.  Again, I reiterate how few babies we have born and it will be a very few over the last half of this year.  It is long, long overdue.

3.13.2Senator K.L. Moore:

Given the small number of babies that the Minister has pointed out would be affected by these changes in this time period, could the Minister describe to the Assembly any consideration that she might have given to funding the family friendly policies in a different way, in order to assist those businesses that might find themselves in a very difficult situation during this economic crisis.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

That is what I did do.  We have got a temporary scheme between now and Christmas because the employer of the second partner has no input, they pay the full wage, it is 2 weeks now and it will go up to 6 weeks if the Appointed Day Act goes through.  My scheme will support that employer, as they do with mum now.  That is why I can bring it in.  I did say to employers out there I would not make them worse off.  Treasury and the backing of C.O.M. (Council of Ministers) have come up with this scheme, which I will be bringing to Scrutiny with officers very shortly to go through.

3.13.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

The Minister said it would be very unusual to undertake a consultation for an Appointed Day Act; well these are very unusual times.  While few babies may be born, many businesses, in fact every single business in the Island will be affected by the need to change their H.R. policies, update their administration systems and change their employee handbooks.  Could the Minister explain why she feels that it is appropriate not to, during a period of crisis, ask those thousands of businesses affected for their views?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

The Deputy insists there will be thousands of businesses affected.  There is a lot of work going on with that, there are online training session, they hold 10 people.  There are 8 booked already and they are fully booked.  The employer will be able to get money under this scheme, much more support; why we have Jersey Business, why we have the co-funding scheme, and there was a choice of possibly moving it back a few weeks.  This date has been in the public domain … I have had questions asked on it in the Assembly and on the balance I wanted to give those few babies, their parents, some surety and certainty of what they can do, and they have been waiting for this in Jersey for a very, very long time.  We have nothing before 2015.  Thank you.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Deputy Pamplin, you missed the opportunity to ask a question and there are no points of clarification in …

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

No, thank you, Sir, I had realised and I will take it up with the Minister.  Thank you.

3.14Deputy J.M. Maçon of the Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding funding for cultural and arts organisations (OQ.132/2020):

Will the Assistant Minister advise whether any discussions have been held with cultural organisations such as Jersey Heritage, Jersey Opera House and the Jersey Arts Centre; if so, will he confirm which ones his department has met - stating when and how often - and whether financial aid is to be provided to assist them; and if any of this activity has not occurred, will he explain why not?  Thank you.

Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade (Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

I thank the Deputy for his question and interest.  My department has been in regular contact with Jersey Heritage, Jersey Arts Centre and Jersey Opera House as well as Arthouse Jersey and since the lockdown discussions have increased significantly, in some cases 2 or 3 times a week.  The department has requested that all of those organisations provide updated financial forecasts to understand if any will require top-up funding due to the pandemic.  For example, Jersey Heritage has provided some provisional forecasts and we are waiting to see some more detailed forecasts about different scenarios to see what kind of intervention they may need in addition to their core funding.  That is a general answer.  I cannot provide all the dates but if the Deputy wanted those, clearly I could provide that in a written form.

3.14.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Yes, I would appreciate that detail, but that can come in time, that is fine.  Given that we know, for example, indoor venues will be the longest that will take to recover operations into the future, what priority does the Minister want to give to protecting the cultural sector so that we have an offering after this crisis?

[11:30]

Deputy M. Tadier:

I think that the cultural sector and heritage and arts in Jersey are going to be critical to the recovery.  Clearly, depending on the type of provision that they make in society, there will be different ways in which they might need to be helped or affected.  I will give one example.  The Jersey Opera House, for example, is probably going to find it very difficult given that many bookings rely on a long period of notice and their season is pretty much not going to go ahead but we will use that as an opportunity to invest in the infrastructure of the Opera House, which needs working on.  Other groups clearly can manage to do lots of productions perhaps online and with shorter notice.  So it will be a case of tailoring their production, depending on their modus operandi.

3.14.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

Would the Assistant Minister join me in congratulating the arts organisations and heritage organisations mentioned in the question, notwithstanding the economic difficulties, they have all managed to bring together a great deal of cultural offerings for not only local people but also further afield, adapting their programmes and using a great deal of innovation and digital platforms.  Will he repledge his support that as they do this that he will support all their efforts to keep local people, particularly arts and crafts people, supported by these organisations?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I thank the Constable for his question and I do certainly echo his sentiment.  I would have tried to wangle a tribute in anyway but I am glad I do not have to do it unsolicited.  It is clear that all of those organisations, despite the challenges provided by the pandemic, have kept going and found innovative ways to provide cultural input, whether it is through heritage, the arts, and they have done some great things online.  I think they clearly have been creative and I would encourage Members to follow them on social media and give them all of our support as an Assembly.

3.14.3Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I welcome the response of the Assistant Minister.  He mentioned, and quite rightly so, that looking to upgrade and protect the infrastructure in the cultural sector is something that should be prioritised, particularly with capital projects.  Would he agree with me that a fast-track process through the planning system would be one of the best ways in order to help in this area?

Deputy M. Tadier:

That is a little bit niche for my area of expertise but I think clearly planning is really important, and due process too.  I think it is more fundamental than that.  What we need to do, whether it is to do with infrastructure or whether it is to do with the intangible support that we give to arts, culture and heritage in Jersey, this Assembly needs to be unwavering in the support that it showed only perhaps a year or 2 ago when it committed to proper funding for those sectors and it is going to be even more critical, whether it is to do with planning matters or to do with how we support them, that support remains unwavering and that we do not be tempted to cut any funding to them as a temporary and short-term gain because it will be to our detriment as an Island culturally in the long term.

4.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for Treasury and Resources

The Deputy Bailiff:

That concludes Oral Questions with notice and we now come to questions to Ministers without notice and the first period of 15 minutes is allotted to the Minister for Treasury and Resources.  The first question is from Deputy Pamplin.

4.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Will the Minister for Treasury and Resources outline her concerns with some of the capital projects in last years Government Plan where funding was found for certain projects that had been paused for a period of time?  I am thinking about projects with Autism Jersey and others.  Can the Minister give the reassurance that some of these projects will not be affected by the situation we are all in?

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

Thank you, Deputy, for your question.  Obviously what was set out in the Government Plan for certainly 2021 and onwards has been, as the Deputy will know, completely affected by the COVID situation.  Those capital projects personally I am very keen to pursue but, as I mentioned in an earlier question, obviously the hospital has got to take priority and we will look at whether, if we borrow for the hospital, we extend the borrowing beyond that if we borrow to take in more capital projects and, as you say, clarity of expectations.  So we will look at all of that when we have a plan of how much we borrow or where we get the money from.

4.1.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Can the Minister point to any casualties of the Government Plan that she will be disappointed to see fall by the wayside because of the situation we find ourselves in?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think I mentioned in my first answer to the Deputy a lot of the capital projects are on hold, which is very disappointing for everybody because there has been a complete lack of input into infrastructure over quite a period of time, and we could take Fort Regent as an example.  It would be, in my view, very important to get on with those sort of projects.  The Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources, Senator Gorst, mentioned yesterday that there is going to be the use of some of the dormant bank accounts to support that.

4.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

Would the Minister for Treasury and Resources please advise the Assembly as to the amount of government funds that were spent on procuring goods and services from off-Island businesses in 2019?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I suspect this is related to the Deputys Proposition later on today in which case I have the figures for that but I cannot access them right at this very moment, but I can give the Deputy the figures in the Proposition debate, P.56.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

I believe we have been here already this morning.  The fact is the Minister has the figures and really should give them to me now as the question has been asked now.  Todays later debate is irrelevant.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, that is right but only if she has the figures and I got the impression from the answer of the Minister that she had difficulty laying her hands on them at the moment, perhaps for technological reasons.  Minister, perhaps you can explain the position because the Deputy is right, prima facie you are obliged to answer the question concisely and in relevant terms, which means responding to the question that has been asked?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I quite agree and I have gone through a flutter of papers and found the figures.  In 2018 the on-Island spend was £131,579,949.70, off-Island was £49,905,764, which was 27 per cent.  For 2019, which of course is the last figure that we have, on Island was £168,858,810 spend which was 70 per cent, and off Island was £73,077, 291 which was 30 per cent, while the total for 2019 was £241,936,101.

4.3Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Given the fact that many people urgently need the tax rebates they are entitled to because of current circumstances with COVID-19, when does the Minister estimate that repayment of rebate will be completed?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

As I think most of the Assembly, if not all, will realise there has been a huge amount of change for Revenue Jersey moving to online tax filing and we are working through it and we are almost at the end of the 2019 tax issues.  The Revenue Jersey team are so busy with trying to work out a possible change from prior year tax to current year tax, the independent or married womans tax is also part of the equation so I cannot give you an exact date but I think will all be completed by the end of 2019.

4.3.1Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Given the fact that many of us have made our tax returns online, if you make a return online do you not get an immediate calculation of how much tax is estimated to be due?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, that is the idea because the online tax return, as the Senator will know if she has used it, jumps a lot of the questions that do not apply to you.  It does give a much easier access for online with less complication but there is still many of them to be processed, but we were very pleased with the take-up of the online returns.

4.4Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Does the Minister believe that our S. & P. (Standard & Poors) rating will be downgraded in July and does she believe that such a downgrade may affect any future borrowing?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Thank you, Deputy.  We are sincerely hoping it will not be downgraded.  It is very, very good at the moment but it is largely dependent on what happens with the U.K. unfortunately.  We have a very strong economy so I am hoping it will not be but obviously do not know until July.  Sorry, there was a second part of the question, and would it affect our borrowing.  Again, I think I answered earlier a question, we are considered a very safe sovereign state for borrowing at the moment but I think Deputy Ahier is quite right that if S. & P. downgrade our rating then that could make a difference.  It should not do because we have quite a lot of reserve.

4.5Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

The £500 million revolving credit facility has a cost of £4 million in arrangement and commitment fees, even if the facility is not used.  Would the Minister agree that such costs could prevent us from taking advantage of potentially cheaper forms of funding during the minimum 2-year period of the loan?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

All this was obviously very well-researched before we took it out and the reason for doing a revolving credit facility is that we can have drawdown immediately for what we require.  We may not require it and I am not quite sure what the Connétable meant by saying there was a £400 million facility fee.  Could he explain where that came from?

The Connétable of St. Peter:

There is £4 million in arrangement and commitment fees, even if the facility is not used.  There is a cost for not using it.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I do not want to contradict the Connétable by saying I do not think it was that high but because of the confidentiality agreements with the 5 banks with whom we have made the arrangement I cannot say exactly what it is but it was slightly less than what the Connétable was saying.

The Connétable of St. Peter:

I actually got the information from one of your papers where it clearly states that the 2 figures combined, those are the fees, are £4 million and £50,000. 

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, sorry, the 2 figures.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Through the Chair, Connétable, but, Minister, please answer the question if you can.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, sorry, I was only looking and one of the figures, you are right if you put them together that was it.  But from that point of view we have the facility to drawdown, as we say, for a minimum of 2 years and with an extension of one year and then one more year.  But we can close all of those down at any time.

4.6Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I ask the Minister for Treasury and Resources, will she reassure the residents of St. Helier District No. 2 that the youth facilities so desperately needed and agreed will not be a casualty given the positive impact it will have on recovery?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I am not quite sure what desperate facilities the Deputy is talking about.  Can he explain or elaborate, please?

[11:45]

Deputy R.J. Ward:

It is the youth facility agreed in the Common Strategic Policy for St. Helier District No. 2, which has already started the planning for.  I am just worried that this capital project should not be lost in the flurry of reaction to the COVID-19 situation.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I understand the Deputys concern.  We cannot make any guarantees but obviously there are a huge amount of demands on Treasury for support, for instance the LibertyBus, all the things that have been agreed.  We cannot keep doing everything all at once, but all schemes that have been put into the equation will be looked at.  I think the schemes for St. Helier and the Deputy mentioned the youth scheme, which I was very supportive of, I hope will go ahead but I cannot give a timeframe.

4.6.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Can I ask the Minister that when the consideration is made would she please include Deputies in St. Helier and let us put a strong case?  Because there is importance for this in such a high population density and it has been missed so many times, it would be such a shame if was to be missed again.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Of course I will.  As I said in my earlier answer just now, that I was very supportive of that scheme in the first place and, of course, will give it due consideration and include the relevant Deputies.

4.7Deputy M. Tadier:

Is the Minister for Treasury and Resources and her department still committed to the Common Strategic Policy No. 4 to reduce income inequality and improve the standard of living of all Islanders? If so, what mechanisms does she envisage post-COVID to achieve this?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

It is very difficult to get post-COVID at the moment, which the Deputy is asking but because of COVID we have tried very hard to make sure that there is no income inequality with the deferment of G.S.T. (goods and services tax) and social security contributions, the introduction of the payroll scheme, the extension of the payroll scheme, which has been announced today, and we are doing all we can to make sure that nobody is left out of this.  There is a huge amount of excess in benefit claims and we are dealing with all of those.  So I do not think there is any way we have missed income inequality.

Deputy M. Tadier:

May I ask a supplementary? 

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, you can.  I was very hesitant because I want to make sure other people get a chance to ask their questions, but, yes, you may.

4.7.1Deputy M. Tadier:

Thank you.  The Minister will be aware from her own constituency in St. Clement that there is still a big social and financial divide.  Will she give her reassurance to those who may be feeling the pinch at the moment, notwithstanding some government support that is available, that in the future and before the next election they will see a tangible improvement in their standard of living where they currently do not necessarily have that?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I do question the Deputys question because he referred to St. Clement.  We have a huge amount of social housing in St. Clement and although in some peoples view it is becoming an extension of St. Helier, in my capacity as Minister for Social Security the Deputy will know that I was always very keen to reduce inequality, both socially and financially, hence the extraordinarily supportive social security system that we have.

4.8Senator K.L. Moore:

The Minister has announced that she wishes to move those two-thirds of taxpayers who are currently paying the prior year rate on to the current year basis during the space of this crisis.  Has the Minister now decided how she is going to effect the repayments of the prior year when this happens?  If not, when will she tell people how she will ask them to make that payment?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think I have already said both to the Scrutiny Panel and publicly that we are working on it.  As I say, the Revenue Jersey team are very pressed with everything that is happening at the moment.  We are working on moving from a prior year basis to a current year basis.  As the Senator will know because of her relationship with Scrutiny, this would be done with a movement to the current year basis for 2021, which would include 2020 prior year basis taxpayers.  Now, the idea is that we would freeze 2019 payments because a lot of people would not be able to afford to pay 2019 because their income may have fallen, not necessarily but may have fallen in 2020 because of the COVID situation.  It would all be done very carefully, very individually and making sure that people could make repayments possibly over 2 or 3 years so they would not be out of pocket.

4.8.1Senator K.L. Moore:

I did ask the Minister to tell us when that decision will be made and communicated to the public, please, to ensure that there is clarity and does not cause additional concern to taxpayers.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Well, as the Senator will know, there have been quite a few interviews over this in the past few weeks and I have been very clear that we are working on it, we would hope to bring a Proposition for debate in the autumn but obviously States Members will know about it before then.  There is not an actual timeframe at the moment because there is so much work going on.  I would like to not lose sight of the independent taxation, the married womans tax, which, as the Assembly will know, I am extremely keen to get forward.  So it might be both put together to the Assembly in the autumn, I cannot give a date, but it will mean a change in the finance law as well.

4.9Deputy I. Gardiner:

I would like to ask the Minister to go back to Senator Fergusons question as residents submitted their tax returns early and usually they receive a rebate that is already calculated in February.  I am aware that the rebate that used to be paid in February still has not been paid.  We are talking about 4 months delay.  Can the Minister advise when the rebate - peoples money and they need this cash flow now - will be paid to them?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

First of all, nobody is going to be out of pocket if they have overpaid, it is just processing it and, of course, processing the online is being done in weeks.  If it is a paper return then, of course, it has to be dealt with manually which takes a lot longer but nobody will be left out of pocket, it is just that Revenue Jersey, as I said in answer to Senator Ferguson, is seriously under pressure with the amount of change that they have had to do and the amount of processing of manual returns that have still happened.

5.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Chief Minister

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you very much.  The second period of questions without notice will now begin with questions for the Chief Minister and the first question is from Connétable of St. Helier.

5.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

The Chief Minister will be aware that the clapping for carers that has been taking place on Thursday evenings in which many of us have been participating in has now come to a close.  I wanted to ask the Chief Minister going forward, what steps is he going to take to show the appreciation of the States Assembly and of the people of Jersey for all of our front line workers, particularly the health professionals but also those working in care homes and in every front line service where staff have put themselves in harms way and worked above and beyond?  What steps does he think we should be taking as a community to show our ongoing appreciation to the staff?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

Yes, I do regret the stopping of the clap for carers on Thursdays but I think that is where we are in terms of dealing with the health crisis.  Yet again, and to absolutely endorse the comments by the Connétable, we should all be very, very thankful for everybodys efforts in bringing us through this crisis so far.  In terms of recognition, I am hoping a note was sent to all States Members which was something that - if it has not been - is around formal recognition of absolute individuals who have contributed during this very difficult time and if it has not been sent I will make sure a note is sent around.  Secondly, it is in our thinking as to how we do do some form of recognition for all of the absolute endeavours that have gone on in the Island, in our community to help Islanders in coming through.  I cannot give specifics at this stage but I do agree with him that we should be doing something during the course of this year.

5.1.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

I am sure many of these staff would still have quite close memories of the pay negotiations and other employment related difficulties they had pre-COVID.  Will the Minister encourage the S.E.B. to think very carefully about remuneration of these workers going forward?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

That is obviously going to be a matter for the S.E.B. and it will be absolutely taking account of where we are and what all our financial challenges will be going forward.  Just to be really clear, the pay awards for 2020 were agreed and it is obviously in general there were all sorts of variations in there but in general it was R.P.I. (Retail Price Index) plus 1.3 per cent and in certain elements there were gainshare.  So for 2020, as I was saying at the end of last year and beginning of this year, we were very much now on the front foot for pay negotiations rather than dealing with something in arrears.  Obviously looking forward, I do expect anything around the remuneration to start looking at things like the gender pay gap, like the equal pay for equal value and all those type of areas that we do address so we end up with a fair pay system going forward for all employees.

5.2The Deputy of St. Peter:

I am looking at the makeup of the political oversight group for economic recovery and I sense a glaring omission in the external advisers.  There is no one there representing digital in any form whatsoever.  Given the importance of it for our Island going forward I was wondering if the Chief Minister would explain that or maybe it is just an oversight that he would like to correct?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Yes, only because the Deputy is … when I say looking in the wrong place, he is looking at the piece of information he has been given, which is the public record for the political oversight group.  What is in the process of being created at the moment is the Economic Council which sits underneath it, and he is absolutely correct, there does need to be representation from the digital industry in there.  I will only be confirming the membership of that group once all members have confirmed, that is not yet the case.  But there is representation at the Economic Council which will report into the P.O.G. and is essentially where a lot of the main work will be happening around the economic recovery.  I do absolutely agree with him in terms of the importance of the digital industry going forward in terms of our future economic recovery.

5.2.1The Deputy of St. Peter:

Given the Chief Ministers acceptance of the importance can I ask him to escalate somebody to represent digital to the top table and not be in a subsidiary team?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I would absolutely refute the fact that the Economic Council is a subsidiary team.  Essentially the externals around the P.O.G. are to give overall economic and wider commentary as to where and what we need to be doing but the detailed individual actions and promotion, et cetera, that we need to be doing for the economic recovery, a lot of that will come out of the Economic Council and therefore I think the representation for the digital industries is at the right level but I am happy to talk him through that separately.

[12:00]

5.3The Connétable of Grouville:

On 5th May on Radio Jersey the Chief Minister said, and I have the transcript in front of me but it is rather longwinded so I will paraphrase what he said, that basically the virus would have to go through the population until 80 per cent of the population had contracted it and it was desirable for that to happen before the onset of the normal increase in hospital activity which starts in October or November.  Does the Chief Minister still expect that the virus will go through the majority of the population by October or November?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Certainly as I think I have alluded to in the past, and I think I said it in one of the debates within the Assembly, that obviously what we were saying in April and early May was based on the information, particularly in April, that we were receiving at that time.  Where we are now is obviously a very different position.  I will say that there is still ... I will not say an underlying concern, that is probably too strong a word, that when we get into the winter months that there will be other pressures on the health service as we would normally see and therefore it would not, in my view, be desirable, if we can avoid it, for COVID to be obviously rearing its head again at that point, insofar as we are able to control it.  Until there is a vaccine it is likely that the virus will slowly spread through the Island.  At what speed, I do not know at this stage and we will see what the updated medical advice based on the updated research is.  To date, we have controlled it very, very well and that is why we are in the position of being able to ease the restrictions we have had and, again, I thank Islanders for everything they have done in enabling us to deal with the crisis in the way we have done, of which I think we should be very proud.

5.3.1The Connétable of Grouville:

There are very few cases at the moment, we are not sure what will happen after going to stage 3 but it is likely that we will be going to stage 2 and hopefully to stage 1 at some point in the summer, maybe late summer, and at that point the number of cases of the virus are likely to increase.  So the exact thing that the Chief Minister was worried about may well take place that we may have more cases in the winter months certainly than we have now.  How worried is he that that might happen?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

There are 2 important things to make sure that Members and anybody from the public listening take away from this.  Number one is in the time that we bought over the last few weeks we have significantly boosted up the testing and tracing regimes.   So we now have at least 55 people in the contract tracing area and we have vast amounts of testing going on.  I think we are at 7,000 P.C.R. tests, if I remember correctly, at the moment.  That means that our capacity is now at 500 a day roughly and is an average of about 3,500 a week, so there has been a significant improvement there.  The importance of that is that we are then able to monitor with all the other statistical stuff that has been put in place and the monitoring that has been put place, we should be able to monitor and easily identify if cases increase.  Do not forget it is very much around maintaining control and keeping those cases low.  It is not about keeping them at zero because that is a different strategy.  This is about controlling things as we go forward.

5.4Senator K.L. Moore:

Could the Chief Minister outline what conversations and considerations the States Employment Board have given to cutting their costs in future, for example, in reviewing the amount of money spent on legal fees or travel and subsistence allowances?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Specifically on that, in the last few weeks, to my knowledge or to my memory, nothing specific.  What I will say is that firstly, particularly around travel costs, they have obviously been rather low at the moment since nobody has been able to travel in and out of the Island.  It has not been a priority at the top of the agenda.  Going forward, we know that we will have financial challenges ahead and it will be incumbent on all of us to demonstrate that we are delivering further value for money.  That is where I think the restructurings that have taken place to date have proved their worth.  I also make the point, looking ahead, we still have the ageing demographic issue within our own workforce and that means, I think, around, in the next 10 years, 2,000 people in the workforce are due to retire and we will have to manage that.  All of those areas, and the areas that the Senator has referred to, will need to be wrapped up into future deliberations.

5.5Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Will the Chief Minister use the States Communications Team to educate the under-50s that they are not bullet proof and can contract the COVID-19 virus?  I raise this matter because new evidence coming from the United States, in the state of Seattle, reports by early May 39 per cent of confirmed cases state wise were among the people aged 20 to 39, while those 19 and younger accounted for 11 per cent.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will ensure that information, if they are not already aware of, which I suspect they probably are, is fed back into the S.T.A.C.[5]  If there is a view that from a risk perspective that is something we should be concentrating on I am very happy to do so.  What I will say is obviously the general message, which is for the entire population, is around maintaining the physical distancing and around maintaining the personal hygiene - that means the handwashing and it means catching coughs and sneezes in your elbow or in a tissue - and I reiterate that now again for anybody who is listening because those have been the fundamental, if you like, foundations of the strategy that we have been going through with.  Specifically to the Deputys comments, I am very happy to ensure that has been forwarded through to S.T.A.C.  If he would be happy to send me any direct links I would read those with interest.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

I will send the information to the Chief Minister and I have no supplementary.  Thank you.

5.6Deputy R.J. Ward:

I would like to go back to the Economic Council, if I can, and ask the Chief Minister: what criteria did he use for inclusion on this council?  Who are the people involved in the selection and how did he test, if you like, the political learnings of those involved to see where we may well be going?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

The political learnings of the individuals on there I genuinely do not know because generally for an economic council it has been across the members of industry, the representatives of the various economic sectors.  So, for example, we will have somebody in from agriculture, we will have somebody in from hospitality and we will obviously be having somebody in from digital.  What their political leanings are I do not know because they are generally there for either the representation from the industry sector or from a particular skill set that they may bring to the equation.  What I will also say is do not forget this is not just the only focus for what I call wider recovery, part of that starts later, either today or tomorrow with the in-committee debate, for all States Members just to give a very early and upfront view of their perspective of what we should be doing.  Also there will be other engagement forums which will encompass other areas that may not have been caught by the Economic Council.

5.6.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Can I ask the Minister first to ensure that good notice is given to any consultation that is going on and inclusion and, second, that it includes representatives of those working on the front line of all of the industries and services that will be so crucial to our economic recovery?  The same people who have been so crucial to getting through the current emergency.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

In terms of the notice, I will do my very best to ensure we get as much consultation as we can.  What I will just say is that whereas in the past, for example if you look at 2005 and to an extent 2008 when we had some quite significant changes in the financial ways that we raise revenues, we had quite a lot of lead in time in terms of probably years, plural.  Whereas what we are dealing with this year is probably more weeks and months.  So our timeframes in there will be compressed and that is what we are acting under.  We have been acting at pace all the way through.  Although the direction of travel will change I suspect the volume of work and the pace of work probably will not, certainly for the foreseeable future.  In terms of consultation, as I said, according to what the impacts are, there will have to be wider consultation with relevant groups.

6.Questions to Ministers without notice

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you, that completes the second period of 15 minutes and in respect of those 2 Members who were not reached, I will, if I may, call you first when we come to the next question session.  The next matter on the Order Paper, as you know, is questions without notice to all Ministers for which one hour is allowed.  Could Members please indicate in the chat channel that they wish to ask to a question and to which Minister they wish to address that question to?  Otherwise the default position will be that the Chief Minister will be assigned to answer the question but he may in turn delegate the question to the appropriate Minister.  I will call those Members asking a first question and then if times allow I will go back to Members once everyone has had a chance to ask one question, for the opportunity to pose a second question to a Minister.  The first Member is Deputy Morel, who either has a question for the Minister for External Relations or the Chief Minister.  Perhaps you can indicate when you ask the question, Deputy Morel?

6.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

For the Minister for External Relations.  What conversations has the Minister for External Relations had with French authorities at either a local, departmental, regional or national level with regard to aligning border control processes to enable travel between Jersey and St. Malo?

Senator I.J. Gorst (The Minister for External Relations):

Yes, I have had conversations at regional level with the president of the Department of La Manche and they have been translated up to Paris.  It is far too early to say what the results of those conversations will be.  Officials, likewise, have had conversations with their counterparts as well.

6.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

My question asked about St. Malo so discussions with La Manche may not be the most relevant discussions, with Ille-et-Vilaine or La Bretagne may be more relevant.  Has the Minister spoken to anybody who is relevantly politically related to St. Malo?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

As the Deputy will realise, a willing partner who is prepared to intercede at the highest level of national government is of great value.  The conversation that I have had with political representatives of La Manche I think is of great value and therefore is extremely relevant.  If we simply take the 14-day quarantine, which is currently being applied to U.K. nationals, positive conversations in Paris are very useful wherever they emanate from.  Of course the Deputy is also aware that both the Chief Minister and myself have had virtual meetings with the president of Ille-et-Vilaine as well.

6.2Deputy J.H. Perchard:

In his response to the Constable of Grouville, the Chief Minister stated that the virus is likely to spread throughout the community.  Would he not agree that the likelihood of any specific level of community spread is dictated by the control measures we choose to adopt?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

I think the emphasis I would say is that it is likely to transmit slowly through the community.  The difficulty we have got in all of these ... and the Deputy hopefully will be delighted to see we are intending to be lodging the reports that her Proposition, as amended, that was adopted by the States 2 weeks ago I believe, will be hopefully lodged tomorrow in accordance with that Proposition.

[12:15]

I think there is a recognition that until there is a vaccine it comes down to the overall health and well-being of the Island and therefore it will transmit slowly through the … it is likely to transmit slowly through the Island because that is just a matter of, as I understand it, biological fact.  The concerns have always been the balance of the impact of COVID-19 versus the overall well-being of the Island, which includes mental health and the significant negative consequences that were coming through from being in what I refer to as lockdown.  That is why we felt it is also very, very important for the overall well-being to be easing the measures in the way we are easing them.

6.2.1Deputy J.H. Perchard:

It was a very good answer given by the Chief Minister but it was not actually an answer to the question posed.  The question was: does he not agree that the likelihood of any specific level of community spread is dictated by the control measures we choose to adopt?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sorry, I suppose I took that as a bit of a given in terms of I believe we do have strong controls in place.  As I have alluded to in one of my earlier answers, that has included the much improved testing and tracing regimes, which hopefully then will enable us to identify issues if they do arise and the further levels of enforcement measures that we have obviously put in place.  I reiterate the point that to date it has been done well with the brilliant co-operation of Islanders, for whom I thank for all their co-operation.  The focus has to remain, as well, on the overall well-being of the Island and also the negative consequences or balancing of the negative consequences of the measures that we did put in place for dealing with the health crisis when it was taking place.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Point of order, Sir?  I am sorry we covered this ground earlier but can you just repeat for me the obligations of the respondent in terms of their answer to the question?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Standing Order 65 deals with it in some detail, but in summary the response should be concise and directly relevant to the question asked.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

If I may maintain my point of order, this question requires a yes or no answer, Sir, and I do not feel that the answer given is relevant.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Could you expand upon that slightly?

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Of course.  The question asked about the correlation between the control measures we implement and the likely rate of spread.  In other words, are control measures used to influence the rate of spread is the essence of the question and the answer given does not answer that at all.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Certainly the first answer did not.  Chief Minister, can you give a very concise response to that question that you have been posed?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sorry, I thought I had said at the very beginning that I thought the spread of the virus through the Island was a biological fact and, therefore, it would be a measure of the controls that we have in place.  Then I said that we also had to balance off within this the various measures we take in the overall well-being of the Island as well as the impacts of COVID-19.  I hope that is concise.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  You have the answer, Deputy Perchard, and that is the answer that the Chief Minister has given.

6.3The Connétable of St. Helier:

A question for the Minister for Infrastructure, who knows that I support the closure of Broad Street for reasons of safety, physical distancing and also to allow businesses to exploit the extra space to survive.  However, he will be aware that there have been complaints about the removal of the bus stop and he will also be aware that advice from the bus company says that to have a central bus stop so that the buses could come down Conway Street and escape up Library Place, for example, and Church Street would add too much time to the journey.  Does the Minister not agree with me that the length of a bus journey is irrelevant if the stop is convenient and that there are many Islanders, particularly the elderly, using the precinct shops that would really appreciate the buses coming in down Conway Street and stopping near the Pierre Le Sueur Obelisk or by the banks?

Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour (The Minister for Infrastructure):

I thank the Constable for his kind comments.  I am more than happy to speak to LibertyBus again regarding this.  The high concentration of passengers getting on the bus in the area was, for obvious reasons, something that we are trying to avoid because it is difficult for social distancing but I am more than happy to speak to LibertyBus again regarding alternate routes.

6.3.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

The Minister will be aware that there are a large number of local businesses that are seeking al fresco facilities because of the importance of maintaining trade and restarting their businesses, particularly in the hospitality but also the retail sectors.  Will he undertake to support the many applications as far as physically possible in order to support local businesses?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, indeed.  Second to public safety, which is why we closed Broad Street in the first place, we are very keen to assist business in St. Helier to open up again and we would hope to process any applications that come through as soon as possible.  It is with the legal team at the moment to sort out all the paperwork.

6.4Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

I have repeatedly asked the Minister for the Environment and other Ministers to consider a package of financial aid for the fishing industry during these hugely difficult times for them where they have almost no export market.   The Minister first spoke to his officers about this on 12th March.  Can he report any progress?

Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade (The Minister for the Environment):

I thank the Deputy for his question.  As he knows, Deputy Guida and myself have kept the Deputy fully informed right the way throughout our process, but I am pleased to report we are now at the very final stage.  The scheme that has been in the system for a  little while now, I understand from the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture that it now has his report and I can expect to have a decision hopefully approving that if not today then in the very, very near future.  I think that is going to be really important because, as the Deputy knows, we need to ensure that our fishing fleet is able to keep its boats in the water, safe and ready to go to sea when conditions allow.  If we do not do that we will not have a fishing industry.

6.4.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

I thank the Minister for his answer.  Can he assure me or give me some comfort that he has the backing of other senior Ministers around the Council table?

Deputy J.H. Young:

I have raised this twice at the Council of Ministers.  On 26th March I raised the question about having a tailored scheme for our fishing industry and there was support on that day.  I think if there has been a delay and an issue since then it is ensuring that the package of proceeds, the details, which is a very, very modest support scheme, somehow has got locked into the States machinery.  That is something I think we will need to sort out later but I am very confident today, after Senator Farnham has made that commitment to me personally this morning, that we can expect that approval and that will be very good news for our fishermen.

6.5Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I would like to refer to some medical advice that was contained within a press release, which I think was sent on Friday last week.  The advice from Dr. Susan Turnbull within that press release stated that COVID-19 is less easily spread by children than adults.  Is the Minister for Health and Social Services aware that this advice is directly contrary to the advice that he was quoting during the P.66 debate last week?  Can he comment on this, please?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

All I can say is that the world is learning more and more daily about how this virus behaves.  What I said during the debate was what I understood at the time and recent research has clearly led the medical officer of health to make the comments that she made during the press conference.

6.5.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Would the Minister agree to revisit P.66 and its application to children given that the medical advice has now changed?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The medical advice that led to the adoption of P.66 has not changed.  It is still appropriate to have those measures, but I am required expressly by the regulations that were approved to keep them under review.  They are constantly under review and we are in almost constant contact with the medical officer of health and members of S.T.A.C., so this is always under consideration.

6.6Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

I would ask the Minister for Health and Social Services, we were advised that from yesterday passengers arriving on the Blue Islands lifeline flights have been given the option to take part in a trial testing programme for COVID-19 as they arrive in Jersey.  Would the Minister consider that it would be reasonable in addition to invite passengers who arrived in the same way within the last 14 days to participate in this testing regime, given that the numbers will be relatively low and that those involved will be very grateful to receive permission not to self-isolate if the tests are satisfactory?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I suppose I can understand the reasoning behind the question and the desire that some might have not to endure isolation but it has to be a question of capacity to conduct the tests and there has to be a start date.  There has to be a time when they were not being run and a time when we have started the pilot.  It was not part of the pilot that we would operate retrospectively and I do not believe it is planned, so we are asking those who have arrived before the pilot was in place still to self-isolate.

6.6.1The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Could I ask that the Minister ask his officers whether it could be achieved to deal with this retrospectively, given that the numbers will be low and that we have an automatic cut-off date, being 14 days before yesterday?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I will take it up with officers.  It will be a question of capacity and also this is a pilot so I would not want that work to impinge on the reporting from the pilot and our robust study of it to enable us to plan going forward.  But I will raise the question and I will come back to the Connétable.[6]

6.7Deputy T. Pointon of St. John:

Minister, how many essential workers have been allowed into the Island and have not been required to self-isolate for 14 days?

[12:30]

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I regret I do not have that figure.  I presume the Deputy means from the very first dates that the airlines ceased to operate or that we began the Blue Islands service.  I do not have the number.  I will ask for it and get back to the Deputy.[7]

6.7.1The Deputy of St. John:

In addition, of those people arriving, is it not the case that people who may be infected are allowed to travel from the airport by public transport?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I believe that is the case, that we do not provide transport to get to their place of isolation.

6.8Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Since horse racing resumed in the U.K. in Newcastle yesterday, will the Minister advise the Assembly when betting offices will be allowed to reopen with suitable social distancing rules being applied?

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

Originally betting shops were classed in the group of leisure activity but I can confirm today that following discussion with officers they have now been reclassified as retail outlets and can reopen prior to 12th June.  The Government webpage has been updated accordingly and the sector will be informed as soon as possible.  This is, of course, subject to them adhering to the strict retail safety guidelines.

6.8.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

When the Minister says prior to the 12th, does he have a specific day in mind?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

It is with immediate effect, so booking shops can open.  They have been reclassified as small retail outlets so can reopen within those guidelines with immediate effect.

Deputy S.M. Ahier:

This will be most welcome news and I thank the Minister for his response.

6.9Deputy R.J. Ward:

I ask this question so I can give reassurance to an elderly neighbour of mine.  Short of a look online for advice, what would the Minister say to this lady who is shielding with regards to when she can see and interact with her grandchildren?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

We will be lodging our revised strategy tomorrow, as required by the recent debate we had.  We will also be putting out further, more detailed guidance for vulnerable and truly vulnerable residents, which I hope will be able to help the Deputy’s constituent.  I think he has asked me what I might sayI would really urge his constituent to consult with her G.P. as to what might be the best for her in her specific situation.

6.9.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

I thank the Minister for that answer.  I just want him to understand that there are so many elderly people there who are really unsure in the current climate and are uncertain as to what to do.  I would make a plea for more help to be given and more direct guidance to be given to individuals who we can find around our communities in order to reassure them rather than having to go to their G.P.s all the time.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

There are avenues that people can use to seek help, whether practical help or health-related issues, including financial health or issues around well-being.  Those are all well-publicised.  At the end of the day it is for each person to manage their medical condition, if it is a long-term illness that they are suffering from, in conjunction with the professionals who care for them, which would be in the main their G.P. or maybe perhaps the Diabetes Centre in some cases or similar, or the charities that may have been offering them support over the long term.  We will put out as much guidance as we can but there are many other sources to which people can turn.

6.10Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat of St. Helier:

Moving forward to when the Island starts to allow travel both via ports as in the airport and the harbour, will the Minister advise as to when a testing facility will be considered for the harbour in order that there are links opened up to the rest of Europe and not only the U.K.?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

That is under consideration and we are considering how we might do that.  Much of the talk has been about the pilot at the airport but we are moving forward thinking about how to open up the harbour also.  That work is being done by officers on the direction of MinistersI have not seen the detail of how it might be implemented yet but work is being done.

6.10.1Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat:

I know that work is being done but is there any sort of timescale?  I appreciate that we are not at this stage but I would want to have some sort of idea of the timescale of how long this work will take.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

There is no fixed time as yet.  We have first to receive the results of the pilot at the airport and then we will need to consider the conclusions from that and the report on what measures might be put in place to scale up operations, if that is deemed appropriate, at both the airport and the harbour.  There is no timetable around this as yet but officers are working as quickly as they can but safely.

6.11Connétable S.A. Le Sueur-Rennard of St. Saviour:

The Minister went on a bike ride around Holland and was very impressed with everything and I would just like to know in Holland are they allowed to go up and down roads and just ignore the highway code?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I was in the Netherlands for a few days on a fact-finding trip some months ago in Delft and Utrecht and it was on special cycling areas and I also attended the cycling academy, which was very informative.  As I understood the Constable’s question, there are special lanes where people have to obey the law so, no, you cannot cycle on pavements or the wrong up a one-way street.

6.11.1The Connétable of St. Saviour:

It is not your fault, Deputy, but that was so inaudible.  What I would like to know is here we are encouraging people to ride cycles but they have no idea about the highway code, they have no idea about insurance.  If they are selling cycles to people, could they also sell them the highway code, please, or even give it to them?  The cyclists do not seem to understand and I just wondered if Holland allowed people to go all over the place.  I am sorry, I never understood a word that you said in that last reply to me.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Would it be helpful, Connétable, if the Minister was to provide a written response later on today to your oral questions?

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

That would be lovely, Sir.  I would be very, very grateful and if he could distribute it to everybody not just myself.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I have moved location, Sir.  Does that help?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Minister, I am afraid I cannot hear you at all now, but are you happy to provide - perhaps you can nod because we can see your face - a written response to those questions?  You were asked, firstly, about the Dutch highway code and, secondly, if the highway code could be provided free to cyclists.

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

Yes.  I do not want a guided tour round Holland.  I just want an answer to my question.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, the highway code is very similar in various countries and it is a matter of law that people must not cycle the wrong way up one-way streets unless there is signage to say they can.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Are you content to answer this in writing, Minister?  You are, yes?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Indeed, Sir.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Connétable, just clarify what precisely are the questions you want answered?

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

I just wanted to know that in Holland, which seems to be a guiding line, if they had a highway code or if, like here, they were allowed to go wherever they wanted, up, down, round, and do whatever they wanted.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Did you also want to know about the highway code being provided free to cyclists?

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

Yes, Sir, I did.  I think it would be very useful.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I can be blamed for lots of things but not Holland, but I am more than happy to put it in writing to answer those questions.[8]

6.12Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I always wondered what it was like presenting in the Eurovision Song Contest, but I think I have just experienced it.  It is National Volunteers Week, a great opportunity to give thanks to the amazing volunteering efforts over the last couple of months and continually across this Island.  I think this question is for the Chief Minister but I am happy for him to defer to the Minister for External Relations.  A lot of the volunteering efforts are supporting our charities, many of them obviously also affected by this pandemic.  Can he outline what extra support, financial or whatever, is being put forward as we go through the next couple of months?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will send that to the Minister for External Relations who signed an order on this either yesterday or on Friday, which is that essentially we are using the dormant accounts scheme to provide some funding, but hopefully Senator Gorst can give the details on that.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

As I announced yesterday, I have signed an order that was shared with the Scrutiny Panel, I think on Friday morning, by my officials, which will allow in the first instance for a distribution of £2 million from the dormant bank accounts.  We may draw that down in tranches.  That will be provided to an independent allocations body, as is required under the law, and they will seek bids in due course, particularly for those charities and the voluntary sector who have been providing services throughout this particular crisis.

6.12.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I thank Senator Gorst for his answer.  Could he clarify some further information around the dormant bank accounts and how this will be used?  Obviously some of the money, as we have talked about previously, was to support the commissioner in his role.  How is this all going to work and play out?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

The £2 million is in addition to the money that the law sets aside for the commissioner.  The commissioner’s amount is currently I think about £250,000.  That provides for the commission, the commission’s officer and support.  This is in addition to that, which will go directly to the charitable sector, as I said, distributed via an independent body as the law provides for.

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

The Deputy Bailiff:

I note that it is 12.44 p.m.  We are precisely halfway through this allocated question time section.  The adjournment is proposed.  Is the adjournment seconded? [Seconded]  Accordingly, unless any other Member wishes to address us on this issue, the States stands adjourned until 2.15 p.m.

[12:45]

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

[14:33]

The Deputy Bailiff:

Before we resume, I would like to thank on behalf of all of you the staff of the Greffe and those that advise them in relation to the extraordinary efforts that they are making to make this digital Parliament happen.  One of them tried to apologise to me.  I said: “You really do not need to” because it is quite astonishing what they have achieved, and I am sure you all agree with that sentiment.  I would like to make that point publicly.  Deputy Truscott, would you like to repeat your question to the Minister for Health and Social Services?

6.13Deputy G.J. Truscott:

Yes, indeed.  Could the Minister for Health and Social Services update the Assembly as to what progress has been made in selecting an appropriate contact and trace mobile app?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I am pleased to answer that question and use the wording of the questioner, to “select” an appropriate app.  That is work that is going on now to consider what is the most appropriate because it seems we will have a choice between apps that Google or Apple are in the course of developing, or we might be able to join with the N.H.S. (National Health Service) app.  So, we are carefully monitoring developments across all of those.  Meanwhile, our manual testing and tracking and tracing is continuing and is very effective, and that will continue even if we were to choose to use an app.  That is a very effective method of tracing down contacts.

6.13.1Deputy G.J. Truscott:

If we are to contain the spread of COVID-19 and open up our borders, does the Minister for Health and Social Services agree that at the very least the app would prove an invaluable virus containment tool and would he consider making the use of such an app mandatory for Islanders and visitors alike?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

An app will have its uses.  It is not the complete answer to everything.  I would not presently believe it should be made mandatory for anybody, but we are not at that stage where we need to deal with those questions and, no doubt, we will be receiving advice on the best means to proceed in due course.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  Deputy Southern, you had a question but before the chat closed I failed to note who it is for, so could you please indicate who your question is for?

6.14Deputy G.P. Southern:

It is for the Minister for Health and Social Services, he will be pleased to know.  The Minister has been promoting the Jersey Care model as the way to best deliver primary care and healthcare on the Island.  Does he have a business plan in his possession and could he share it with Scrutiny and the rest of the Assembly?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

We have progressed the care model by asking PwC to stress test it and PwC have now reported.  The Scrutiny Panel has received that report in confidence and is considering it for the purposes of its review, and I am very grateful that they are conducting a review because we want to collaborate with this for the benefit of Islanders.  We will be considering how to progress the work of the care model and when to widen the debate, including a debate in the Assembly.

6.14.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

It is actually a repeat of the question that has not been answered.  Does the Minister have a worked-out business plan to show how much better, cheaper, it would be than carrying on as normal and, if not, why not?  Where is it?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

There is much data and information about that in the PwC report and we will be working to develop those sorts of questions as our plans move forward.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

Sir, the Minister appears to indicate that he has not read the report because there is very little in there about the financing.

The Deputy Bailiff:

You have had your supplementary question, I think possibly twice owing to an error on my part, and if there is time you can always come back ...

Deputy G.P. Southern:

It is the same question 3 times.

The Deputy Bailiff:

... and ask further questions towards the end.  Deputy Morel, you have a question for the chair of P.P.C. (Privileges and Procedures Committee), I think?

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Absolutely.  It was to ask ...

The Deputy Bailiff:

Forgive me, I am reminded that this is only ministerial questions permitted.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

That is right, that is why I changed it back to the Chief Minister.

The Deputy Bailiff:

You did, that is right, yes, forgive me.  You have a question for the Chief Minister?

6.15Deputy K.F. Morel:

I do, I just have to find it again.  It was regarding the Chief Minister’s mention about recognition for health workers previously.  Not all health workers work for the Government of Jersey, so would the Chief Minister agree that one of the greatest elements or pieces of recognition that this States Assembly could give health workers in the private sector would be to ensure that they all have to be paid a living wage from now on?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

As I said, I was supportive of the comments made by the Connétable of St. Helier around recognition for everyone who has been involved in bringing this Island through the crisis.  In terms of where we are on a living wage, accepting the point that the Deputy has just made about individuals who do not work for the States, I was about to say obviously the States as a whole is a living wage employer and I am certainly sympathetic to the principles of the living wage.  That is all I would like to say at this stage but, as I said, I am sympathetic to the concept.

6.16Deputy R.J. Ward:

I would like to ask the Minister: how does he explain the mistake that led to the charges for the Urgent Treatment Centre for those not registered at doctors being raised and then cancelled?  Does he think that this would have been avoided if he was required to do a children’s rights impact assessment before implementing policy?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I doubt it would have been avoided because it was a mistake and I did not know about the release before it went out.  It has now been withdrawn.  It was a measure that did not relate solely to children.  It was an attempt to cover the position of non-residents seeking primary care services.  It was a confused message.  It was unnecessary.  It was a mistake to release it.  I have no plans at the moment to make further charges, apart from the ones that we announced from the outset of our joint working with G.P.s, which were a substantial reduction on the previous fees paid for primary care services.

6.16.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

It is a relief to hear a Minister saying that they have made a mistake and we accept that, but I just want to assure the Minister that it did cause distress among some members of the Island and I would hope that officers are more careful in the future.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Is there a question there?  All right.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

No, there is not, sorry.

6.17The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Given that much of my original question has been answered by the Minister for Health and Social Services in answer to Deputy Le Hegarat, could I ask in addition whether passengers booked on Condor at the middle of June can have any confidence in the sailings actually taking place?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I simply do not know, if I am honest.  We are trying to understand a little better how sea travel might begin.  The economies of scale and the logistics of running ships are completely different to running aircraft, so there are additional challenges.  I would like to see that important route to St. Malo recommence as soon as safely possible, notwithstanding of course, I am not at all suggesting that we open our borders.  It might be sensible to look at a similar testing regime at the appropriate time.  I am sorry, I do not know how reliable the dates are currently.  It is a situation that is being reviewed almost daily and I will endeavour to keep Members updated.

The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I thank the Minister for his response.

6.18The Connétable of St. Helier:

I need to declare an interest in that I have a relative in a care home, but obviously no financial interest.  Could the Minister offer any hope to people who are currently unable to receive visits from family or friends or if they can only under very difficult physical distancing conditions?  What is the prognosis in terms of being able to allow these people to have more of a normal life in their care homes?  Equally, for those people who are required to carry on isolating themselves, what does the future hold?  Is there an end in sight in terms of their lives getting back to normal?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I do understand and feel the same sort of concerns that the Connétable has, because undoubtedly it is for the benefit of residents to ensure that they have the normal social interactions that they enjoy, but as long as it is safe to do so. 

[14:45]

Work is happening.  I know this is being talked about very regularly by care home managers with H.C.S. staff and means are being worked out as to how to try and do this safely without endangering not only the person who may be being visited but other residents of homes also.  I hope we will come up with a solution soon and it may be that individual homes will feel able to be more receptive at different stages.  It is not a case of one measure will fit all, but I believe that we will see homes gradually opening to visitors as time goes on.

6.18.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

Is the 2-metre physical distancing being reviewed?  I understand that in some jurisdictions one metre is being allowed, and clearly that would make a great deal of difference if one is visiting an elderly person.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

In our exit strategy, we have spoken about a reduction to one-metre distancing when we might reach level 1.  I would imagine that any visiting in care homes would still need to take place at 2 metres initially.  That is a detail to be worked out but that I think would be clearly the advice.  Then we would monitor as time goes on, always taking health advice as to the most appropriate measure.

6.19Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The Minister in his answer to my previous question before the lunch break advised the Assembly that he was going to be reviewing the P.66 legislation.  Can I ask the Minister whether he will review the position on children, please, after the children have been back at school for 2 weeks?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I will do that because it is my duty to keep it continually under review.  I will make a specific note of the timescale suggested by the Deputy and draw that specifically into a review.

6.19.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

In terms of medical advice, will he request advice about children because this is what was lacking from the original P.66 debate?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I can do that, but Members may recall that the medical officer of health advice is laid before the Assembly at least every 14 days, so that will be visible to States Members.

6.20Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Yes, thank you.  We have been told that the proposed care model is extremely expensive.  What is the PwC estimate of annual cost?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I do not have the report in front of me.  It depends how you view the costings because there is initial expense because we would need to perhaps double run some systems for a time.  But the report also shows how the health service could run at a less expensive rate if certain measures were taken, and after 3 or 4 or 5 years we would be in a position where we would be saving money over a situation where we did nothing and continued as now.

6.20.1Senator S.C. Ferguson:

What is the running cost as calculated by PwC, not the initial cost, the running cost estimate?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

All those figures will be released when the report comes out on a general release for further discussion and debate.

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I think I am entitled to an answer, Sir.  I have asked a straightforward question.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Minister, can you improve on the answer you have given?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I have to say to the Senator I do not have that precise figure to hand.  I am sorry.

6.21The Connétable of Grouville:

This morning I think the Chief Minister agreed with Deputy Perchard that we do have the controls in place to control the rate of spread of the virus.  Obviously, if we went back to stage 4 we would reduce the number of cases.  If we go forward to stage 2 and stage 1 and maybe no restrictions at all, the number of cases would increase.  Does he have a target of what he thinks is an acceptable amount of cases, I do not know, by the week or by the month?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

No, the short answer is there is no target.  The strategy remains keep it under control and any new cases at a very low level.

6.21.1The Connétable of Grouville:

What is a sensible level?  What is the level that is aimed at that we can control the virus or the spread of it?  There must be some kind of level which we think is acceptable.  I wondered if the Chief Minister could answer that.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Oddly enough as an accountant, I cannot give him a precise number.  It is going to be subjective to an extent.  It will depend on circumstances as we go through the next few months but, as I said, the strategy remains controlling everything and keeping matters at a very low level.

6.22Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Yes, thank you.  Can the Minister for Health and Social Services tell us whether, of the COVID patients we have had to date, they have discovered things other than a respiratory problem?  Because it appears that it is also causing damage to blood vessels, causing clots and thrombosis.  Can he give us any idea of whether any of these findings have been found in Jersey?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I regret I cannot.  That would require an examination of every death certificate, I imagine, to determine the causes of death and I am not in a position to do that, I regret.

6.22.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Would the Minister for Health and Social Services go away and just look at the deaths in the hospital?  They must have records about the treatment of these people and the conditions that they had, maybe in addition to or as a result of COVID-19.  Will he go and enquire about that information and give us a written answer?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I will make enquiries.  Could I just ask the Deputy if he would share with me the learning that he has obviously had access to so that I can make sure that I am addressing the precise questions that he wants answered and addressing the data that he has obviously seen?  I would be grateful.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Okay, I will send it to all Members in a few moments.

6.23Deputy G.J. Truscott:

I understand the Minister put out to tender late last year a contract to maintain the Railway Walk.  Could the Minister confirm he has appointed a new contractor and, if he has not awarded the contract, could he explain why not?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, indeed.  I hope you can hear me loud and clear.

The Deputy Bailiff:

We can so far.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Excellent.  It is the old procedure of turn it off and turn it on again, it cures everything.  Yes, in answer to the Deputy’s question, the contracts will be going out later this year and until that time existing contracts will be running.

6.23.1Deputy G.J. Truscott:

The Railway Walk has been used extensively for exercise during the lockdown period, and I have noticed in certain places the surface has deteriorated somewhat.  I have already reported this to the Minister.  With health and safety in mind, could the Minister assure me that his department will make good the surface as soon as possible?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Absolutely.  A team have been out there already doing lots of repairs and I believe there is a little more to do.  The department has been, shall we say, scattered to the 4 winds during COVID doing various other important jobs, but now they are coming back together again and the teams are working closely on this.  As I say, a lot of work has been done but there is more to do.

Deputy G.J. Truscott:

I thank the Minister for his reply.

6.24Deputy G.P. Southern:

Given that U.K. infection rates remain high to the extent that Greece has banned visitors from the U.K. but not France, and that flights are being booked by airline operators as we speak now throughout August and probably some in July, what safeguards are there in place so that we do not import a fresh wave of infection through the airport?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I think it is very clear that the measures being piloted at the moment is a testing regime to ensure that nobody enters the Island that is a positive or has any risk of spreading the virus at all.  That is the line we are following at present and if successful I would think that testing would be scaled up.

6.25Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Regarding a response to infectious disease, to control an infectious disease means to reduce the disease incidence, prevalence and mortality to what is deemed to be a locally acceptable level.  The Chief Minister in his response to the Constable of Grouville said that there is no target, so could he clarify whether he is or is not taking a control approach in the Government’s response to the virus?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Just to be clear, I did not say ... I do not think I said there was no ... I cannot remember the exact expression, sorry, that the Deputy used, but I essentially said I could not give a precise number.  But we are controlling and we are seeking to achieve ... the strategy is a low number of cases.   Sorry, could the Deputy just repeat the rest of her question?

6.25.1Deputy J.H. Perchard:

No, I am happy to move on to the supplementary.  Could the Chief Minister explain what he means by a low level of infection?  What would that look like in a population of 106,000?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I do not think I can add any more to that than what I gave in my answer to the Connétable of Grouville.  It is a very low level.  It will very much depend on the circumstances and what we are dealing with at the time.

6.26Deputy R.J. Ward:

It is just a follow-up one from earlier.  There has been much talk of a travel bubble with the U.K.  Is that not, I ask the Minister, one of the greatest risks to infection here, given the high infection rates, and how will he be absolutely certain that any testing regime at the airport and at ports will be 100 per cent successful?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I am not sure where the Deputy is hearing this from.  There are currently no plans for a travel bubble with the U.K. that I am aware of.  Just to reiterate my previous answer, we are trying to open up some important air links but only with a very strict testing regime in place.  We are piloting that at the moment and for it to continue it will need to be proven to be successful.  Experts are working on that now and will monitor it closely with a view to being able to extend it if possible.  I am sure we all want to maintain our important transport links - being an Island that is almost entirely reliant on travel - for freight and passengers, but we will only allow that to happen in a safe way.  I am sorry, there was a second part to the Deputy’s question.  Could he repeat it, please?

Deputy R.J. Ward:

It was just about the assurance with regards the testing regime, but I do not think we have time now, given we have 2 minutes left.  Perhaps someone can move on to their question.

6.27Senator K.L. Moore:

Just to follow up on the Chief Minister’s previous interaction with Deputy Perchard.

[15:00]

If the Chief Minister could confirm to the Assembly whether he considers the current status of having 2 active cases in the Island is the low level that he is seeking to maintain or whether he would find a higher level than is currently active in the Island an acceptable place to be.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sorry, could the Senator just repeat the last part of her question?

Senator K.L. Moore:

Yes, whether the Chief Minister would find a higher level than the current number of active cases would be acceptable to him.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

To answer the first part, it is “a” very low level, it is not necessarily “the” very low level.  To answer the second part, I suppose in essence, yes, that low level could still be higher than 2 and it would still be a very low level.

6.27.1Senator K.L. Moore:

Sorry, the Chief Minister has been asked whether that would be acceptable to him.  We are trying to understand what is the aim of his work and it is very important that he answers that part of the question, please.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

It is somewhat difficult and I appreciate, as an accountant, sometimes people think I believe in the precision of numbers, but there are times when you cannot give a precise number.  So this is ...

The Deputy Bailiff:

You are not being asked to ... forgive me for interrupting.  I do not think you are being asked to give a precise number.  I think you are being asked to say whether or not you regard a low level that is more than 2, which you said would still be a low level, would be a number that would be acceptable to you.  I think that is the question that is being posed.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Very clearly, 2 is obviously an acceptable number for being in a very low level.  There will be other numbers that will also be acceptable for being a very low level.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  That completes the time allotted for questions without notice to all Ministers.  There are no statements to be made under J and K so we, therefore, move on to the public business listed on the Consolidated Order Paper.

PUBLIC BUSINESS

7.Draft Amendment (No. 44) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey (P.12/2020)

The Deputy Bailiff:

The first item is the Draft Amendment (No. 44) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey, P.12/2020, lodged by the Scrutiny Liaison Committee, and I ask the Greffier to read the citation.

The Greffier of the States:

Draft Amendment (No. 44) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey.  The States make the following amendment to the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey under Article 48 of the States of Jersey Law 2005.

Senator K.L. Moore (President, Scrutiny Liaison Committee):

Deputy Ward, as the chair of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, is going to be the rapporteur for this item.

7.1Deputy R.J. Ward (Chair, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel - rapporteur):

I will keep my camera off because my internet is not particularly fast today.  This is a change to the responsibilities, if you like, of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel to take on board scrutiny of the Minister for Children and Housing.  There was, and still is, a Care of Children Review Panel that exists which was responsible for the response to the Care Inquiry.  That was set up in the last Assembly and has continued its work through this Assembly, producing a number of reports interim and making recommendations.  That work is still ongoing.  However, it has become clear that the role of the Minister for Children and Housing is now in place with a widening and more defined role.  Therefore, there needs to be a clear line of sight to a Scrutiny Panel for the Minister, particularly for day-to-day roles and activities; the Children’s Service, for example.  We have had a number of meetings with the Minister where we have discussed these.  I think this change to Standing Orders makes sense to have the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel take over formal scrutiny of the Minister for Children and Housing in those roles, while maintaining the Care of Children Review Panel for the specific tasks that are linked to the Care Inquiry.  I am pleased to say that we have had additions to the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel to help with the workload.  I will mention again - as I know I have done a number of times but I think it is warranted - the hard work and incredible work of the Scrutiny officers that are linked to the panel and the way that they arrange work and produce reports of such high quality and in such time.  So, I move the Proposition and I am willing to obviously answer any questions that are required.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Is the Proposition seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on the Proposition

7.1.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Thank you, I will be brief.  As vice-chairman of the Care of Children Review Panel, I just want to echo the words of the chair of that panel.  I think the message, and I am sure he will reiterate this when he sums up as well, is that this will not take away the focus of the Care of Children Review Panel and its commitment to holding the Government to account on the recommendations of the Care Inquiry and going through that process, which I know the Minister for Children and Housing and the Council of Ministers appreciate all the work that we have done.  We are launching into more work, so all I am doing is just echoing that the Care of Children Review Panel will continue and it has been a pleasure to work alongside my colleagues.  I know the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel will continue their work in taking the stuff that we have done, which will now go into that panel further forward.  So, thank you.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on the Proposition?  In that case, I call upon Deputy Ward to reply.

7.1.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

I will keep this short.  I reiterate what Deputy Pamplin said.  The review panel still does carry on and there is some important work to be done there.  I think it is very important that as we develop ministerial roles there is clear scrutiny, and I think the panel effectively undertakes that scrutiny.  I hope with this change it will just enable us to do so into the future.  Thank you, and I ask for the appel.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you very much.  In a moment, the Greffier will add a vote into the chat channel of this meeting.  This has now occurred and I invite Members to vote in the usual way.  I now ask the Greffier to close the voting.  I can announce that the Proposition has been adopted: 36 votes pour, no votes contre, and, of course, in the usual way any votes not in the chat channel but communicated in another way will be added to Hansard.

POUR: 40

 

CONTRE: 0

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

 

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

8.Draft Amendment (No. 45) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey (P.13/2020)

The Deputy Bailiff:

The next matter on the Order Paper is the Draft Amendment (No. 45) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey, P.13/2020, lodged by the Scrutiny Liaison Committee, and I ask the Greffier to read the citation.

The Greffier of the States:

Draft Amendment (No. 45) of the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey.  The States make the following amendment to the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey under Article 48 of the States of Jersey Law 2005.

8.1Senator K.L. Moore (President, Scrutiny Liaison Committee):

I am grateful to Members for taking these 2 minor items today.  It is somewhat of a light relief in the circumstances.  These are 2 simple amendments to Standing Orders to enable an increase in numbers of panel members on the standing Scrutiny Panels and also to enable Members to sit on more than 2 panels at any one time.  This is, as I am sure Members will see, simply to enable greater cross-cutting working and to develop our relationships across the Scrutiny family.  So, I commend this to the Assembly and look forward to any points that anyone might wish to make.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Is the amendment seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on this Proposition

8.1.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Thank you, and again I will be brief.  I just want to pay tribute to the chair and everybody of my colleagues.  We just passed the 2-year mark since we all took the oath of office, quite remarkably, and I am extremely proud of the work that we have done.  We still have a lot of work to learn, which is why I want to increase and move myself about to different panels and really enhance the great work that we are doing.  I thank all our officers and the Government and their officers as well.  We have to come together and scrutiny is so vital, so I just want to take this moment to say thank you.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on the proposed amendment?  I call upon Senator Moore to reply.

8.1.2Senator K.L. Moore:

I am very grateful to Deputy Pamplin for his kind remarks and also very grateful to all those Members who have taken part in the scrutiny process for the past 2 years.  I do think we have done some really good work and shone a light into various important issues and driven forward some productive changes.  So, with that, I call for the appel.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you very much.  In a moment, the Greffier will add a vote into the chat channel of this meeting.  This has now occurred and I invite Members to cast their votes.  If all Members have cast their votes, I ask the Greffier to close the voting.  I can announce that the amendment has been adopted: 41 votes pour and no votes contre.

POUR: 45

 

CONTRE: 0

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

 

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

Deputy Ward, you have a point of procedure to raise?

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Yes.  It is not about this vote so I was trying to time it correctly, but I may have put that in a little quickly.  It is about something else, but I would like to raise something if I may.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes.  Any votes cast without the channel will be added to Hansard in the usual way.  Deputy Ward, do you wish to raise your point of procedure now or is it for ...?

Deputy R.J. Ward:

If possible.  It is just that in the last sitting we did say that we would sort out at lunchtime how long we were going to sit for in the day, and yet again we have not done that.  I am just concerned about a very messy end to the day, given that we have an in-committee debate that may start.  I wonder if we can have a definite decision sooner rather than later for those who have to make arrangements about a finish time today.  I would ask the Chair of P.P.C. if that is the case.  I know this may not be the right time but it was not raised before.

The Deputy Bailiff:

I think that is proper for you to raise that now.  Would the Chair of P.P.C. wish to address this issue at this particular point?  It might be a convenient moment before we move on to the next item on the agenda.

Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

I do not anticipate a messy ending today.  I think that we will be able to adjourn at 5.30 p.m. at whatever stage the in-committee debate is at, if indeed we have reached it by then, because I do not anticipate the in-committee debate being a short affair.  I think it is likely we are going to come back tomorrow.  I always think it is important that the proposer of any debate that is an in-committee debate is happy with the adjournment.  That is one of my priorities, but we are going to talk about this more later.  I should think that there will be no need to go for an extension tonight.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, certainly I was proceeding on the basis that we would be returning tomorrow and we would adjourn at 5.30 p.m. in the usual way, always subject to the view of Members.  Does that assist you, Deputy Ward?

[15:15]

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Yes.  I just wanted some clarity so that people know.  We did say we would do that and I think it is so important.  It is not an unexpected answer, but I think it is just important that we know that we are all expecting to come back tomorrow.  It is just if a debate is not finished on one of the Propositions whether we end, and I think it is a good idea to have a definite time for everybody involved.

Deputy R. Labey:

May I just point out that the ...

The Deputy Bailiff:

Sorry, we cannot hear you.  We missed a bit of what you said.  Do you want to start again?

Deputy R. Labey:

It is my understanding that the Assembly took a decision during the course of the Government Plan debate to discuss the possibility of extensions at lunchtime, and that was a decision for the duration of that week of debate on the Government Plan.  But I know this is an issue for people.  There are tensions and it is my intention to consult with the Members over this issue of finishing at 5.30 p.m. and what are the parameters for an extension.  I am very happy to do that.  We are about to conduct that.  Obviously, we are all a bit consumed by other matters at the moment, but it is on P.P.C.’s list and I hope to find an accommodation that is happy for everybody.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, that is very helpful.  Thank you.

9.Putting Jersey businesses first (P.56/2020): amendment (P.56/2020 Amd.) - Reduction of lodging period

The Deputy Bailiff:

The next item on the agenda is Putting Jersey businesses first, the Proposition lodged by Deputy Morel on 1st May, but before we debate that, there is an amendment that has been lodged outside of the normal lodging period by the Council of Ministers.  Notice has been given that a Proposition will be made to suspend Standing Order 32 in order that the amendment be listed for debate and to reduce the minimum lodging period for it in order that it be taken at this meeting.  I remind Members for the purpose of the debate in respect of reducing the minimum lodging period under Standing Order 26(7) that the States may reduce a minimum lodging period for a Proposition if they are of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so.  Chief Minister, do you wish to make the Proposition to which I have just referred?

9.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

Yes.  I do apologise to Members.  We are I think 3 days out on the lodging date.  It was in principle logistical issues and trying to get the amendment to the right place which caused the delay in getting it lodged last week.  What I will say is it is - I am sure Deputy Morel will talk to it and without getting into the debate - trying to be of assistance in trying to arrive at something that we think is appropriate or manageable.  We will cover that more in the debate, but I would like to maintain the Proposition that the States do shorten the lodging period.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Is that Proposition seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak? 

9.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

Before I speak particularly to the Proposition, could I ask with regard to Standing Orders is there a Standing Order with regard to the lodging period for amendments which says that the lodging period for amendments ... I forget the number but it says lodging period for amendments should only be cut if they are minor amendments.  It is a point of order, perhaps.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Let me have a look at Standing Order 26.  Yes, I think perhaps you might be referring to Standing Order 26(8), which says the States may also reduce a minimum lodging period in the case of a Proposition to amend another Proposition if they are of the opinion that if adopted the amendment would not make any significant change.  Well, it is your Proposition but we are not in that territory, are we?

Deputy K.F. Morel:

I felt we were, but there you go.  I clearly misunderstood the Standing Order.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Well, the amendment to your Proposition would make a significant change to it, would it not?

Deputy K.F. Morel:

I thought it said if it did not make a significant change.  That was what I thought.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Well, yes, if it did not make a significant change, then ... it makes no difference to the fact that the States still need to reduce the lodging period, but because this is not, on my analysis - but it is your Proposition - a Proposition that makes a minor change to your Proposition, it makes a significant one, then the States need to be satisfied that it is in the public interest to reduce the minimum lodging period.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Thank you.  Indeed, this is a significant change from my Proposition and I have to say that it is difficult to understand the Chief Minister when he says this was by accident, because I believe with a similar Proposition just a week ago with regard to the exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis, similarly a very short lodging period was given then.  So, rather than this being accidental, it would seem to be a trend.  Indeed, Members, including myself, were sent this and first given notice of this at 13:32 on Friday just past.  So, I have had 1½ working days in which to analyse and scrutinise this amendment and try to develop my arguments for it.  Scrutiny has been asking the Government to give 3 working days minimum for any Propositions or changes to law that are being proposed by the Government.  With regard to this amendment, I have been given just 1½ working days.  The Government has civil servants, thousands.  It has Ministers.  It has Assistant Ministers.  I have just me.  I cannot accept a 1½ working day lodging period for what is, quite simply, an amendment that destroys the heart of the Proposition before me.  It is not sufficient time.  I appeal to the Assembly to this.  What I find galling is that I have been working hard to help Government gets its legislation through during this crisis.  Like many other people in Scrutiny, I have worked late.  I have worked with very limited timeframes in order to analyse law, in order to analyse the changes and the Propositions being made by Government.  To be honest, we have moved mountains for the Government during this crisis.  This is how I am repaid, and I find it lacks respect.  It lacks respect for individual States Members.  It lacks respect for members of Scrutiny who have, all of us, been working so hard for the Government, always on the Government’s timetable, never on our timetable.  Indeed, at the moment, we are negotiating a timetable for the, again, reduction of the lodging period for the Government Plan.  I have had no time for negotiation; 1½ working days is no time to try and find a middle way.  I have had no phone calls from the Minister for Treasury and Resources, no contact from either of the 2 Assistant Ministers for Treasury and Resources.  The Chief Minister has said not a word in my direction with regard to this amendment.  In my view, it shows a complete lack of respect for us individual States Members.  I know the Government will say that they are busy dealing with the crisis.  I too am dealing with the crisis.  I am dealing with it in Scrutiny, I am dealing with it at home and I am working constantly for the good of this Island with no support.  Again, I say it is just me.  So I request and ask that States Members demand that the Government show some respect for individual non-Executive Members by rejecting this request for the amendment to be heard today.  Honestly, I believe we all need to say enough is enough.  The Government’s treatment of us must finish.  This kind of treatment of us must finish.  It is time to demand the respect and I ask States Members to do so.  Stand up for yourselves by refusing to have this amendment heard today.

9.1.2The Deputy of St. Martin:

I just want to back up everything that Deputy Morel has just said.  I for some time now have been saying publicly that the lifting of Standing Orders to shorten lodging periods is something that we need to get a bit more on top of.  I accept, everybody accepts, we have been in the middle of a very serious crisis and we have had to come forward with laws and amendments to laws at very short notice, but what has been happening recently is it has become a fait accompli.  The Government just expect a standard procedure, a general expectation that we are going to allow anything and everything to be brought at the drop of a hat, at a moment’s notice, and put it on next week’s agenda and it will be accepted and debated.  I agree with the Deputy.  We need to make a stand and say if you have time, you have to get your amendments and your Propositions in within Standing Orders.  All this coming at the last minute is just not acceptable, I am sorry.

9.1.3Senator L.J. Farnham:

Listening to Deputy Morel, one understands the frustration felt at the short notice of the amendment.  I know it is probably not an excuse that is going to be accepted, but it is purely down to the other work that Ministers are being involved in.  Perhaps as Deputy Morel did mention the possibility of finding some middle ground, would he perhaps consider deferring his Proposition so we have more time to dedicate to that?  I think it is a Proposition that most Members will want to support and I think with some fine-tuning we could reach a good consensus with a bit more time.

9.1.4Senator K.L. Moore:

Simply to follow on from the Senator’s comment there that it might be acceptable to Members to defer this debate, it must be said that Deputy Morel lodged this Proposition on 30th April.  The Government has had plenty of time to consider it.  I fully appreciate that they have an awful lot on their minds, but there is a strategic nature needed to decision-making.  We have been, as an Assembly, exceptionally understanding of the very difficult circumstances that the Government find themselves in, but there is a matter of principle here.  I am afraid I would not support a deferral at this stage.  I simply will be supporting Deputy Morel today and voting against the acceptance of this amendment to the debate.  I think we should debate the Proposition as it is put and without the amendment.

9.1.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Senator Moore I think started off ... I missed the first part of her speech.  Yes, Deputy Morel lodged this 30th April.  On 1st May we received it.  It has been reported widely in the media, so he is quite right and I welcome Senator Farnham’s interjection.  This is a Back-Bencher’s Proposition.  The principle behind it is supporting local businesses.  The local Parliament should be able to do better.

9.1.6Deputy J.H. Young:

I think Deputy Morel is absolutely right on a point of principle.  I think what I am unhappy about here is that what we have is a Proposition that has a lot of complications and technicalities, and I really would like clarification from Deputy Morel that his purpose is to allow the debate on his unamended Proposition to go ahead today and disallow the consideration of the Council of Ministers’ amendment.

[15:30]

If it is, I find that is a very unsatisfactory and unnecessary situation to be in because I really thought there is a constructive solution here.  I cannot see there is likely to be any substantive disagreement on the underlying purpose of this, to do things better for our Island.  I would like to hear clarification from Deputy Morel as to his reasons, please.

9.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

I can understand the frustration of my colleague, who normally sits on my left in the States Assembly, at the short notice.  I would probably start by reminding Members that I was in an unusual situation of not being able to ... the Assembly would not allow me to take my own Proposition as amended because the amendment had not been lodged long enough, even though I think it had been lodged for weeks.  It just was not quite long enough, my main Proposition on the courts and opening them up to some level of filming, transcripts, et cetera.  The Assembly would not even allow me to do that.  I think the public interest test has not really been mentioned yet.  I think this is where it becomes interesting because we need to put aside our grievances about lodging times because we can all be purists at times and say: “I should have had a bit more time.”  I completely agree that we are all being put under enormous strain at the moment to not have sufficient time, but I think the ultimate public interest test for me, notwithstanding, of course, that there are degrees of it and that there should be a normal lodging period, is can we have a better debate with or without the amendment.  It seems to me that democracy is all about choice.  Surely if we agree to accept the amendment today, that at least gives us the choice to reject it if we think that the case has not been made and that Deputy Morel’s Proposition is better without it.  If we do not even allow the amendment to be taken, notwithstanding the lodging period, and I accept all those arguments, then we are put in a position where any Member who thinks that the Council of Ministers’ alternative or slight amendment to what Deputy Morel is proposing are not given the chance to support the substantive proposals, albeit with some tweaking, and so might be in a position to vote against it, whereas we could resolve this today.  We probably will approve it one way or another today, either amended or not, but I think to be put in a position where you do not have all the options and to vote against something simply because there could have been a better way to do it, simply would end up with us wasting more time in the future.  I do not come to an absolute conclusion there but there are just some points for Members to consider.

9.1.8Deputy J.H. Perchard:

I agree with a lot of what the Deputy before me has just said.  I do look at it slightly differently in this particular instance because obviously sometimes these late amendments come and you think, well, as a Member who has lodged a Proposition, I am not going to fight the amendment being lodged late because, as Deputy Tadier pointed out, it is good for debate.  It is good for us to debate it and the amendment could very well be rejected.  But even if it is adopted sometimes there is a lot of good within the amended version and that is exactly why I did not fight the late amendment lodging for the Proposition that I brought a couple of weeks ago.  I think it was a 24-hour lodge but I recognise that it gave a platform for the Assembly to have a discussion similar to a discussion I wanted to have and it was good to come from the amendment.  I do, however, think in this instance that there is something slightly different happening here in that the amendment fundamentally changes the Proposition.  To my mind I can understand why Deputy Morel may wish to debate his Proposition unamended, with the knowledge that it may fail because of that decision but to draw out the real debate.  If we debate the amendment we are debating something that I think is very, very different from the original Proposition.  I think if Members were to pull up the original Proposition and the amendment and look at the wording and look at the precise language that has been changed and removed, which is not necessarily really acknowledged in the report to the amendment, I think they would find that the debate we have would be a sort of diluted maybe watered-down version of the debate that Deputy Morel wants to have.  Sometimes the debate we want to have is the thing that overrides our decision because that is in the public interest to have that debate and to force those bringing amendments to justify why this is not worthy of passing in its original form.  I think sometimes that is an incredibly important debate for the public to hear, even if it does mean a greater or less chance of the original Proposition going through.  I think given the fact that the Member whose proposed Proposition is unhappy, I am minded to support him in this particular context because I understand the debate he wants to have.  Deputy Morel knows as well as I do that if you do not accept a shorter lodgement for an amendment you are at risk of losing your original Proposition but that is clearly a risk that he understands and is willing to take.  I think, as an Assembly, we should just support him in that decision.

9.1.9Deputy S.J. Pinel:

As always it is a great pleasure to follow Deputy Perchard.  She makes a lot of sense in what she is saying.  I would be taking the amendment to Deputy Morel’s Proposition.  I do apologise absolutely for the late submission of it but we did have to take it to the Council of Ministers or it could not be agreed for lodging and there are only so many meetings that we can have with the Council of Ministers at the moment; it is all quite busy.  I do understand people’s frustration about this completely but I would ask that the Assembly agree, just listen to the amendment, if they do not agree it well then they do not agree it.  But if they could just listen to it it would be very helpful and then, if amended, agreeing Deputy Morel’s Proposition if we want to do that.  But I will explain, if I am allowed to, why certain parts of his Proposition are just not possible but that is not for this debate.  I would very much ask the Assembly to agree to going forward with it.  I do accept the frustration, so I will rest my case.

9.1.10The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Last-minute amendments are not good government.  It seems to me that the mere fact that the Government has failed to respond to the Proposition earlier tends to indicate they have little interest in supporting local business and the local staff working for them.  I suggest that we should get on and debate P.56 unamended and clearly demonstrate that we support local business and suppliers of all local services.

9.1.11The Deputy of St. Peter:

This is clearly a very important matter and it has created a great deal of public interest.  I think we should be working towards getting the best possible outcome from it.  It is not time critical.  It is asking, if amended, the Minister for Treasury and Resources to do some work.  We do not have to do it today but what we do want to do is to make sure, as I said before, we get the best possible outcome.  I totally respect the effort and the work and the passion that Deputy Morel has put into this and I totally understand where he is coming from, in wanting that to come to fruition in a timely fashion.  I think we also have to respect that something else has been going on in our world recently and I do not get the argument that it is not being taken seriously.  I think an enormous amount of passion, effort and work is going on behind the scenes fighting off this virus.  I think the best possible outcome would be to follow Senator Farnham’s suggestion and allow a period of time for Deputy Morel and the Government to work together to come up with a better amendment, potentially by a basis of negotiation, which will inevitably lead to a better outcome, whichever way that is.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak?  In that case I call upon the Chief Minister to reply.

9.1.12Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am quite pleased to follow the last speaker because I have to say I was quite disappointed with a number of the comments that were made.  I think just for clarity, although Deputy Morel did refer to that he had not heard from either myself or the Minister for Treasury and Resources, I understand Senator Farnham did speak to him on at least 2 occasions in relation to the amendment.  It is not the case there has not been any communication from Government with the Deputy on his Proposition.  The other point is we had been hoping to try and get it lodged in time obviously.  One matter, as Members may recall, the States only finished on Thursday morning, about lunchtime and that did, therefore, cause some delays in the overall process.  Some allusion has been made to the Proposition brought by Deputy Perchard previously in terms of timing and I would just note because there was a suggestion that that was yet another example, of course we are not there yet, of a late lodging by Government to the detriment of a Back-Bencher was the tone.  What I would like to just remind Deputy Morel on that front is that Deputy Perchard lodged the Proposition Thursday at around 4 o’clock and the debate was the following Tuesday, therefore we had no choice but to lodge an amendment, which came through, I think, on the Monday.  What I will say in terms of the impact on the system, as we have said previously, a lot of the work that is going on at the moment falls on the same officers.  This is a principle but I suspect that Deputy Perchard’s Proposition probably took, I am going to say, a couple of weeks, in working weeks out of the system in terms of the time that was spent on that Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and then during the course of debate in dealing with that and obviously not dealing with trying to get guidance and other policy documents out, which had been about handling the crisis that the Government is dealing with.  I would just say, I cannot remember who made the inference, that obviously this is not the difficulties of the Government’s making.  We did not generate the virus.  We did not generate the crisis.  We are dealing with it and I would suggest we are dealing with it very well.  But that is around capacity and occasionally this capacity side does overrun.  To return to the Proposition and the reason we are lodging the amendment is we are trying to do a constructive approach; that has always been my style and the team’s style, i.e. the Council of Minister’s style, in dealing with Propositions that are coming through, whether it is from Scrutiny or a Back-Bencher.  I would say that Deputy Morel seemed to conflate the 2.  What we have tried to do in these instances is to come through with something that we believe is more workable, therefore does not run the risk, for example, of putting us in breach of future W.T.O. (World Trade Organization) regulations, if that is where we go as a result of Brexit.  I am trying to just use that as an example because I do not want to get into the various ramifications or debating the contents of the amendment before we start that debate.  But they are there for a very real reason of trying to find … just to really emphasise we all do wish to support Jersey business.  We would suggest that Government does support Jersey business already; if there is more we can do we always want to try to do it.  But there are some specific technicalities in the phraseology within Deputy Morel’s Proposition which left unamended would mean that we would not be able to support it.  Not only would that send a negative message, which would be unintended, towards local business, as I said, it does generate some unintended consequences.  That is the reason we had lodged the amendment.  I would very much welcome the opportunity to have that debate and, hopefully, that would mean we would end up in a positive position with a positive result, if the amendment was accepted, of being able to support Deputy Morel’s Proposition.  Otherwise, I suspect that most Ministers would not be able to support the Proposition.  On that basis I would like to maintain the request to the Assembly for reducing the lodging period.  I suppose I had better call for the appel.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes.  In a moment the Greffier will add a vote into the chat channel of this meeting.  This has now occurred and the vote is now open and I invite Members to cast their votes. 

[15:45]

You are voting pour if you support the Proposition to suspend Standing Orders and reduce the lodging period.  If you want to debate the amendment today you vote pour, if you do not then you vote contre.  If all Members have had the opportunity to cast their votes, I ask the Greffier to close the voting.  The Proposition has been adopted: 25 votes pour, 16 contre and one abstention. 

POUR: 25

 

CONTRE: 17

 

ABSTAIN: 1

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Connétable of Trinity

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

 

The matter may be debated today, the amendment that is.  Deputy Morel, you wish to speak.

The Greffier of the States:

The Members who voted contre were: Deputy Doublet, Deputy Perchard, Senator Moore, the Constable of Grouville, the Deputy of St. Martin, Deputy Le Hegarat, Deputy Alves, the Constable of St. Brelade, Deputy Morel, Deputy Ahier, Deputy Ward, Deputy Gardiner, Deputy Pamplin, the Constable of St. Martin, Deputy Tadier and the Constable of St. Peter.  The abstention was the Constable of Trinity.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

My vote was in chat.

The Greffier of the States:

Deputy Southern in chat.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  Deputy Morel.

Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

So is mine.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Who was that who spoke then?  Someone said: “So is mine.”

The Deputy of Trinity:

Sir, Deputy Raymond would have been pour but it is in chat.  It is not allowing me to vote.

The Greffier of the States:

He is not in chat.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Apparently you are not in chat.

The Deputy of Trinity:

It would have been pour.  I cannot get in to vote.

The Deputy Bailiff:

That has been noted.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

It is just if you would indulge me, Sir, that I would like to say that I will be deferring my Proposition until 16th June.

The Deputy Bailiff:

You are entitled to do that.  The Proposition and the amendment have been deferred until 16th June.

Deputy M. Tadier:

Sir, is this a point of order?  It may be, sorry for not putting it in the chat but has the Proposition been made already and does it need the leave of the Assembly to be deferred?

The Deputy Bailiff:

No, the Proposition has not yet been made, so the leave of the Assembly is not required.

Deputy M. Tadier:

Okay, thank you.

10.Economic Recovery In-Committee Debate (R.54/2020)

The Deputy Bailiff:

The final item is an in-committee debate requested by the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture to discuss the Island’s economic recovery and it is entitled Economic Recovery In-Committee Debate.  I remind Members that for in-committee debates Standing Order 97 applies, unlike in most debates each Member can therefore speak more than once and there is no vote at the conclusion of the debate.  In accordance with Standing Orders, it is a matter for the Chair to determine when the debate should come to an end.  Recognising this is an important issue for the Island as a whole, my current view is that this debate should last the remainder of today and the whole of tomorrow morning.  But that is a matter of course that can be reviewed if need be.  I invite the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture to begin the debate. 

10.1Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been extreme and has had a deep and immediate impact on the health, well-being and livelihoods of Islanders and the health of Jersey’s economy.  Around the world countries worked to contain the spread of the virus, enacting lockdown measures in an attempt to protect the health and welfare of their citizens and this is what Jersey did too.  It was the right approach, based on the immediate principles that guided us of life, livelihoods and well-being.  The purpose of the debate today, which I thoroughly welcome, is to discuss how we move forward towards economic recovery.  Our immediate policy to the crisis was based around life, livelihoods and well-being.  For the economy, the Government now intend to consider this on the basis of a respond, recover and renew strategy.  The consequence of the lockdown was a significant slowdown in our economy affecting nearly every industry, business and workplace and Islander in Jersey.  The Fiscal Policy Panel has forecast that the value of Jersey’s economy will fall by over 6 per cent this year.  Initial estimates of economic loss have been in the region of over £100 million per month.  This is in line with other developed economies globally, which are also expected to see significant declines.  As we have moved through our safe exit framework, some businesses have been able to continue at a close to normal capacity.  All I can say at this stage is thank goodness for our industry, such as financial services.  Other industries such as retail and hospitality have been severely restricted and while we have recently started to see a gradual return of economic activity the impact will still be severe for some time to come.  In hospitality there will not be a tourism summer this year, as we have known it before, meaning that they will, effectively, face 3 winters in a row.  The town centre, in fact all retail generally, will also significantly suffer and take some time to recover.  Overall we should be clear that it will not be possible to prevent a significant contraction in our economy this year.  That impact on the economy is not simply on business, as we are conscious it has real world impacts on the people of Jersey.  Our recent actively-seeking-work figures are somewhere in the region of between 2,500 and 3,000; that is almost double the same time last year.  The impact on Islanders has been instantaneous and severe.  While we cannot entirely prevent this loss of business and economic activity, we can strive to mitigate its effect on households and on businesses.  Even more importantly, we must endeavour to ensure we put Islanders’ households and businesses on as firm a footing as possible to ramp up economic activity as restrictions are eased, while still ensuring that we can prevent an aggressive spread of the virus.  Now is the time for the Government and the States to focus on stimulating our economic recovery and developing a more inclusive, diverse and sustainable future economy.  I want to stress that we must do this not just with the interests of business in mind but with the interest of all Islanders and all households.  Our initial response to the economic disruption was by responding to the crisis by triaging the situation in line with protecting livelihoods and well-being by allowing individuals to retain their jobs and businesses to survive through the immediate period of enforced closure.  We moved fast to put in place the biggest financial support package the Island has ever mobilised, potentially worth in excess of £300 million.  I would like to highlight again that on any objective view that financial support package came quickly, compared with other jurisdictions.  Within a matter of days of lockdown initially being declared we managed to announce phase 1 of the co-funded payroll scheme, which supported almost 7,000 jobs to the tune of £2 million.  Those funds were paid out in early April, covering disruption in March, in the second half of March.  In comparison, it was 6 weeks until such funds were made available in the U.K. under their furlough scheme.  Phase 2 of the co-funded payroll scheme was announced shortly after and has provided approximately £20 million for the April payroll and this has supported slightly more than 15,000 jobs.  The reason this is important to economic recovery is to highlight that we are starting recovery in a good place.  We have protected a large amount of jobs and businesses and now we must stimulate the economy back to trading successfully.  As announced at the media conference yesterday, the decision has been taken to extend the payroll support scheme until the end of August.  This will be for all businesses currently covered by the scheme.  It should be noted that unlike the U.K. furlough scheme, businesses can claim this, whether they are trading or not.  The scheme in itself is being extended to provide continued support as businesses start to trade again.  Because the scheme is structured that way it has allowed many, many businesses to open and start taking money again, where it would not have been viable for them to do so without this support.  The extension of the scheme in this manner does not simply act to protect jobs but to provide economic stimulus in itself to help businesses through the next 2 to 3 months.  The intention, that Ministers will make another announcement on the scheme before the end of July and that announcement will be as a result of further analysis and policy options for how the scheme may continue or be phased out after August.  Currently we have asked officials to consider all options for this, which will look to ensure that the critical lifeline support to businesses is not immediately stopped.  I want to reiterate that point, there will be no cliff edge as halt to the support we give to businesses to protect their jobs.  Ministers are likely to be considering a phased withdrawal of the scheme in some format, however, over the entire course of 2020.  The support provided by the payroll scheme, combined with the business disruption loan guarantee scheme launched by Government, which has already guaranteed about £2 million of loans, has been significant.  The Government has equally provided deferrals for payment of G.S.T. and social security contributions to ease cash flow constraints.  This is a strong initial economic stimulus, which we must now build into the recovery stage.  Also announced at the media conference yesterday was that we will be moving to level 2 from next Friday, 12th June and that allows for more planning to occur around recovery.  Many more businesses will now be able to open with the appropriate safety professional body and sector-specific guidelines in place.  To sit alongside this phase, removal of public health restrictions, now is the time to put significant effort into the recovery phase.  How are we looking to stimulate the economy?  That is a question that I am looking forward to debating today, as one of the many subjects I hope we will cover.  Following the financial crisis, Jersey’s Government undertook a similar programme of fiscal stimulus using the strength of the Government’s role in the economy to support the recovery.  The 2009 programme had 3 objectives that still hold true to the current situation, namely to provide a stimulus to the economy, to support employment and business in Jersey, to support employment in the Island by assisting individuals affected by the economic downturn and to create new opportunities for businesses in Jersey to support them through the downturn and mitigate job losses.  It is important that we follow the advice of our Fiscal Policy Panel to maximise the impact of fiscal stimulus.  This means it should follow in a timely and targeted but temporary way.  That means it should be implemented in a timely manner, such that the economy receives the support at the right time it is needed.  It means that it is targeted so that it reaches the parts of the economy that need support.  We know when we look at the sector-specific breakdown that some sectors have been significantly harder hit than others and there is an opportunity for us to target the right amount of support to the right sector.

[16:00]

Of course that should be temporary, ensuring that support is provided while it is needed but it does not compromise the long-term sustainability of our public finances, particularly at a time when a structural deficit already looks likely.  Bearing all this in mind, the Minister for Treasury and Resources is working with ministerial colleagues to develop a programme of economic stimulus to support the recovery phase and that is a programme of stimulus we also want to be guided by this debate today.  The proposals are starting to form and will be the cornerstone of an economic recovery programme.  The initiatives currently being considered include the following: discussing how a national productivity strategy could push forward the economy post-COVID; identifying and considering future challenges to Jersey’s foundation economy, particularly around agriculture, fisheries, retail, hospitality, construction and others and when I say “hospitality” I do of course place emphasis on our incoming visitor economy; identifying and considering opportunities in the new economy, such as financial services, digital telecoms and other services less dependent on local physical custom; researching, evaluating and recommending successful policies implemented elsewhere internationally; facilitating the best possible outreach to business sectors, employee representatives and charity enterprises; identifying, developing and evaluating actionable sector-specific initiatives, again, for example, in the worst-hit sectors of hospitality and retail.  The third phase will be renewal.  This is about how we all want our economy to work in the interests of all Islanders as we emerge from the challenges.  I think in this regard it is important that I, therefore, recognise the fact that Reform Jersey has put forward a series of proposals.  I want to highlight again that the economic concepts and policy proposals from all parties are always welcomed.  Those put forward by Reform Jersey will be considered carefully by the Government and the States Assembly, I am sure, when considering renewal of the economy.  I hope that many other States Members will also be forthcoming with economic ideas.  It may come as a surprise to some that a number of the proposals already of the Reform Jersey’s Proposition already align with the thinking that has been occurring in Government.  Some proposals are not simple to accept; a number of them require significant further analysis of their potential ramifications on the Island in a number of areas.  Implementation plans for large-scale policy statements are unclear.  But now is the time to start discussing all ideas for renewal of the economy and that is why the proposals are welcome.  I should highlight and clarify one matter that arises out of the Reform Jersey document, this is a matter I want to be absolutely clear on.  The Government are of the view that economic recovery should work for the whole of Jersey, Islanders’ households and businesses.  No one sector should be unfairly advantaged.  This is about creating a strong economy that works for all.  I want to be clear that this is how I am going to be and I hope other Members will approach the challenge.  The current Government Plan set out our commitment to deliver a future economy programme.  This is now more important than ever that this must be shaped in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunities it presents for us to shape a new economy for Jersey.  The Chief Minister has created a political oversight group to lead this work and the structure of how that work will occur, along with the Economic Council, is outlined in the report presented to States Members.  The political oversight group is clear that this work cannot be done in isolation and its decisions will need to be informed and guided by consultation with Islanders, with businesses, business groups and, of course, with States Members.  The political oversight group and the structure, including the Economic Council, is new and I would like Members to be cognisant of that during the debate today.  It should not be expected that the group has yet conducted significant work and, as the Chief Minister has outlined, the Economic Council members are yet to be fully announced.  I would like to make clear to Members that one of the reasons we have not started significant work is because we felt it important that the people’s representatives in the States Assembly had an early opportunity to guide the process and to start guiding the policies before we really got underway with the work, which is why we are having this in-committee debate today.  Members should allow the group, having said that, to start to do some substantial work and report back as appropriate to the States Assembly.  The renewal of our economy is a complex matter and while it must be worked through promptly, it should not be rushed.  These are significant decisions for Jersey that will have ramifications long into the future.  I have outlined in my speech today the significant work that has already occurred in order to immediately respond to the crisis.  I believe that, based on objective evidence so far, we are in a good place.  Now is the time to let the new structure take place and form detailed plans for the renewal of the economy.  I, therefore, finish by highlighting again that I very much welcome the debate today and I ask Members to engage openly and constructively with the debate in order to support the political oversight group and the new structure in its work to underpin the economic recovery.  I welcome all ideas and concepts from Members, either expressed in the debate today or sent to myself or other Ministers in Government at a later date.  We are now presented with an unprecedented challenge to renew our economy and innovate and creative thinking will be required.  Please assist us in contributing to that thinking.  Ultimately, we need to put in place the right conditions to ensure that our economy emerges as a strong, sustainable and resilient economy that works in the best interests of our whole Island community and, importantly, for future generations.

The Deputy Bailiff:

It was my fault, I was muting myself.

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I am sorry, Sir, can I just check, did you want me to start again or did Members get that?

The Deputy Bailiff:

No, I think we all got that.  Thank you, Senator. 

10.1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Can I start by welcoming this debate as well and thanking the Deputy Chief Minister for proposing this and for the comments he made in his opening remarks?  On behalf of Reform Jersey at least to thank him for his statement saying that our proposals, which we made yesterday, would be considered along with other Members as well.  I think that is a healthy starting point.  I want to say that our intention yesterday, when putting forward our vision for what recovery could look like, was to be positive and demonstrate that our perspective is motivated by our values and our understanding of the history of economic crises.  I appreciate his comments and hope he will accept the good faith with which we proceed with our contribution to this.  I also particularly welcome his emphasis he made saying that the intention of course is to have a recovery which works for all.  I think that point is really important.  In fact I think it is so important that I would urge him and other Ministers to use stronger language to emphasise that point because if I could make one criticism, it is that when I have listened to statements in press conferences and when I have read the report that has accompanied this debate, I think the language is not strong enough.  Just to cite one example there, in this document it does ask us in the debate to focus on the strategic policy of: “Creating a sustainable, vibrant economy and skilled local workforce for the future.”  Then goes on to describe suggestions that impact on the other strategic aim of: “Reducing income inequality and improving the standard of living” to be an associated consideration.  I would say in the spirit of being constructive to the Minister that I do not think that is strong enough.  I think that as we move forward on coming up with a full recovery package, that we need to be much clearer from the outset that our mission throughout this process is not merely to re-establish some good G.P.A. (grade point average) figures or some good unemployment stats on a spreadsheet.  It is to get through this as a stronger community than we came into the crisis and to use that mobilisation that we have now to have dealt with the public health crisis, to also deal with the economic issues that were making life difficult for people beforehand and so that is the theme that will be for my contribution to this debate.  But before going into some of the details on that, I hoped that I could make a point which I believe to be true, which I know my colleagues believe to be true but which some may find challenging, partly for ideological reasons but also because some Members have been around for a while and would have been politically invested in this.  But our view is that the measures which were taken after the 2008 financial crash were a failure.  We do not believe they worked.  In fact we believe that in many instances they ended up having a negative impact on life in Jersey.  It may well be the case that over a period of time after that crash unemployment numbers did go down, which looks good.  It is the case that many of the jobs that were created were insecure jobs, zero-hours contracts, low wages, which have an impact on people’s lives that we cannot overstate and that has to be considered as part of our thinking moving forward.  It is the case that it took years after the 2008 crash for Jersey’s economy to return to growth.  While many in the U.K. were criticising their Government for presiding over a double-dip recession, we were not able to do that here because at that point we had not even left the first recession.  When we did eventually start seeing growth, when you scratched beneath the surface and looked at what had caused that growth, it was not any structural improvement in the economy at that point.  It was merely restructurings that had taken place in the finance industry that caused a blip, essentially, for one year and then the figures the next year were not so good either.  Having had a few years of economic growth at the latter part of that decade, the numbers become clear that the proceeds of that growth were not felt by the vast majority of the people who we represent.  It is the case that in that decade poverty has gone up, that real-terms earnings have been frozen for a decade.  Meanwhile, the number of people earning above £1 million a year quadrupled and at the same time we were pursuing Government policies that were always going to exacerbate that.  We allowed our minimum wage to fall behind the economies we are most closely connected to.  We introduced new taxes, which we were told time and time again at the time were regressive and were going to focus on those who were least able to pay, rather than asking those who were most able to pay and who in that decade had not suffered in the way that others had suffered in terms of their incomes; in fact they had thrived in that time.  We had not asked them to pay their fair share into that to enable us to have the funding we needed to focus on improving services or providing extra support for the economy.  It is our view that that programme was a failure and if it is to be repeated it will be a failure again.  In fact it will probably be worse than last time for the reason that before this public health crisis hit the previous economic crisis had not finished; it was still going on.  In many respects we are simply facing the continuation of that economic crisis, rather than an entirely new one.

[16:15]

Being in a situation now where we can see the horizon on the public health crisis, we are now at a crossroads where we have an opportunity to make some decisions which will affect the future of the Island.  Our failure to act now will mean that, ultimately, further on down the line we will have to pay a greater price in trying to undo some of the exacerbated damage.  I am sure the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture will agree with this point, that of course it is better to keep people in work than it is to have them lose their job and try and find them a new job after that and so we cannot get complacent about that.  To the Minister’s credit, I know he is not complacent about that point either.  I am of the view that many of the measures which we need to take need to be taken well in advance of the next Government Plan and it is not good enough to wait until the end of this year to set out everything we want to do in response to this.  There are some things that we need to undertake sooner.  In putting our proposals for a new deal for Jersey together, we were inspired by the examples which came throughout history of attempts to get through an economic crisis and looking at the failures as well and learning from those mistakes as well, which led to what we have called the 3 Rs.  Of course the report for this debate has its own version of the 3 Rs and there is, of course, some crossover there.  What we have termed the first phase of that response, we have called it relief, which we say stands for the principle that we must continue to support Islanders in the immediate aftermath of this crisis, to stop their own personal crises becoming worse and, therefore, requiring even greater attention and resource later on down the line to get them out of that crisis.  We have, in many respects, done a good job at that so far with the co-funded payroll scheme as one example; introducing financial support for people without 5-years’ residency, something that before the crisis would have been considered a really big deal but something we did really quickly here.  Some may argue that it is not quite adequate and that is, potentially, a fair point to make but it is something.  We are saying that as part of that relief phase what we cannot do is what often happened in the previous decade, which was to cut off support from people and just believe that the solution is waiting for them round the corner and it will magically present itself.  When in reality what that may do, if we cut support for people who are not yet ready for financial independence, either through their income being restored to where it was before or by finding a new job if they were made unemployed, they may instead face destitution, in which case we do not save money because we have to fund them to support them another way and they are not spending money in the local economy, which is not good either.  We are advocating that some action needs to be committed to sooner rather than later so that relief phase or, as the Senator has referred to as the respond phase, people can have confidence that they will continue to be protected from that destitution and not left to face a cliff edge when they are unprepared for it.  That, we believe, will mean not withdrawing some of the financial support schemes that were created to respond to this crisis before people are able to achieve their financial independence and not letting people suffer through that.  We believe it means continuing to provide access for cheaper primary healthcare, while people still have perhaps health conditions that they have not addressed throughout this period because the focus has been on coronavirus and those whose incomes have fallen may have debt as well that they have undertaken, who would not be able to access primary care through the system we had previously and, therefore, would end up costing us more further on down the line if they became much more ill because of that.  Perhaps most controversially of the proposals we have suggested for this phase have been that we believe that our rental market was broken before this crisis and if we do nothing before October when the COVID tenancy regulations fall away, we will simply return to that broken rental market.  But it will be worse for many Islanders because they will be people who have, potentially, not got their jobs back or got their incomes back and may even have debt that they have taken on to be able to make ends meet or pay their bills in the meantime and could end up being hit by their already extortionate rent, a rise in their rent and rental debt all at the same time, which will impinge on their ability to play a full role in our economic recovery because they will not have the money in their pockets.  They will, inevitably, have changes to their lifestyle, some of which may well be very negative and unhealthy because of that financial situation they will be in and that is not right.  It was the case that the Housing Policy Development Board had been looking at decent rent regulation systems that could work in Jersey to mitigate this but that has had to be postponed because of the disruption caused by coronavirus.  Therefore, we would argue that that rent freeze ought to be extended until those rent-regulation proposals have been enacted.  We protect people for a longer period of time and end up putting them back into a system which will work, rather than putting them back into a broken system.  Those are just some ideas for what that relief phase could include.  The second phase, recovery, we believe ought to focus on transforming our economy and our public services with the specific intention of driving up the standard of living.  That is why I challenged the Minister at the beginning of my speech to say we need to be tougher on this because I think the question has got to be asked, if at the end of an economic recovery we do not feel any better off, then what is the point of it?  Is it not the point of the work we do as a Government and as an Assembly to improve the lives of the people we represent?  If our focus is to be on spreadsheets, which do not reflect people’s life experience, then we believe it will be a lost opportunity.  I welcome some of the comments that have been in the run-up to this debate about the living wage.  That is right, some have said that they want a specific aim of this recovery to be to end up in a living-wage economy and I welcome that.  I am optimistic that it is a sincere conversion to this cause that some of us have been supportive of now for many years.  But when you look at some of the lowest-paid jobs in Jersey, some of the jobs in retail, cleaning, some of the care roles as well, in many cases these are the people who we have relied upon so much throughout this crisis.  Some of them are the people who we have been out every Thursday evening to clap for to show our gratitude.  Many of them really do not have decent working terms and conditions and pay.  There is nothing radical in saying that the future we want for Jersey is one where if you are in work you should be earning a wage that you can have a decent standard of living on and not having to rely on benefits.  I welcome the positive comments that have been made on that before now.  But we also know that we are going to face real challenges in the future that we were going to face anyway when it comes to climate change, when it comes to the digital revolution and how the nature of work for many is changing and how there are technologies that will be invented in the next few years that right now we could not even fathom, that will change how we run our lives and how we work.  We have to be sure that Islanders are able to be equipped with the skills they need to take up those jobs, to be productive and to serve our economy and wider public by being good at what they do, whether that is in jobs which are focused on digital skills and that may well require people who are already decades into their careers, having to change career and, therefore, needing support for reskilling.  But also we have commitments on carbon neutrality and playing our part in addressing climate change.  We have now got a great opportunity to say, right, well let us also look at green jobs as well.  If we want to talk about economic stimulus projects, there is loads of stuff we could consider here in terms of renewable energy installation, in terms of insulation in homes would be another great thing to do, provide jobs and skills to people and reduce people’s energy bills at the same time, putting more money in their pockets to then spend in the economy, so there is loads of really good things that can be looked at there.  But we will have to be clear and I am sure this is an aspiration that most people in the Assembly share about ensuring that working people in Jersey can get those skills to play their full part there and ensuring that when those jobs are created the price of the creation of those jobs is not that we settle for them being zero hours and minimum wage, that we say if you have got these skills and performing an important role in our economy, it should come with decent terms and conditions as well.  Perhaps another controversial one here, there are a substantial number of people employed in Jersey whose wages we can dictate because they are employed by us, who over the last 10 years have faced effective pay cuts and who will be, I suspect, not particularly pleased at a suggested prospect of them facing another decade with that.  Why do we not do something different here and say as part of our future Government Plan processes we should be accounting for the fact we expect people to have cost of living pay rises and we expect to be a part of delivering that, so that their standard of living is protected and their ability to spend their money, public money, back into the private sector to help encourage growth as well?  The final phase that we have spoken of we call recovery, which Senator Farnham referred to as renewal, so again there are some similarities there.  We are saying it ought to be about ensuring that we build systematic resilience for future crises, whatever those crises could be, whether that is another pandemic, whether it is a specific climate crisis for Jersey or another economic crisis, we have to be ready for that.  I do not want to be overly critical here because I do think there were lots of parts of our response to this crisis that were really good.  But one criticism you could probably fairly make is that some of the changes we had to make at haste were not done quick enough and in the time it took for them to be set up there were probably great difficulties that people in our community faced, like the length of time it took to put the co-funded payroll scheme together.  I am aware of business people who in those weeks where they knew they were going to be eligible but were not able to claim yet will have been really struggling throughout that time.  If we know that in a future crisis if that were something we would have to think about in some shape or form again, if we were able to implement something quicker because we had something we could pull off the shelf, that could end up mitigating future economic damage that could be caused by that.  One point which I know my party colleagues have raised on several occasions over the last few months has been the agreement between the Government and Jersey’s G.P.s, which, again, we think took too long to establish, although we respect how hard the Minister for Health and Social Services worked in difficult circumstances to achieve that and ultimately achieved something that was a very positive step.  In the event of a future health crisis where we know that we need our health expertise focused on the areas where they are most needed to respond to that health crisis, we will need to do that quickly.  We have turned to the view, and it is not a view that was enshrined in our policy beforehand, that the Government employment of G.P.s is inherently a good thing and ought to continue.

[16:30]

We would like to see that arrangement not given up in August but continued into the future.  That will require bravery from the Government to do that but we believe it will be right for Islanders, good for our recovery and reforming those aspects of how we respond to crises in the future, that it is so important it ought to be something we exercise our jurisdiction over and get done.  Another part of that will be, again, something which some people really … which is the ownership model that we have of our utilities or most of our utilities, is a real success story that leaves no argument for saying should not apply to other utilities that, frankly, have acted in a shameful way during this crisis.  If you look at the response to the crisis of States-owned companies; Andium Homes, who have done an absolutely wonderful job at stepping forward to work with Government to help address some of the real tough homelessness issues that we faced has been fantastic.  Our telecoms company increasing internet speeds and providing free internet access for children and care leavers.  We have seen an announcement today from Jersey Post of the work it is going to do to help students get their belongings back to Jersey.  Jersey Electricity prevented a planned price increase.  All of those, either Government-owned or majority-Government-owned, playing their part in our strategic response to a crisis, contrasted with Jersey Gas.  Their response to the crisis was to whack up their fees 6.5 per cent and then send hundreds of notices out threatening to cut off people from their gas supply, behaviour which was totally wrong and engaging in discussions with Government about funding where they were not as forthright with the information that they could have been and should have been to enable Government to do what it wanted to do, which was to support that utility and its consumers.  We say if that ownership model worked so successfully with the other utilities, why should it be controversial to say that it would not be successful working with others?  In summary, on that last phase of reform, I think it is clear that we need in future a clear crisis response plan that can be implemented in the event of a future crisis and provides some of that clarity and confidence from day one that if we are honest with ourselves we did struggle with throughout this crisis.  We think it has shown that reforming our tax model is more essential than ever.  You can argue: “Well, you would say that, would you not, because you have always believed that?” and of course that is true, but the fact that we had to prevent money going into the Social Security Fund to enable us to have access to cash flow is surely a demonstration that there is a problem with our social security contribution system, and so if we want to avoid having to make those sorts of decisions in future let us take advantage of this opportunity to fix it now.  Those are some of the ideas that we wish to propose as part of the recovery programme for Jersey.  We believe that what we have said provides an emphasis on what our ultimate aim is with this recovery.  People-focus, focus on improving standards of living and delivering at the end of it a fairer society for everybody to enjoy and one that is equipped for the challenges of the future is the right thing to do.  We have put that proposal out in the positive spirit I hope that it is received and I for one will look forward to hearing the thoughts of other Members whose experience through this crisis in representing their constituents I am sure will lead them to have important suggestions for those considerations.  I look forward to being able to play a role in delivering a recovery that works for all, but I do have to make the point, going back to what I said at the outset of my contribution here, that an austerity approach like what was tried after the 2008 crisis will not work.  I hope that this Assembly will have the wisdom to reject it if it is proposed again, because I think we owe it to the people who have struggled and sacrificed a lot through this crisis to deliver them better, and now we have the opportunity to do that.

10.1.2The Deputy of St. Martin:

This is interesting.  As an in-committee debate people have the opportunity to speak as many times as they like under your discretion, obviously.  I wonder if Senator Mézec has said everything he is going to, but I am surprised that there are not more people queuing up to speak at this stage and all the way through the Senator’s speech I was waiting for others, and here they come now, indicating that they wanted to say anything.  I want to chip in with a few ideas at this point, and they will be just a few, because I was inclined to speak when I heard the Senator talking about phases and we have got some fine words there, plenty of vision, talking about his ideals and his ultimate aims.  I do worry because when Senator Farnham was speaking as well we hear a lot about medium and long-term and that is fine and you do have to have a medium and a long-term plan, but my worry is always that if you cannot get through the short-term there is no point having a medium and a long-term plan if there is nobody there when you get to the medium-term.  For me, it is getting businesses going again that is the most important thing.  It is getting people back to work and it is getting money flowing around the system, because one of the biggest problems that businesses are facing is that the whole economy has ground to a halt in some parts of it, and we have got to find ways of getting that moving again.  I was part of the Government when we signed up to the living wage.  It was not this Government, it was the previous Government who brought the living wage on and I stick by that decision and it is an important goal and an important ideal, but we must not rush to do it in such a way that we restrict business from getting going again.  The other thing we must do if we are going to aim for the living wage, which we must, is we have to accept that we do have some sectors in our economy that cannot afford per se to pay those rates and Government are going to have to come up with a scheme or schemes whereby they can help people in agriculture, people in hospitality who run these businesses to pay a living wage, but they are going to have to find ways of putting money back into those sectors of the economy to make sure that those businesses stay profitable enough to stay in business.  Farmers, for example, will not be able to produce crops locally if they are forced to pay the living wage without some sort of help financially in another part of their business.  I want to leave it there now and I will start with just a few ideas because I am going to come back and talk very heavily about the Island Plan later.  Some of the ideas that you could throw into the mix about helping small businesses get going again and getting those staff back into work, get them earning proper money so that they can take home and start this cash flow around the economy again is we could look at, and these are not firm suggestions, just ideas, Parishes giving rates holidays to commercial businesses.  I accept some of the Constables will already be frowning at this, but we could look at Social Security giving holidays on social security and not deferments, because that is a sword of Damocles around some businesses, for businesses to know when they might get back up and running again.  They are still going to have these major deferments to fill.  We could look at Government potentially buying some debt from small businesses.  We have got some really good small businesses that have only come to grief purely because their businesses have hit a brick wall and cash flow has not been going round.  Good businesses just need a bit of help to get through.  Maybe we could consider buying some debt from them.  We must look at pre-packing insolvencies.  Even in the short term we have got to make sure that some businesses do not use that opportunity to cut their losses and start again immediately and write off that debt, because if people can pay debt they must be made to do that.  We could look at finding ways to make sure that insurance companies pay up on business interruption claims that they are getting.  I know there is some potential naughtiness that has been going on there, and finally the Buy Local campaign, which we have not debated today, which will come back at the next sitting.  It is really important to keep money going around the local economy and I cannot remember the numbers off the top of my head, but there is a calculation that says every pound spent locally goes round and there is a multiplying factor, and that is vital as well.  I will leave it there for now.  As I said, I am going to come back with some ideas on the Island Plan and why that is such an important document for me, but I will let some other Members come up with some ideas of their own.

10.1.3The Deputy of St. Peter:

I will be slightly different in my approach.  We need to invest our way out of this financial predicament and we were discussing the revolving credit loan this morning, but we need a big bond.  Interest rates are at an all-time low and we should be able to secure a coupon around a per cent.  What are we going to do with it?  Part of that investment must be to educate our Island’s Luddites and I apologise to the few in the Island who have been working tirelessly to change attitudes.  These people need our support and appreciation.  Today’s world is about data, big data and importantly the sharing of data.  In the 1990s the vogue was C.R.M. (customer relationship management) and the idea was to get a better understanding of your customers so you could sell them more by cross-selling.  M. and A.’s (Mergers and Acquisitions) took place to enable new products to be sold to existing customers and vice versa.  This invariably involved a 3-tier distribution channel, co-ordinating a part of a network outside your own organisation, but sharing data.  Now, I do not know why I remembered this, but I remember in the 1990s reading something from the Post Office and why they came up with these facts I do not know, but they suggest it is 6 times harder to sell to a new customer than an existing one.  These are the sorts of statistics that drove this change and this led to cross-selling across seamlessly incompatible products and services, and I do not know if anybody remembers supermarkets becoming banks.  We all know about Amazon and in 25 years it has become the world’s most valuable company, built on the same principle.  Amazon is a virtual superstore of multiple vendors sharing data and customers to deliver a seamless buying experience, one credit card leading to multiple deliveries from multiple vendors.  Supermarket loyalty cards collect data and offer targeted promotions to you of products you may want to buy.  With the app they can target you so cleverly that if you went to a store on your birthday they can point you to a product they know you would like as a present and give it to you.  This all increases sales, customer satisfaction and convenience.  I could go on but the above has been enabled by an exponential growth, adoption and, importantly, acceptance of technology.  It is about attitude and desire.  A subtle difference and important to note is that more growth is gained by companies that produce their own tech than by companies that use tech for growth.  In today’s world, data is about sharing, as you will have judged by my theme.  Gone are the days when ownership and tight control of your department is empowerment.  The sharing of data in a controlled secure way is that power.  It is absolutely clear that one plus one equals a lot more than 2.  I do not know if anybody is familiar with or heard of open banking.  Open banking is a secure way to give providers access to your financial information, so other banks and service providers, for example, can look at your spending trends through your banking transactions and offer services that you may like, i.e., if you are under-spending every month, which we all hope we can be, why leave money earning no interest in the bank?  You can be offered investment opportunities to help improve the value of your hard-earned income.  Who would have thought this possible just even a few years ago?  I am using this potted history to show how the world has embraced change and I am afraid, in spite of the valiant few I referred to earlier, I do not see it here in Jersey at a level that can enable us to not only survive but to thrive as we come out of this pandemic.  Closer to home, we must look at ways to improve the productivity of our finance sector.  I am amazed that D.D. (due diligence) and know your client information cannot be shared.  Having to repeat the process for every bank account is so inefficient and presents a poor and frustrating customer experience.  Why is there not a central D.D. register?  We must embrace the adoption of A.I. (artificial intelligence) and must encourage its use.  Comments I am hearing and attitudes I have witnessed since moving back to Jersey remind me of the historical definition of Luddite.

[16:45] 

They were members of a band of English workers who destroyed machinery especially in cotton and woollen mills that they believed were threatening their jobs.  Okay, that is in the early 19th century, and maybe it is just me, but the only people who open up with pride and say what they are doing in Jersey are the tech start-ups.  Everyone else is tight-lipped.  Yes, we have plenty of seminars and marketing events suggesting what others should do, but how effective are they?  I despair of the answers and responses I get when I question the use of technology with any of the Scrutiny Panels I participate in.  At best I would use the word “apathy”.  Maybe there is no confidence in the outcomes that have prevented investment.  I do not know, but given the recent major advance in digital health I hope we will be brave enough to embrace it for our new hospital and care model.  Let me assure you, technology creates more jobs than it replaces.  It creates higher paid jobs.  It creates fantastic career and travel opportunities.  Major banks now have about one-third of their staff in I.T. (information technology) both directly and indirectly.  Cities have grown from almost nothing on technology.  San Francisco is vast.  Pune and Bangalore in India, Taiwan, et cetera.  The results are huge increases in productivity.  Productivity equals better profits, higher salaries, higher tax returns and therefore more to spend on social services and the essential services for our society and our community.  On the other side, think positives here, the drive to home working and the way the Island has set up and adapted to this change is fantastic.  We have seen an improved use of online ordering for home delivery that is only the tip of the iceberg but is encouraging and proves what can be done if we have to.  We have amazing broadband and 4G, and all of the above is why exceptional technology talent, sorry Chief Minister, should be at the top table of the political oversight group.  A final comment, coming to the table and most importantly to close with, any investment must start with extensive tech education opportunities for our children, starting today.

10.1.4Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

The Channel Islands are described in various ways, but I tend to describe Jersey as being a jewel in the English Channel that has many entrepreneurs living on it.  This is an opportunity to involve all entrepreneurs to create business, to create opportunities and to move forward with digital, with, as the previous speaker said, tech.  We cannot afford, in a high-cost jurisdiction such as Jersey, to be reliant upon commodity-type business.  We need to aim at high quality, high price ventures that are going to give the type of margins and the type of returns that this Island requires.  We are not a commodity Island.  We are too expensive, as an Island, to be exploiting commodity areas.  When we look at agriculture, and I have significant experience as you know as a former dairy farmer, we have looked to export many products in the past at commodity prices.  It was a disaster.  I am seeing now the potato industry happening in a similar way.  If we are going to help the potato industry we need to ensure that the product, the Jersey Royal, the finest potato in the world, is exported as precisely that.  It is the finest potato.  It should not be competing with other early potatoes or other potatoes on the shelf.  My fear is that we are seeing it competing as a commodity, not as a premium product.  Marketing is the most important issue, marketing the Island both for tourism, finance, agriculture or whatever the direction.  We need to market it as not a commodity centre but as a centre of excellence.  I will leave it there for now and I am very interested to hear what everybody else has to say.  To sign off and put a fly in the ointment, an area that I have studied is population.  How are we going to respond to population in the future?  Should we allow the Island’s growth and success to be followed by an increase in population or are we going to let population dictate what progress we can make in the future?

10.1.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

I believe we can speak more than once so I am going to briefly introduce, because I think there will be issues tomorrow when everyone is refreshed that I would like to cover again.  I am very pleased that we are having this debate, and it is an interesting approach to have a template for discussion sent to us by the Minister.  I believe that at the most basic level this debate around economy is about the generation of income and the subsequent generation of wealth and how we use that wealth.  For far too long we have judged the success of our society on the level of wealth we can generate and idolise those who have amassed huge fortunes.  The COVID emergency for many has pressed the reset button on what and who we truly value.  We have stood outside and clapped our carers and front line staff, none of whom work to amass large fortunes.  We recognise how important those who work in our shops and services are to the quality of our lives.  Never has a “good morning” from the people who run our local shop been so important to my well-being, and I want to thank our postal staff, a lynchpin to our community, for example, who are there every single day.  When we discuss the economic recovery we must do so in a context of why we generate wealth and the underlying foundations of our society.  It is here that I am so pleased to hear us openly discussing being a living wage economy.  Let us think about that.  The Minister’s template suggested we may consider how we reposition to become a living wage economy.  The emergency has clearly exposed that far too many in Jersey are not earning a wage that they can live on.  How many members of our community, how many families, have been confronted with the reality that they are one or 2 pay packets away from a food bank or homelessness?  This is simply not good enough for a modern, wealthy economy.  This level of insecurity is damaging to every element of our well-being, and certainly damages the future of our children.  I make a plea that we do not simply discuss how we become a living wage economy, but we establish this as a basic right for every worker.  This move creates a baseline for employment, improves lives, provides money to spend in our economy and most of all gives value to our workforce.  We must ask the question, and it is a difficult question, if a business can only survive by paying a wage that a worker cannot live on is it a viable business in a modern, developed economy and if that is the case what can we do to improve that?  It is interesting that the term “human capital” was included in the email from the Minister.  I looked up the definition of this.  As a noun it is: “The skills, knowledge and experience possessed by an individual or population viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organisation or country.”  This clinical approach to human beings as commodities like any other must be reassessed.  I know that the hardnosed free marketeers will be shifting in their seats but I urge you to think about the consequences of seeing human beings as commodities to be exploited like any other natural resource.  For many in this Assembly you have done well for yourself.  You have a home or even more than one home, an income, and you are probably set for life and, yes, you will have worked hard for that but so do so many others who are trapped in a cycle of low wages, high rent, high living costs and insecurity in their future.  One measure of our success as leaders must surely be to end that damaging cycle.  There is value for business in having a sustainable structure that has a wealthier workforce and indeed a healthier workforce, both in the retention of staff and the quality of the work they produce.  It is up to us to support this as a model for our business sectors.  This is the only way to preserve the well-being of the sectors in our economy referred to as foundation sectors.  This is already recognised by the finance sector and many employers on the Island and it is a political decision to do this and we are elected politicians who have to take these decisions.  Do you truly value those you stood and clapped or will we quickly revert to seeing this human capital as collateral in the battles of the unfettered free market?  I believe this Assembly has a moral compass.  I see it all the time in my interaction with Members, but we must take care that its direction is not skewed by the magnetism of excessive wealth.  We have seen growing inequality and now is the time to genuinely address this scourge of an unfair society.  When we look at the important points of building the economy, the digital sector, and I would like to say more about that tomorrow, because I think the definition of that is so important, then we need to be very careful in the way that we address these issues.  I will finish there and the point of this opening speech is that we have to look at the context of why we are building this economy, what we want to do with it for the people of this Island and how we not only want to protect our youngest and everybody else in our society but to help them thrive and help them grow in a society where they have rights, a decent standard of living and a basic standard of living that every single one of us would see as suitable for our own lives.

10.1.6Deputy J.H. Young:

What I would like to do is steer the debate into a different direction and give Members some ideas to think about for tomorrow, because like everybody else I am certainly getting tired.  I will put these out there.  We have had a report from the Minister, a discussion paper, and Members have had an aide-memoire and the bottom item on that is sustainability.  Whatever we do here in the recovery programme I think seeing green and environmental issues as being, if you like, in a compartment of their own is a mistake.  Those policies need to be completely an integral part of whatever we do within our own economy.  I think the events in recent months have demonstrated that there is a willingness for people to think differently and behave differently and I think that means they will have different criteria in their mind when they are making investment and spending decisions.  I think Members need to ask ourselves, we all need to ask ourselves, is there scope in Jersey for a green investment package to support standards and stimulate innovative solutions?  Secondly, and here I have been drawn to the work that has been done in other places and particularly from the U.K. Committee on Climate Change, absolutely loaded with experts, economic experts, experts who see the connections between environmental and green issues, a green economy, and paying our way and earning our living.  They have come up with on their recent reports several major principles that are worth thinking about and I invite Members to read it.  They are on the website, if Members want to look up the Committee on Climate Change website, and there is more detail there.  The first principle is using climate investments to support economic recovery and jobs.  Obviously here in the Channel Islands we have got a massive opportunity for that.  We have enormous potential for wind power and solar energy and indeed of course close to the other Channel Islands, and in partnership with others, tidal power in future.  Secondly, leading a shift towards positive long-term behaviours, such as, and as has been mentioned already, home working.  From where I see it a lot of people really have now seen the benefits of home working.  It is economically effective and what I think we are starting to see is that businesses who have been fleet of foot and adaptable, such as those businesses in the finance sector, and have been able to facilitate remote working with their infrastructure and so on, and are equipped for it, are doing much better than those businesses who find they are not able to accommodate.  I am sure that those who find themselves in that latter position will see the benefit in the longer term of making that investment.  So home working, remote medical consultations definitely and then issues to do with vehicles.  I hope we are bold in this.

[17:00]

I do not think we want to go back to how we used to travel around the Island in our solo cars at no cost and pollute the environment.  I do not think people want to do that.  The investment that people have made in bicycles and the amount of people walking the roads and the lanes is enormous.  They want to see us try to stimulate and embody those changes and in what we do in our economy.  Then of course we have got this question of embedding fairness and here I am absolutely 4-square with Senator Mézec in that fairness is an important principle in any economy.  If people feel the system is skewed against people, that the people who are at the top get great advantages and others do not, we are always going to underachieve as an economy.  I think there are plenty of lessons to draw on from what went on in history.  If you go back to the 1930s recession where people felt disconnected, so we want to make sure that the actions we take and the strategies definitely have got that fairness and that those who lose or have jobs threatened have got opportunities to replace those jobs in the new economy.  We do not want to lock in a fifth principle.  We do not want to lock in greenhouse gas emissions or increase the risk of environmental damage by supporting carbon-intensive sectors.  We want to make lasting action for climate change and I think there is this issue of incentives.  We really here need to have tax structures and financial structures and incentives that do reduce emissions and I think we need it hand-in-hand as part of our economic recovery work to think about tax structures.  That leads us to the opportunities for carbon pricing and so on in the economy in the longer term and these are things that I think are exciting if we got them right, and they need a lot of thinking about and a lot of expert work.  Then I suppose there is an issue that again I wanted in this initial speech just to put these thoughts in people’s minds.  What are people’s expectations about the role in international finance and investment towards sustainable investment?  Is Jersey likely to be affected by moves in other societies and other places away from unsustainable carbon polluting businesses and so on?  I think that is something that we should think about in Jersey and are there positive opportunities to reshape how we do things?  Of course, absolutely right, this can only be done with the involvement of industries and the Chief Minister’s group and personally I have said to the Chief Minister I would like to see that group rather wider in its breadth, but I do not quite yet understand the structure of that group we have got.  We have got a steering group and then we have got policy accounts or something.  I do not really mind as long as there is a breadth across the range of things in the community.  I have probably tired Members out with those few thoughts.  I would like to hear other Members speak on that so I can listen, but we are at the beginning of this and I do not want to see those subjects missed out in this agenda.  It is important they are part and parcel of the route that we go towards recovery.

10.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

Thank you to everybody who has spoken so far.  I am sure the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture is grateful for everybody’s engagement and I certainly have been, because already it is clear how much we have to learn from each other.  Sadly for many Members this I hope is my initial speech as others have said before me, so please do not tire of my voice too quickly.  I think it is important to begin by explaining the importance of the economy to Islanders’ well-being.  Too often the economy is portrayed as being at odds with the majority of people’s prosperity.  Quite simply, it is not.  The economy is a social construct that helps us develop as individuals by providing purpose through work, the means to improve ourselves through the purchase of services and goods and it helps bind us as a society.  Think about how isolated many of us are today as we have adopted strategies to mitigate against COVID-19.  By providing workplaces, locations for entertainment and leisure, our pubs, cafes and restaurants, the economy constantly brings us together as a community of many communities.  Of course the economy also provides money that helps fund public finances, enabling the Government to provide education, health services and social and physical security but today I feel the emphasis needs to be on realising the full potential of enterprise to transform people’s lives for the better rather than Government’s ability to provide services for if the former is in place then the second will certainly follow.  I have grown up in an Island in which I knew I could be ambitious.  Whether I wanted to start a business or work my way up through an organisation the possibilities were real and the options plenty.  I must say that there was one caveat.  There was the problem of the dominance of the finance sector.  As someone who did not want to be an accountant it did at times seem as though avoiding the finance sector would be difficult, but the truth is that I found my way into alternatives and I am grateful for that.  Today, however, the options for Islanders to realise their potential are far wider than they were in the 1990s and we can see that in the enormous range of businesses and organisations that offer differing routes to personal fulfilment.  There is no doubt in my mind that one of the key factors that we must preserve and indeed enhance is the freedom for Islanders to set up their own firms and to achieve something together with others.  There are however ways in which we can enhance this freedom.  We should harness the intellectual capital that we have in Jersey to create a new suite of entities that enables social enterprise, co-operatives and companies that require lower levels of regulation because they cannot be owned by off-Island entities, so can be targeted at helping Islanders achieve their ambitions.  In this vein I also suggest that we create a new type of entity that is focused on promoting sustainability, both social and environmental.  Indeed, this could be at the vanguard of Jersey leading the way as a finance centre by creating new standards in ethical business that can be adopted by firms around the world.  After all that I have just said it will come as no surprise that sustainability is at the heart of my vision for Jersey’s future economy.  By sustainability I mean long-lasting.  This alone means that Jersey’s economy has to put society and the environment at its heart.  It has to deliver prosperity, not just money.  It has to be realistic about Jersey’s limits and accept that we cannot infinitely support an economy that requires ever greater numbers of people in order to deliver greater prosperity.  This decoupling of economic and social prosperity from population growth is fundamental to Jersey’s future success.  The living wage has been highlighted already and I completely agree with the view that we must move to this as quickly as possible.  To do so would free up Government finances that we can recycle into those sectors that would be hardest hit by such a rapid move but the stark reality is that paying someone a wage that does not enable them to live in Jersey is an immoral position and businesses that do pay too little to live are, in the long-term, a drain on society as well as a drain on public finances.  Sustainability can also be enhanced by harnessing Jersey’s expertise in the finance sector.  We need to develop a local source of financing for both individuals and businesses.  Jersey needs to develop a credit union that can help Islanders save and support themselves.  The Island should also capitalise a bank for sustainable infrastructure investment, an institution that can help finance local infrastructure and provide finance for sustainable infrastructure abroad.  The model is already out there; this is not something new.  Jersey just needs to get moving.  I also think that a very simple but important change needs to take place about economic thinking within the Government.  The Economic Development Department in my view needs to become the Sustainable Economic Development Department.  It also needs to change its thinking about the economy and include the environment and society into the work it does.  A sustainable economy will focus on prosperity for all over the long-term.  It will put prosperity before growth and so will become a real force for change, enabling the Island to become more resilient in every sector, from agriculture to digital to finance, to retail, hospitality.  A Sustainable Economic Development Department will engage in research and will move closer to other Islands, learning and sharing with them, so that we can all become more prosperous.  Jersey is engaged in the wider world, but strangely it is not engaged with understanding Island living, and so I believe that there is a great deal that we can do to understand what it means to live in such a small and finite place, and we should share that with others as well.  I will leave it there, having renamed the Minister’s department and built new institutions, and I look forward to hearing what other Members have to say.

10.1.8Senator S.C. Ferguson:

As you might expect, I have a few comments and opinion on things that have been said.  I was delighted to hear the speech of the Deputy of St. Peter.  I think the inclusion of technology and so on is absolutely essential and I would like to see the Education Department appreciate the fact that they have been offered free computers from a local foundation to get children being able to code at an early stage in their lives, at 9 or 10 years old.  It is absolutely stupid not to have taken it up, particularly when they were free.  We have got too little automation to improve productivity.  I might say that we have probably got too many high level civil servants, but that is a story for another day.  I note the suggestion that we nationalise the doctors.  Well, you cannot expect them to stay in the Island if their businesses are taken away from them and it will be quite expensive to pay them out.  Rents.  The 90 per cent of market rate is absolute rubbish, because the States makes the market.  Why has the Minister not attended to this already?  It is no use just saying they are going to put rent control in because rent control does not work.  It just pins down the prices and if you take it off they just go through the roof.  I have seen how it works in New York.  Again, we need to get rid, perhaps, of middle management.  We have got too many layers of management between the top and the bottom of the States organisation and possibly in some of the other businesses.  I think we must remember that the cake is only so big and too big a slice for one section of the community reduces the share for another.  We have got to think about that one if we want to be fair.  The other thing people seem to forget is that all Government spending is our money that they are spending.  It is taxpayers’ money.  Yes, we do need an overall review of tax because the average rate that is paid by the public is 11 per cent to 12 per cent the last time I checked.  At the same time there were only about 5,260 people paying at the full 20 per cent, so, yes, we do need to look at it but not to the point where we start putting up the rates.  We cannot afford the £600 million-worth of climate change.  Can we please stop parroting people who have no proper scientific training and who do not understand the scientific method?  Some environmental suggestions make sense, like insulating houses and I quite agree with that, but some are rubbish, like the obsession with carbon dioxide, which just happens to be a plant food, rather than pollution, which I do support.  The utilities acting shamefully, well, I gather J.T. (Jersey Telecom) want to put prices up higher than inflation.  Is that not shameful?  Jersey Gas, it is not owned fully or partly by Government and I agree the prices are in excess of the retail price of L.N.G. (liquefied natural gas).  Very few people, I think it is mainly the restaurants that are using gas at the moment.  One way to make them do something sensible with their prices is for people not to use gas. 

[17:15]

The green investment package and the green policies, sorry, it does not make sense.  The talk about remote medical consultations, I know quite a lot of people in the medical profession or ancillaries who say it is very important for doctors to be able to see their clients, their patients.  If you are just doing it on the phone you cannot see that your patient is slightly yellow or is too red or something like that.  It does not make sense.  It is a lovely idea but, sorry, it does not work.  The greenhouse gas effort, I am sorry, that is not blue sky thinking, that is more like a thick fog.  In fact developed communities do reduce pollution when they become more profitable communities and I think we need to realise that if we are going to get business going again we cannot afford £600 million on all the climate change policies.  Do we want another £500 million credit limit on top of the one we have got?  I do not think so.  We have got to work smart.  We have not got to just follow the fads that are put out by 14 year-old school children.  Sorry, not on, but anyway I shall no doubt come back with a few more trenchant comments on things. 

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I wanted to quickly remind Members that I did send out a note last night with some ideas for some subjects but I was rather embarrassed because it was quite late and I had been paying some special attention to education, skills and training, which were when thinking about some of the challenges we went into the debate with, for example productivity, poor productivity in certain sectors or falling productivity in certain sectors, population challenges and of course skills shortage so I really wanted to ask Members if they would excuse me for that and think about those subjects in future speeches.  I think it has been a long day and I know Members would perhaps want time to think about how they might contribute to the debate tomorrow.  Can I propose the adjournment just a few minutes early this evening and propose that we start again tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. when Members will be refreshed?

The Deputy Bailiff:

The adjournment has been proposed and I see it has been seconded and supported by Members [Seconded].

Deputy R. Labey:

Yes, I think Senator Farnham is absolutely correct.  It has come to its natural conclusion for this first stage of the in-committee debate and I am sure that Members will come back a bit more refreshed.  I think there is a reluctance now to contribute and we should start fresh in the morning.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you very much.  Accordingly the States stands adjourned until 9.30 a.m. tomorrow.

ADJOURNMENT

[17:20]

 

1

 


[3] Following the meeting, the Minister for Health and Social Services provided the following information:

97 contacts were identified for the 14 confirmed cases between 11th and 29th May. Of the 97, 86 were direct contacts (assessed as contact with the positive for more than 15 mins within 2m without PPE) and 11 indirect contacts (contact in PPE or less than 15mins, etc.).

Of the above 97 contacts, 86 were successfully contacted by Environmental Health. 11 contacts were unable to be contacted: 1 was an indirect, 10 were directs.

 

[4] Following the meeting, the Minister for Health and Social Services provided the following information:

Data Source

OMNI

Data as at

1030 on 03/06/2020

 

 

Total number of people PCR tested

7156

Number of people > 1 PCR Test

964

 

The below table indicates how many tests individuals have had.

E.g. 6192 individuals have had one PCR test, 770 individuals have had 2 PCR tests, and so on.

Number of People

Number of Tests

6192

1

770

2

140

3

28

4

19

5

7

>5

 

Excluding Clearance Testing

 

Clearance testing is tests carried out after a positive result has been received.

Number of People

Number of tests (non clearance)

6305

1

691

2

121

3

22

4

11

5

6

6

 

[5] Following the meeting, the Minister for Health and Social Services provided the following information:

Dr Muscat has advised that the Ackerman paper of 21/5/20 in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that, unlike the post-mortem changes in pulmonary failure seen with influenza, that in COVID additionally shows endothelial damage, widespread thrombosis and new vessel growth. The clinical and therapeutic implications of this are being explored.

[6] Following the meeting, the Minister for Health and Social Services provided the following information:

There is a limited capacity in the present pilot scheme which is also now dealing with day 4 testing and will soon be dealing with day 7 testing. Designing a retrospective application would remove staff from work on other priorities and by the time it was designed it would be of little practical benefit. There would also be a need to revert to STAC for advice including which tests to administer to retrospective applicants.

[7] Following the meeting, the Minister for Health and Social Services provided the following information:

82 people were exempted from isolation, most of them being workers on the Nightingale Wing and the Energy from Waste plant.

 

[8] Following the meeting, the Minister for Infrastructure provided the following written answer:

Answer:

I understand there are equivalent laws in Holland regarding cycling although this was not gone into in any detail on my trip there last year.

It would not be feasible to give away highway codes to those purchasing bicycles. The highway code is freely available on gov.je

https://www.gov.je/sitecollectiondocuments/travel%20and%20transport/idjerseyhighwaycodepdf20090923clem.pdf

I do agree that cyclists need to adhere to the highway code, but I have no powers to make them do so. It is a policing matter.

 

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