Hansard 2nd December 2019

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

MONDAY, 2nd DECEMBER 2019

PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption

1.Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): twenty-first Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(21))

1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

1.1.1Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

1.1.2Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

1.1.3Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

1.1.4Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen:

1.1.5Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

1.1.6Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

1.1.7Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

1.1.8Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

1.1.9Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

1.1.10Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

1.1.11Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

1.1.12Deputy G.C. Guida of St. Lawrence:

1.1.13Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

1.1.14Senator S.C. Ferguson:

1.1.15Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

1.1.16Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

1.1.17Senator I.J. Gorst:

1.1.18Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

1.1.19Senator S.Y. Mézec:

1.2Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): eighth Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(8))

1.2.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

1.2.2Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

1.2.3Deputy M.R. Higgins:

1.3Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): second Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2))

1.3.1Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

1.4Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): second Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2)) – Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2)Amd.)

1.4.1Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour (The Minister for Infrastructure - rapporteur):

1.4.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

1.4.3Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier:

1.4.4Deputy J.H. Perchard:

1.4.5Deputy M. Tadier:

1.4.6Deputy R.J. Ward:

1.4.7Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

1.4.8Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

1.4.9Deputy L.B.E. Ash:

1.4.10Deputy T. Pointon of St. John:

1.4.11Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

1.4.12The Connétable of St. Brelade:

1.4.13Deputy D. Johnson of St. Mary:

1.4.14The Deputy of St. Ouen:

1.4.15Senator S.C. Ferguson:

1.4.16Deputy R. Labey:

1.4.17Deputy K.C. Lewis:

1.5Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): second Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2)) - resumption

1.5.1Senator L.J. Farnham:

1.5.2Deputy M. Tadier:

1.5.3Connétable J.E. Le Maistre of Grouville:

1.5.4Deputy J.M. Maçon:

1.5.5Deputy R. Labey:

1.6Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019) - as amended

1.6.1Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

1.6.2Senator L.J. Farnham:

1.6.3Senator K.L. Moore:

1.6.4The Connétable of St. John:

1.6.5Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:

1.6.6The Connétable of St. Helier:

1.6.7Deputy M. Tadier:

1.6.8The Connétable of St. Brelade:

1.6.9Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

1.6.10Deputy R.J. Ward:

1.6.11Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

1.6.12Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

1.6.13Deputy G.P. Southern:

1.6.14Deputy J.M. Maçon:

1.6.15Deputy K.F. Morel:

1.6.16Deputy G.J. Truscott:

1.6.17Senator S.Y. Mézec:

1.6.18Senator T.A. Vallois:

1.6.19Deputy S.J. Pinel:

2.Draft Social Security (Amendment of Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201- (P.110/2019)

2.1Deputy J.A. Martin (The Minister for Social Security):

2.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

2.3Deputy J.A. Martin:

2.4Draft Social Security (Amendment of Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201- (P.110/2019): Amendment. (P.110/2019 Amd)

2.4.1Senator K.L. Moore (Chair, Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel):

2.5Draft Social Security (Amendment of Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201- (P.110/2019) - as amended

2.5.1Deputy M. Tadier:

2.5.2Senator S.Y. Mézec:

2.5.3Deputy J.A. Martin:

2.6Deputy J.A. Martin:

3.Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law 201- (P.109/2019) - as amended (P.109/2019 Amd.)

3.1Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.2Deputy S.J. Pinel:

3.3Deputy S.J. Pinel:

3.4Deputy S.J. Pinel:

3.5Deputy S.J. Pinel:

3.6Deputy S.J. Pinel:

3.7Deputy S.J. Pinel:

4.Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law 201- (P.109/2019)

4.1Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

5.Deputy R. Labey (Chairman, Privileges and Procedures Committee):

ADJOURNMENT


[9:30]

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

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption

1.Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): twenty-first Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(21))

The Bailiff:

We now resume consideration of the Government Plan and we have reached the Amendment by Senator Mézec, Amendment number 21, and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 3, paragraph (h)(ii) After the words from the Funds insert the words , except that the proposed increase in the Long-Term Care (L.T.C.) Charge shall not be implemented and the cap on L.T.C. contributions shall be abolished, so it is applied at 1 per cent across the board for all taxpayers, reducing the estimated closing balance on the Long-Term Care Fund in 2020, as shown in Summary Table 8(iii), by £19.7 million.

1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

The benefit, of course, of having to propose an Amendment, which is very similar to one that I did last week, but having a weekend in-between, surely means I can deliver exactly the same speech again with impunityBut Members will be pleased to know that I will not necessarily do that, as I think Members understand the issues hereIn this version of this Amendment, the effect of it is to completely cancel the planned rise in the L.T.C., which was initially to be from 1 per cent to 2 per cent, but because of another Amendment, is now scheduled to be 1 per cent to 1.5 per centThis Amendment is to completely cancel that and instead lift the regressive cap which exists for L.T.C. tax, which sees the richest people in our society proportionately pay less than everybody else.  It therefore extends, by several years, the time in which we will need to think about how L.T.C. moves forward after thatI have the benefit of being able to say that I was absolutely crystal clear in the election manifesto, which myself and my colleagues stood on, where we said and I quote: We will abolish the tax cap on the long-term care charge, so that Islanders pay the same rate, rather than allow the wealthiest Islanders to pay a lower rate.  The reason that I feel so strongly about this is because Jersey, to be fair, like many other places in the western world, is a society where the rich gets to play by one set of rules and the rest of us are expected to play by a different setWe have a regressive social security contributions cap, which limits the amount that those who are most able to pay have to pay into these basic public services, which any of us may need to rely uponWe have a top rate of income tax of 20 per cent, which is extremely lenient compared to most other parts of EuropeWe have a high net worth individual system, where many people can, essentially, skip the housing queue, come to the Island and pay extremely preferential tax rates on the basis of what I think is pretty flimsy evidence that there is any economic benefit to the IslandMeanwhile, we have Islanders now paying a Goods and Services Tax on food that many other countries do not applyWe have constant discussions about more and more tax being raised on low and middle earners where the basic assumption is that the same exemptions, that apply to the rich for the other taxes, will apply to these new taxes, tooIn the last term, the then Government attempted to introduce a health tax to provide extra revenue for health services that was predicated on the exact same rules as the L.T.C., which would have exempted the rich from it, as wellThis is just what happens in JerseyWe constantly go to the low and middle earners and, frankly, do not have the guts to ask those, who are most capable of paying to pay, in this case, not even proportionately more, but proportionately the same as the rest of usI have always believed that that is not just morally repugnant, but it is bad economics and the purpose of bringing this Amendment forward is not by any stretch to try and be populistThis is about decent economicsThere was something said in the sitting last week about Reformonomics and I spent a bit of time over the weekend trying to think what that means and, to me, it means having an economic system which works in the interests of everyone where those with the broadest shoulders carry the burden and in which we use that revenue to try and create an environment in which everybody is capable of achieving their potential and achieving a happy life, irrespective of their background, be that their race, their sexual orientation, their religion or, most importantly, their social classIt is that last characteristic that, I think, too many people are unable to understand the importance of and how the modern economy worksBy accepting that the basic principles that apply to the rest to us should also apply to the rich and powerful, we go one step to becoming a more fair and equal society, where we do not constantly squeeze those who, over the last 10 years, have seen their lives and their economic circumstances deteriorateI have said before, in the last 10 years, the rates of poverty in the Island have risen, while the real terms earnings of the majority of Islanders have frozen and the number of people earning above £1 million a year has quadrupled and that is economically unsustainableIt, one day, will reach a point where our economy will simply not work because, in the pockets of the majority, there will not be enough money to spend on goods and services provided by business people, particularly small and local businesses and, instead, that money will accumulate in the pockets of people who cannot spend it, because there is not enough to spend it on, so wealthy are theyThere are a lot of conversations that are being had in not just the U.K. (United Kingdom) in the context of their election, but also in the United States in the context of the Democratic primary election that is going on, where there is lots of talk about raising taxes on the richest peopleSome of the statistics that you read are simply astoundingThe head of Amazon in the United States, a multi billionaire, who recently cut health benefits for the workforce in Amazon, pays not a penny in federal tax for the profit his business makes and is currently seeking planning permission for a mansion in Washington D.C. that has dozens of bathrooms, multiple elevators, more bedrooms that you could possibly have enough friends, frankly, to invite and stay inYet the working and living conditions for those, who have contributed to his unimaginable wealth get worseThat is a situation that cannot continue, whether it is in the United States, whether it is in Jersey, or not and so I ask Members to accept this Amendment that gives those hardworking Islanders a reprieve from further tax rises and instead ask those who will miss that money the least to contribute a proportionate amountThe thing that really irks me about the comments that the Council of Ministers have produced to oppose this are the 3 main arguments they useThe first is about the increased risk to the L.T.C. FundWell, there is a risk on the L.T.C. Fund, no matter what happensWhatever happens to the economy, that will affect peoples spending and how much they are able to contributeThat is not unique to rich people but, again, we assume different rules apply to the rich as to the rest of usIt is the next 2 points that particularly irk meIt talks about how it is unfair between generations not to raise the rates now, as if we can look at a young person in the eye and say: We are raising your tax because it is fair.  What a patronising argument to make, but what I dislike the most about it is the divide that it is seeking to create between generations when they say older people today are able to benefit from the Long-Term Care Fund even though they have not paid as much into itI think about my granddad, who has not had to pay into the L.T.C. Fund because of when he retired, yet will still benefit from it.  Let me say that I hold no resentment to him whatsoever.

[9.45]

He is part of the generation that worked hard to create the society that I am now lucky to live in and to say that we must raise the rate sooner, so that category of people can pay more, I simply do not buy and I think it is pitting generations against one another and it is condescending to young people to somehow claim that it is fairer for them to be paying more at the stage in their career, when they are earning less, especially when the real unfairness in the L.T.C. tax is not that between generationsIt is that between classIt is between those low and middle earners and it is the super wealthy who get exemptions from it that do not apply to othersThe last paragraph of these comments refers to the timing being a bad reason to do this because, as they say, the economy is doing wellWhat a very interesting statement, one which I do not believe bears any resemblance to the reality for many ordinary Islanders here, who simply are not feeling the benefits of economic growthI remember, in the last electoral term, we would get the figures for G.V.A. (Gross Value Added) growth every year and I remember the Government of the day saying what a good story this portrayed for the Island.  Then, at a different stage in the month, the Statistics Unit would produce their results on their surveys for real time earnings, which would say that from the majority of people, that economic growth may well as not have happenedThey did not feel it allThey did not see a corresponding wage riseThe benefits of that economic growth have gone straight to the topNot to anybody elseIt has not trickled down to those belowWe have a minimum wage which has fallen behind the U.K., where the cost of living is greaterSuch is the indignity of it that, from time to time, our minimum wage has fallen below that of Guernsey, again where the cost of living is lowerYet we seek to raise tax on these people by one per cent, when it is completely unnecessary to do so and when we wish to shelter those for whom that would be the least inconvenienceI make this Amendment not out of populism, but for the decent economic case there is behind it and the decent moral case that says we ought to be an Island where everybody is treated fairly and equally and not simply have the rich play by one set of rules and the rest of us anotherSo, on that basis, I make the Amendment.

The Bailiff:

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

1.1.1Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

As the Senator said, he did have all weekend to come up with a new set of arguments, so he just expanded on his argument for why he feels that the tax in Jersey, on every sort, is not fair, but I want to take you back to this debate and if you think it is déjà vu, it basically isWe had the debate on the Amendment to my Amendment from Corporate and we had a really good discussion and the cap removal was lost 32 votes to 11All forward-thinking people in this Assembly, even who voted for the 32, or the 11, thought that long-term care has to go upNow was it the ½ per cent, or was it the one per centWe decided on Thursday, that it was going to be the ½ per centAbsolutely rightIt will put the fund quite a bit better than it is nowIt does not go as far as C.O.M. (Council of Ministers) wanted, but we can live with itI do not really want to go into again how great this fund is, because everybody knows anybody who is receiving it, or anybody who had to survive before thisIt is only 5 years old when everybody lost everythingThe Constables in the Assembly, who know the other Constables, who used to deal with this, will remember the storiesThey were not good stories, so that is why I have always thought this fund is fantasticThe Senator keeps on about the intergenerational fairnessIt is not Council who said thisFrom memory, it is the F.P.P. (Fiscal Policy Panel) who said thisIt is in their report, so we have had that argumentThis Assembly has very sensibly voted not to just rely on removing the cap, because it is not certain how much this will bring inIt only would keep the fund going if it brought in what the Senator says, if everything stayed exactly the sameHe has asked Treasury what the figures are now and he has based his figures on exactly the sameNothing would changeThat is if you believe itI really do not want to go on, but it is one of thoseHas everything been saidThe Senator said itI am saying that really we made a decision, it is a good decision, Council can live with it and the Long-Term Care Fund can live with it for a few yearsYou go with the Corporate Amendment and you do not raise the cap, or you could put this fund - this really fantastic fund that is very young - in jeopardyWe do not really need a long debate on this, because this is on the cap, or not and, as I said, 10 votes only 3 days ago.

The Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on the Proposition

1.1.2Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

I understand what the Minister for Treasury and Resources has said about how the vote went last week, but I think that the moral and economic arguments, outlined in the Senators opening remarks were evidence-based, they were well-informed, they were detailed and they were very difficult to argue againstWe have to start listening to those well-formed arguments more carefully, because I am yet to hear from anybody - and I challenge the Assembly to stand up and give a rebuttal - that is as equally rational, well-informed and evidence-based, because on top of what I believe is a sound economic argument, the moral argument is, to me, indisputable, particularly when we are talking about - and I said this last week - long-term careThis fund is about careCaring for other peopleThere is no rational reason that I can understand, or see, why everybody should not contribute the same amount, the same rate, the same percentage rate into this fund and if anyone has a sound rebuttal to that one particular point, I would love to hear itBut, as of yet, we keep hearing rhetoric and we keep not addressing the moral and economic arguments that have been outlined so articulatelyIt is very easy in this Chamber to dismiss what will be seen as progressive legislation, particularly when it is proposed by Reform, because, unfortunately, they do get unfairly targeted sometimes, because this is a sound, well thought-out Proposition and it is driven by a moral argument which, I think, is indisputableI do think it is shameful that there is so much resistance to the idea alone of everybody contributing the same percentage and, furthermore, it is one per centWe are not asking for everyone to chuck in 20 per cent of their salaries for long-term careIt is one per centWhy should we not all put in one per centI would happily put in one per centWould youThat is the question we have to ask ourselvesI am going to stop there, because I did not prepare what I was going to say, but I felt driven to stand up after the speech of the MinisterI do urge Members to seriously reflect on their own moral compass, their own moral values and genuinely try and answer my question, which is: What is the argument for not doing thisWhat is the reasonable rational argument, the moral argument, the economic argument for not doing this? 

1.1.3Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

There seems to be some misunderstanding on the one per cent, because 30 per cent of all taxpayers on the Island do not pay one single penny, so the bottom earners do not pay and that is correctThe middle earners, those who are on the marginal rate of tax, also do not pay as much as one, or, as it will be, 1½ per centThey pay on a graduated scale, up to a maximum of 1½ per centIt is then those on incomes well above £100,000 who then pay the 1 ½ per cent, so it is a well thought-out and graduated schemeThe scheme, however, has a cap at £250,000 and that is reasonable, because, at that level, what we are saying is: Thank youYou have contributed a significant amount and that is sufficient to maintain the fund.  So, it is not everybodyIt is a very small proportion and I do not know the exact figures, but it is not the majorityIt is, in fact, a small minority who pay the full 1 ½ per centI hate to say it, but envy is the root of all evil and what I heard in the proposers speech was a significant amount of envySuccess comes with people who have made a success of their livesThey are the people who employ and invest in our futureIf we were to frighten away the highly successful individuals from this Island, then they will take their investment, they will take their jobs and they will go elsewhereIf that is what you want, fine, but I embrace successI welcome successIt is something that drives the economies of the world and I want success to continue to drive the economy of this Island and I welcome these people to the Island

1.1.4Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen:

I would say, in answer to Deputy Perchard, that the reason why there is a cap, is because this is a ringfenced fundThis is, essentially, a type of insurance, that is taken out by the whole of IslandersFive years ago and more, Islanders were in difficultyIncreasing costs of care, living longer and a likelihood that care costs would be incurred at the end of life, when people are vulnerable and frailWhat was happening, we know, was that in so many cases, people were losing their life savings and their properties, in order to fund their careThe States Assembly, of the time, decided that something should be done about this and they set up a ring-fenced fund, into which people would pay specified contributions, not dissimilar to a social security setup, but there were different ways of doing itSo, the States Assembly could simply have said: Well, we will meet all care costs out of general taxationThe Government will take this on, as an incidence of proper good governmental administrationWe will have a care system that will be simply paid for out of the taxpayers funds.  Then, of course, those who are high earners will simply pay their proportion of tax, which would, no doubt, have needed to increase as the income tax rate would have gone up to 20-something per cent, to pay for thisThe States Assembly decided not to do it that wayThere was another way they could have done it perhaps and set up a true insurance scheme, which would have been outsourced and required every Islander to pay an insurance premium, to cover the costs of possible care needs in the futureI suppose that, for those in our community who could not have paid an insurance premium because of their financial circumstances, we would have needed to introduce a scheme to ensure that was paid for them, so kind of an insurance scheme that we know of when we buy our life insurance and other insurancesThe States Assembly went for something a bit down the middle and said: We will establish a specified fund but, of course, care costs, when you do the actuarial calculations across the whole of that fund, we would be told that there would be a limit to care costs that most people are likely to pay and is not a perpetual and increasing obligation throughout somebodys life.

[10:00]

So, there being a limit, it follows that, in a ring-fenced fund, it would be normal to say that a cap is introduced, so that those, who have significant assets, only pay in what is needed to provide the service that the ring-fenced fund is designed to offer.  Whether we like it, or not, now, that is the way the scheme was set up and voted for by this Assembly.  It seems to me, if we want to make a fundamental change and say it should be treated just like general taxation and you pay according to your income, then we need to change the whole basis of the fund.  That is an entirely different Proposition and not the Proposition that Senator Mézec has brought today.  Therefore, let us do things properly, if the intention is there, but for now, I think, Senator Mézecs Amendment is not wellfounded and I would urge Members to vote against it.

1.1.5Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

I would like to commend Deputy Perchard for her speech and say I agree with her completely and I also agree with Senator Mézec.  We do have a situation, in this Island, where we have income inequality.  There are some exceptionally wealthy people and we are told, by the Constable of St. John that it is envy to go after some of their money.  I am sorry, anything but.  I believe that success should be rewarded and these people have been rewarded.  Some of them, it was not even through their own efforts.  In fact, in the majority of cases, a lot of it was inherited wealth and so on.  The point I am trying to make is, it is not a question of going after them and, as in the U.K., when, at one point, I think the income tax rate was about 90 pence in the pound on the top rate, that is crazy.  I do happen to believe, though, that each one of us has a duty to pay what we can and contribute to the rest of society.  Now, we talk about 30 per cent of taxpayers, or 30 per cent of the people in the Island, are not paying income tax, they are not paying, perhaps, long-term care.  I know people have got different views.  Some people say: Oh, they are all scroungers, they are all wasters.  They could get jobs if they wanted.  That is rubbish.  A very small minority of people do not want to work and better themselves in this Island, so I reject that argument, that these people are not doing their share.  Now, the people, who are very wealthy, are going to get wealthier.  If we look at the changes in the world economy and the way things are moving, we know that automation is increasing; we know that the use of computing and machine learning, artificial intelligence, is increasing.  We are already seeing it in Jersey.  We do not see it as headlines in the newspapers, but we do know that certain banks are reducing their staff, as they are automating even more so some of their processes.  Now, with the employment figures at the moment, you may not see it, but in a years time, 2 years time, 3 years time, we may start seeing it.  The other thing you have got to realise is who are the people who are going to benefit from this automation, artificial intelligence and everything else?  Basically, it is going to be the ones who have the money.  In the case of firms, it will be the shareholders, who are going to benefit from them.  As we have less jobs in the future, how are we going to finance paying the unemployment, how are we going to pay for the healthcare?  We are going to have to look at taxes - and again, I do not think Constable Taylor would agree with this, because he said these people are the ones who are investing in this thing, they are increasing productivity through them - but these people are going to have to pay more, because we are not going to have any money, otherwise, to pay for the greater unemployment and for the healthcare that we need.  So, I think it is a wrong argument to say that these people cannot pay a little bit more, just one per cent, very little of the income that some of these people have.  We have already seen, in the papers, some people are buying £25 million properties.  Well, great, if they can afford it and I am sure they could afford one per cent of their income, overall.  I just do not accept the argument that these people cannot pay a little bit more, so I would ask Members to support Senator Mézecs Proposition.

1.1.6Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

Just coming from a slightly different angle, I question what the fund is used for and how can the delivery of it be better managed.  We have a situation where local provider costs are in excess of charges levied by off-Island providers and it can be less expensive for families to bring carers over from England to accommodate them and to derive better value.  These imported carers and the companies that employ them will pay not a penny of income tax towards the Island, so that is my concern.  I would say that before I would like to see the L.T.C. delivery managed in a way that not only benefits those that need it and need the support of carers, but also contributes to the Island, as a whole, by paying their share of tax, when needed.

1.1.7Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

Where do I start with this?  We have had our previous debates, you are absolutely right, but I think we all need to understand the context of those debates and what happened.  There were concerns over 4 per cent, 6.5 per cent.  They were different debates, they were different issues and we have brought a number of different options to the Assembly, a number of different options to give choice, a pragmatic approach from us, yet again.  I think that that is a really important thing to be seen here.  This is an opportunity to say that we will just lift the cap, so that everybody pays the same rate.  The Minister for Health and Social Services, who spoke, talked about this being turned into a tax, because you pay according to income.  You currently pay according to income.  Over a certain income, it is no longer a tax, you do not pay anything, so there is a charge for some and a tax for everybody else.  It is intrinsically unfair.  Working people want this.  One of the things I have had to get used to, in this role, is being stopped by people and talking and people recognising me.  It is quite odd, really, because that is something you have to get used to.  On Saturday morning, I have the pleasure of taking the dog out for a walk and going to a café - I am on the point, Sir, I promise - and somebody stopped me and talked about what we have been doing this week, had listened; a young gentleman, I guess he was aged in the mid-20s, late 20s perhaps and made the point about: What on earth are you doing about the ... well, first of all the G.P. (general practitioner) fees.  I have got to say, very disappointed that that was not passed, but also about the L.T.C. Fund and how unfair it was.  I really urge you to go and knock on the doors of working people, people who are on low and middle incomes who are trying to struggle to get by and trying to make ends meet at the end of the month and say to them: Do you think this is right, that we have this cap on the L.T.C. charge? and I genuinely believe they would say to you: No, we do not.  I am sorry, first of all, Deputy Perchard, I do not know what to say, really, but the undue criticism of Reform, I think you are absolutely right and, lo and behold, the Constable of St. John - and I must take issue with this - stood up and talked about Senator Mézec simply having envy.  I think that is undue criticism.  I do not think that is fair at all.  Then he went on to define success and the definition of success there was purely on the income that you have.  Well, let me redefine success, please.  I would like to say the people I see as successful are those who work in our health service, on an average wage, and save peoples lives.  I would like to say the successful people in the health service, who looked after my son a couple of years ago when he had to have an operation, who looked after me when I thought I was seriously ill and, thankfully, I was not, because I had been on the internet for too long diagnosing myself.  [Laughter]  I would like to say thank you to the teachers, who work with really challenging children and get them beyond where they are when they start and give them an opportunity in life.  I had the huge pleasure of going to the Beresford Street Kitchen Ball last week and celebrating the work of that organisation, who are phenomenally successful, but they are not incredibly wealthy.  I would like to thank the guys who clear our drains, the people who clean our streets.  Those are success for our society, that is societal success.  If we just define our success by income, we are making a fundamental problem and we are fundamentally flawed and that is a lack of moral compass, if we do that.  So I must correct that, I think that is desperately unfair.  But we need to have a context for this Island.  We have shifted from corporate tax to personal tax over the last 20, 30 years and this has hit, most of all, low and middle income earners, income from their wage, from going out and selling their labour for wage and they are paid at the end of each month and they are taxed on it.  I do not really like paying tax, but that is my deal with society.  If I earn more, I will pay some more tax.  This Long-Term Care Fund as well, in terms of what it is going for, of course it is a great fund.  We need it, it is desperately needed, but do we need to charge people more, at this time, when we have not taken the option of removing the cap and creating a fairer approach to this system?  I believe us increasing peoples charges from the low-income earners at this time in our society is fundamentally misguided and we have an opportunity that we must take.  We keep putting this about young people.  I am sorry, I am a middleaged man and I got lucky.  I got lucky, because we managed to buy a house, or get a mortgage in a house, when it was affordable and that house has now become worth more.  We would never really see any of the money, unless we sell up and go live in the middle of nowhere, but we are there on that wonderful housing ladder that we all talk about; but let us be realistic, most people in this Assembly have benefited from that and I say most, not all, because the younger Members of this Assembly do not have a chance of getting that opportunity.  They have it stacked against them.  We have given them huge house prices, unaffordable housing, we have given them climate change, Brexit, we have given them Donald Trump and now we are giving them tax rises.  Then we talk about young people as a separate group, these snowflakes.  I am sorry, that is utter nonsense.  We have one of the lowest minimum wages.  We are lower than Guernsey.  That is a good card to play, is it not?  Perhaps people will be listening to this now.  We have some fundamental errors in our society that we are not addressing at the moment, because the elephant in the room of fair taxation is being ignored.  I ask you, I plead to you, listen to the debate.  Deputy Perchard was absolutely right, there is a moral debate here to be had.  This notion that everybody is going to run away, because they are wealthy and they might be taxed by one per cent more, what do we do, say we are being held to ransom by the richest in our society, while those at the bottom of our economic ladder are just ignored and taxed a little bit more, because they do not have the opportunity to go anywhere else?  That is fundamentally wrong and I do not support that.  We have an opportunity to send a clear message that we will protect the value of the majority of the wages of the people on this Island and we will not be afraid to lift the cap, so that the wealthiest pay a small amount more, because we are absolutely going to go by the common strategic priorities, suggested by this Council of Ministers and agreed by this Assembly, to reduce income inequality.  If we take the low and middle incomes more, without taking this cap off, we are increasing that inequality even further and it is a total contradiction of the Common Strategy Policy that we voted for.  That is what is called a logical argument.  Please listen to it.  I urge you to take this final opportunity to do the right thing in this Assembly and vote for this Amendment.  Thank you very much.

1.1.8Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

I thought the elections were in the U.K.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I object to that, because that infers that that was electioneering, when it was called having political principles that stay consistent? 

The Bailiff:

Deputy, I do not think it was, of itself, unparliamentary, but it seemed to be entirely unnecessary, as an observation, because it did not address the argument, but that is a matter for the Deputy.  Deputy, please continue.

Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Let us bring this back.  The L.T.C. is an excellent fund, that really helps Islanders that are in need and financially not in a very good way and to play Russian roulette with such a fund, it is wrong.  Just because somebody earns over £250,000 a year, under the current terms, does not mean that they are not paying any money into the L.T.C.  They do pay up to the cap, so there is still a lot of money that goes in and they generally pay in at the highest percentage rate, so there is some level of that.  Now, if we take this back down, the rate down to one per cent and we remove the cap, yes, we can bring some more money in from some of the wealthiest in the Island, but we are talking about the people who can rearrange their circumstances much easier than anything else.  So, there is a chance that, by doing this, we can keep the fund going without changing the rate for the next 10 years, but it could be sooner, which means that, in the not too distant future, we are going to have to change the rate anyway and push this burden, once again, onto the youngest members of our society as we go in, so it will end up affecting the youngest.  It is not intergenerationally fair if we do it in this way as well.

[10:15]

We had the debate last time.  If Deputy Perchard wants to know what the moral reason is, it is, yes, there is a tax moral about the higher cap, or something, but in this particular instance, in this particular fund, to put at risk something, which is an output-based ring-fenced fund that does so good in this Island, by trying something different that is not going to guarantee to get you where you want to be with the money, that morally is wrong.  I remember myself and Deputy Martin were on the radio during the elections and we had 2 members of the said Party on our thing saying that they want to abolish L.T.C. live on radio.  It took myself and Deputy Martin aback, thinking: How could you want to abolish a fund, which does so good in this Island?  The fund and the way that the Department have looked at putting up the rates and how long it can last for and the actuaries and the Fiscal Policy Panel and all the evidence that we have received is to do what we have put forward in the Government Plan.  It has been changed slightly during the Amendment, but that is OK.  We will have to come back and look at that a bit later on, but we are pushing this problem to the youngest people, our younger generations later down in the line and that cannot be right.  I ask everyone in this Assembly to reject this Amendment and not push this problem, or put a bigger risk, within this fund, which does so much good within the Island.

1.1.9Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

I had a conversation with a retailer in St. Helier, this weekend, who asked what I stood for and I explained to him that I stood for families, I stood for middle Jersey, who are struggling.  He explained: Well, if we do not have enough taxation ... as in income for the Government and I will for the moment - and I appreciate the distinction - put L.T.C. within that context of income for the Government, though I appreciate it is clearly hypothecated and the Government cannot use that in general spending.  I am not suggesting otherwise.  They said: We cannot keep looking to middle Jersey as the Islands cash cow.  We cannot keep going there, because the mortgages, the food costs, the clothing costs, the transport costs and on top of that, then the taxation, whether it is on fuel duty, whether it is on alcohol, whether it is an increase in social security, whether it is increases to L.T.C., it is middle Jersey that keep paying for all of this.  If we keep treating the wealthy, as though they are some sort of sacred ... almost deify these people in the way that Constable of St. John said: That is what success is, money, money, money.  That is not, Constable, what success is.  He said: But the wealthy, they bring economic benefits and I said: Yes, so do middle Jersey, so do low-income people.  They also bring economic ... and on top of that, as Deputy Ward was saying, they also bring plenty of social benefits, as well, in some cases you could argue plenty more social benefits.  Let us look at the 2(1)(e) situation, so let us move away from L.T.C. for a while.  We charge one per cent on the worldwide income over £250,000.  What would be the problem with making that ... I appreciate Deputy Guida ... what is the number?  Over £750,000.  What is wrong with going to 1½ per cent?  It is not going to break them.  They would hardly even notice it.  He turned to me and he said: You are right.  This week I sold an item of clothing for a 5-figure sum to someone in Jersey this week and he said: They will not notice a few thousand pounds going into the L.T.C. Fund, or going into taxation.  He said: If you can spend a 5-figure sum on an item of clothing, then you really do not notice if the Government is taking a little bit more.  That is the problem.  To call it envy, why is it envy to look at the wealthy and say: You guys can afford to pay more?  The people in the middle and the people at the bottom cannot afford to pay any more.  Why is that envy?  Surely, it is exploitation, when the wealthy are not paying more, but they are ensuring that those on lower incomes are paying more out of their income, proportionally out of their income.  That is exploitation.  Why is envy so bad, but exploitation is absolutely fine?  Is that the world the Constable of St. John grew up in; exploitation is fine?  I am sure it is not, but when he talks about the politics of envy in such a nonchalant way, trying to scare us away from touching these amazing, wealthy, people, who cannot afford to pay and, in this case, this particular Proposition is talking about a fraction of a per cent more.  That is what this Proposition is saying, because they will already be paying some of their income, one per cent up to the limit, the £250,000 limit.  This is just saying lift that cap, so we are talking about a fraction of a per cent more.  Why can they not do that?  So, those arguments fall away completely.  They do not hold water, so it becomes very difficult to understand.  As I have said, in other speeches over the past week, I have been looking to understand the rationale behind the cap and given, on this one in particular ... and I said social security, at least I have been given a rationale for the cap on social security.  I do not necessarily agree with it, but I received a rationale and I can see there is a logic, because social security is not a tax.  That is absolutely vital to understanding that rationale.  L.T.C. is a tax.  I have said that before, in this past week.  I will say it again and it has been confirmed in this Assembly, by the Attorney General, L.T.C. is a tax.  To pretend otherwise, is to believe that the Attorney General does not know what he is talking about when defining the laws and defining what taxes are in this Assembly.  I will go with the Attorney General.  Anyone who says otherwise, Minister or not, about L.T.C. not being a tax is quite simply incorrect in their assertions.  When I look at this, I honestly see that it does not matter where it comes from.  This could have come from the Government.  It came from Senator Mézec.  I look at a Proposition, which to me seems to make a lot of sense.  We know we are going to have put the rate of the L.T.C. up at some point.  We voted to hold it at 1½ per cent, something which I was really keen on.  I am really pleased that the Assembly agreed to adopt that, limiting the rise to 1½ per cent.  I believe this goes one better.  It was one of those moments when I first read Senator Mézecs Proposition, because I had been pushing and I had been asking: Is anyone going to bring a Proposition that will bring that 2 per cent rate down to 1½ per cent?  Will anyone do it?  If no one is going to do it, I will do it myself because I felt it was important that we keep money in Islanders pockets now, that we do not have to take it now.  Then Corporate Services did lodge the Proposition, that was great and I was really pleased to see that.  Then Senator Mézec lodged his after that and it was a case of I read it and I read it 2, 3, 4 times and I read it again today, just to make sure, because I looked at it and I thought: To me, that makes more sense.  I always think it is important, when you have been passionately supporting one thing and then you see something else and you think: I think that is better because, yes, we will have to put the rate up to 1½ per cent at some point in the future, 5, 6, 7 years down the line, but it keeps more money in the pockets of those Islanders, who need that money today, by simply raising the cap, or abolishing the cap.  So, it keeps money in the pockets of middle Jersey today that they can spend on their mortgages, that they can spend on their food, that they can spend on their transport and on their children, rather than tying it up in a fund, which is a vitally important fund, but it is just a fund where their money just sits there accumulating.  You are essentially saying: Suffer today, so that people can be looked after in the future.  That is not quite how it should be.  We need to make provision for the future, but that should never be at the expense of today.  I am yet to hear Council of Ministers arguments, which are good arguments, against this Proposition.  I have yet to hear one and certainly the politics of envy is, to be honest, a shameful argument, it is a weak argument.  I expect from the Assistant Chief Minister to hear better and stronger arguments than that, arguments that approach the issue and not try to damn the people, who are making the arguments.  I do urge Members to support this Proposition, because I am delighted that Corporate Services brought their initial Proposition, the 1½ per cent L.T.C. charge Proposition and I passionately supported that.  I am really very pleased that this Assembly supported that, as well.  Now I think we are faced with an even better Proposition than that one, so I ask Members to please support this Proposition.

The Connétable of St. John:

The Deputy used the word exploitation and said that I supported and advocated exploitation.  I would ask for him to withdraw ...

The Bailiff:

I am sorry, on what basis are you asking to speak, Connétable?  Is this a desire to ...

The Connétable of St. John:

On a point of order, Sir.

The Bailiff:

A point of order?  That is something on which I will have to make a ruling, so what is the point of order, Connétable?

The Connétable of St. John:

The point of order is that the Deputy implied that I supported and advocated exploitation, which is absolutely not the case.

The Bailiff:

Is this not more a point of clarification on your speech that you are asking to give?

The Connétable of St. John:

No.

The Bailiff:

If your speech has been mentioned, then ...

The Connétable of St. John:

On his speech, Sir, he stated that I ... or he implied that I supported exploitation, which is not the case.

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I was listening, very carefully, to Deputy Morel and I believe he used the phrase: I do not think he does think that so he has very clearly said he does not accuse the Constable of thinking ...

The Bailiff:

Thank you, Senator.  Connétable, that is entirely what I heard.  I understand that the Deputy said: That is exploitation.  Is that the world that the Connétable grew up in?  I do not expect it is, something along those lines, as I recall the speech, so I do not think you have been accused of doing that.  It may have been raised as a spectre, but then it was withdrawn again during the course of the speech, but what you are doing, I think, is seeking to say that you did not mean to suggest that, because that is what you have said.  That is a point of clarification of your speech, which you are perfectly entitled to make, given that it has been referenced in the Deputys speech.  Does that meet your concerns?

The Connétable of St. John:

Only just, Sir.

1.1.10Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

I will not speak long, because I think most of the points have been covered in the last week.  What I would like to address is the subject of intergenerational fairness and that young people are going to be paying into a fund and they are not really benefiting from it.  The actual people who will benefit from this, first and foremost, are the younger people, because, if you are now taken into care, your house is not sold, you pay £40,000-odd and that is it.  The rest of your savings, your property, are saved, they are there, they are ring-fenced, so when you pass away that is then passed down to the grandchildren and to the children, so the people, who really benefit from this, are the young people.  They will be the people, who inherit property, inherit money, so, although they are paying in now and initially they will not receive the L.T.C., hopefully for some time, they will benefit from this scheme, make no mistake about that.

1.1.11Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

I will try and be brief.  In March, the F.P.P. recommended that Jersey raises taxes, or cuts expenditure to see the Island through any economic problems in the future and that the Government should generate surpluses, to plough into the Strategic Reserve and the Stabilisation Fund, which provides funding to combat short-term economic downturns.  When asked about whether taxes should increase, the Chief Minister said that he did not want the headline 20 per cent rate of tax to change, as it is key to the Islands economic stability.  He indicated, then, that other levers, such as the L.T.C. charge would be reviewed, as well as social security contributions, which are currently capped, as we are all hearing.  How many countries can boast surpluses in growth and reserves, as we see as ours?  For example, the Strategic Reserve in 2017, based on the evidence on the States of Jersey website, was £840 million; the Social Security Fund, in 2017, is standing around £2 billion.  When you dig in further to the Islands economics, it is hard to argue with the Chief Executive Officer that our sovereign wealth fund should be much bigger.  However, Gross Domestic Product measures everything, in short, except that what makes life worthwhile.  I have stated, in my view, at the beginning of this week, when we started this debate in the Budget or the Government Plan, however it is perceived now, how dangerous it is to be obsessed by Gross Domestic Product, which is argued as a crude device to measure well-being.

[10:30]

G.D.P. (Gross Domestic Product) represents the market core values of all goods and services provided by the economy, including consumption, investment, government purchases, private inventories and the foreign tradeBut, again, the argument in front of us all is plain to see.  We seem to have surrendered at times personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Example, the hospital.  Example, Orchard House.  Example, some of our streets and buildings.  Example, Cyril Le Marquand House.  Example, some of the States facilities that our Islanders work in.  Example, the imbalance of our tax system.  Example, the electoral system that we all work to, which is confusing to the people of this Island.  Example, the fact that we cannot seem to get a consensus of what the future of this Island is.  Example, what has happened to Future Jersey, the vision that was talked about and presented to us as new States Members on day 2 after being elected?  What has happened to that?  The problem is that we need to find a consensus, if we are going to move forward.  The Long-Term Care Fund is a great idea.  It has helped Islanders.  I can see it; it has helped some of my family members.  But arguably the problem and why the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources went to that argument is the idea of not having to sell their property.  I have just been through this for the last 3 years with my grandmother.  The problem is, though, we had to sell that house, anyway.  I will not benefit from that family home.  I will not have that family home anymore to look after my father, when he needs that long-term care support.  The problem is, a lot of us in our generation will be caring and housing our parents in our own homes, in the future.  There is an issue starting to raise with where do our elderly people go, when we have to get them out of the hospital, which is why we are going to be heavily looking into the future care model.  This is a bit component.  Dementia and Alzheimers is on the rise.  This is all happening now and, yes, we have to think strategically about where we put our money, to look after this going forward.  So, it is only fair that we have a fairer taxation system.  That is what we are all looking for here, I believe.  So, I agree wholeheartedly, it is not envy, we are just looking to make things better.  We could do so much better.  So, the argument that I heard earlier about: Well, the bottom do not pay anything that is not fair.  I know people who would like to contribute, they wish to contribute, they just are struggling to get to the place where they want to pay into the system, because they do not want to be seen like they are not part of society, because they cannot, because well, you know, you do not have to, do not worry it.  They want to.  That is the imbalance of the society that we need to fix, I believe.  So, I am torn with this argument, because I think the Long-Term Care Fund is an important thing for us for the future, there is no doubt.  As the Constable of St. Brelade highly rightly said, there are issues how quickly can we get the money, people need it now.  How can we work with housing, or long-term care, for those elderly and those vulnerable people who need it now?  It is a work in progress, as the Minister for Social Security quite rightly said.  It has only been going, what, 5 years?  Four, 5 years?  It is still a learning progress, so there is room for improvement.  So, I am torn by this argument but I just wanted to bring us back on balance.  This is a debating chamber, at the end of the day and it is good that we hear all arguments.  I just wanted to raise that point. 

1.1.12Deputy G.C. Guida of St. Lawrence:

I wanted to put a few figures up.  Half of this conversation is about whether L.T.C. (long-term care) is a charge, or a tax and just to bring things forward, I would consider that social security is a charge.  So, social security, basically, in Jersey, if I did my numbers right - and please correct me if I did not - is £9,121 a year.  So, that is the figure you should pay; £9,121 a year.  However, it has been made progressive, so it is a percentage of your salary all the way to that figure.  You cannot pay more than that.  This year, because we have changed the cap and the way it is calculated, it has become £13,121.  So, we have just upped it by about 35 per cent, for very good reasons.  Not a problem at all.  But that is what it is, it is a charge, it is a fixed charge, it is not a percentage of income.  The L.T.C. charge … I know we are arguing about whether it is a tax, or not, but it is a charge at this point.  It is £1,750, only about one per cent of the population pay that.  The others are progressive up to that point.  This year, with the latest decision, we have decided to bring it up to £3,750, by raising the cap and raising the percentage.  So, we have more than doubled it, which I think is quite a lot of money.  That is half of the conversation, it is about raising this and I think both those figures have been raised significantly this year.  The other issue - and it is a bit sad that the conversation has gone away from it - is the fact that there is not that much money above £250,000.  We are not talking about many people and trying to grab from that does not give you much.  The fact is that, in the report, it was estimated that we would get £20 million less from raising the cap and lower the rate.  Now the Proposition is 1.5 per cent; we are about halfway, but we are still losing £10 million and we are still putting the fund back by 10 years.  So, maybe we should discuss caps and taxes and whether these things are charges, or not.  It is a very worthwhile discussion that we should have at some point.  It is a very fundamental decision for Jersey.  I am not sure we should have it today, but certainly the decision today is about if we have enough money in the L.T.C. Fund, or not.   What I would try to bring forward is that the prognostics for the need for the fund are probably vastly undervalued.  This is a fund that will need to be very large and having a fund, rather than trying to scrounge the money on the year you need it, is extraordinary.  We are talking about Jerseys wealth.  The fact that our predecessors have created those funds and have put money in them, is the reason why Jersey is running well.  It is not our industry, or anything, it is the fact that we have saved this money.  It is extraordinary, when you think that we have so much money put away that generates revenue, where all other countries have this massive debt.  In France, income tax pays for servicing the debt.  You pay your income tax, just so that you can pay your … not even trying to reimburse it, but just the interest.  In the U.K. 80 per cent of the countrys revenue is to pay interest.  It is ridiculous.  We are so far away from this and we forget about it.  I could not believe when I heard the future should never be at the expense of today.  What is saving about?  You know, try to make your life a little bit less comfortable today and much more comfortable in the future.  It is such an obvious basis.  So, let us have the discussion on caps and charges and taxes definitely at some other point, where we really look at it over the whole taxation.  We are working on it.  The Government has a plan and I hope that everybody will participate and try to move this forward.  Today it is about do we need a larger L.T.C. Fund and we do and one per cent, even without the cap, will not do it.

1.1.13Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

I hope Members will indulge me for, hopefully, a short time, but I think I have a few important points and I did not speak on the 0.5 per cent debate that Scrutiny brought.  I held back on that and I thought I would save my comments for this main debate.  The first thing I would like to say is that on a point of principle, I stand very firmly with the Minister for Social Security, Deputy Martin and I hope all Members, in saying that the nature of this fund and what it is used for is absolutely fundamental to our society and to Jersey.  It has been progressive.  It is true that the U.K. would love to have a fund and have tackled this early on, in the way that we have done.  That is not up for debate and it did seek to settle an unfairness about people having to sell their houses, just to pay for long-term care, especially when that was protracted.  I do want to make some personal comments on this, because, unlike some other debates where it focuses on family and perhaps children …  and we do not all have children, but we do all have parents.  In those type of debates, I empathise with others, because I do not have my own children, so I try and put myself in other peoples shoes and think what would I do based on both fairness and practicality if I had my own family, so talking parental leave, et cetera.  But today, when we are talking about long-term care, it is something which I do have personal experience of, so I do not need to empathise, but I can sympathise.  I do not often make personal comments of this nature, personal to myself, but I would like to talk about my own parents.  My father, no longer with us, he died in 2015.  He died at the age of 79, just a couple of days after his 79th birthday.  He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in around about December time.  It got so bad, he did not know it was there, he thought he had a pain in his shoulder, but there was a cancer pushing down on his brain, which was causing his shoulder not to move.  He just thought it was an ongoing shoulder problem.  It is a metastatic cancer, that had spread from the lung, through the spine, up to his brain and he was dead within 2½ months.  I was pleased to be able to spend those last few days with him.  We can look at the economics of that, in a moment.  I would also like to think about my mother, who, luckily, is still with us.  My mother had a stroke not long after that.  This is about 4 or 5 years ago and she has been receiving excellent care, which she does rely on the Long-Term Care Fund for, at a well-known care place.  I have been going, as you can imagine, there over the last few years and it not just gives you an opportunity to spend time with a family member, but it also gives you an insight into how a care home works.  I have seen lots of different things, in lots of different care homes in the Island.  The first thing that I would like to pay tribute to is the wonderful work of the staff there.  Incidentally, of course, the great care that my father also got at Hospice, but that was for a matter of days, as opposed to a matter of years, which is the case for many in our Island.  It is not that I do not see the value of the long-term care scheme, but I also spent some of the weekend thinking about the staff up there.  The staff work very hard.  I do not know what their wages are - I am not particularly interested in that, on a personal level - but all I do know, is that they do not get paid enough, whatever they do get paid and I know that they probably rely on, or certainly do put in, a lot of overtime.  They do long shifts.  I have been there, both in the daytime and in the night-time and I know that, of course, you get night shifts, which must feel very long.  I suspect that they may be eligible for paying some kind of contribution of this long-term care charge.  I also think about my father, who would not have benefited from this, because he was not around long enough.  My father and my family were always on the margins of tax.  I am not sure whether they paid any income tax, or whether they might have some years and other years they did not.  But what I do know is that my father, a proud Jerseyman, would not have objected to paying a bit more tax, if he was a high earner.  So, if the stonemasonry, or the manual work on the States, was a particularly profitable year and he managed to get more than £250,000 in that particular year, he would have been quite happy to pay the full one per cent, or whatever percentage tax that we are asking him to pay on that long-term care, because he would have seen the benefit of it, not for himself necessarily but societally he would have known that is the right thing to do.  The strange thing is, we do not even ask those at the top whether they might want to pay a little bit more, because we presume that they would all get up and leave.  Yet for others, the vast majority of taxpayers, who will be caught by this, we do not even ask them either, because we presume that they will be quite happy to pay it and that they will not leave.  I think that both of those are false dichotomies.  I do not accept this argument that for somebody who is earning £300,000 a year is suddenly going to leave, because they are already employed in Jersey, they have presumably already got a family and I think that the reasons that people, in all areas of life, whatever their employment is, that they live and work in Jersey for other reasons, not just economic ones.  I think that people who are here, purely for tax reasons, have probably got a much sweeter deal than anything, where they are paying 20 per cent tax, possibly 21 per cent, on all of their income.  They are either in Jersey for Jersey, or they are in Jersey for what Jersey provides.  I have knocked on doors and I have spoken to people, or I have been down the supermarket and they said: You know what, Monty, my familys leaving next year, we are getting out of here, because we cannot afford prices. 

[10:45]

Those are not the people on the £250,000 plus a year.  They are not, necessarily, the poor either, they are the people who can leave, they can go to Britain, to the other parts of Britain, they can buy a house, they can have a garden, or a large piece of land, they can grow their own food, they can put their children into the local comprehensives and they can do OK.  It is not that they want to leave, either; they identify as Jersey people.  Even though somebody said that they were taking their flag with them, so they could show people the Jersey flag and they would still carry on supporting the local teams.  I think that is the reality of it.  So, let us look at some of the economics of this, because it does boil down to economics.  Like I say, the point I was making with my family, if there is an economic point to make from it, is that what you get out of the Long-Term Care Fund is not known, because we cannot choose how long we live for, or how we live in our elderly years.  My mother is probably doing quite well from the scheme.  She is probably somebody, who has never paid into the scheme, does that mean that is an inherent unfairness?  Does that mean that my mother should not get that?  Does it mean that she should have paid more when she was younger?  Does it mean that my father should have paid less tax?  He is not going to get rebate on that tax, nor should he.  These are kind of academic arguments, because the personal circumstances put this all into context.  I do not mind paying tax for something that I am never going to get back, as long as it helps somebody else and it makes us a more civilised society.  The argument about the poor do not pay into this anyway, because there is a tax allowance.  If you earn less than £15,000 a year, or if you earn £30,000 and your first £15,000 is discounted for tax purposes, you are probably in rental accommodation and if you get £15,000 of tax allowance, that works out to £1,250 a month, which is going to your rent probably.  That is before you pay for any of your bills.  You do not get that benefit, that money goes straight to the landlord, the landlord may declare some of the profit on that as tax.  So you are taxed, in the meantime, on 26 per cent of what you have got left in the bank.  In fact, you do not really have it in the bank anyway, you use that to pay for your life, whereas the wealthier person gets taxed at 20 per cent.  This is the reality.  The marginal rate, which is currently at 26 per cent of those who pay it, is going up to 27, it is already at 27 per cent with the long-term care charge.  It is going to go up to 28 per cent tax.  So, on your disposable income, the middle earners, or the lower-middle earners, in Jersey are paying 28 per cent income tax.  At the high end, of course, the 20 per cent is not going to go up. 

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Sir?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I will not give way, I do not think the Senator has spoken, if she wants to make a point of order, I will, but I think it is …

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Just I think a point of clarification

The Bailiff:

Just one … well, no …

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Or a point of order.  I do not mind which.

The Bailiff:

If you could sit down, please, Deputy.  It is not a pick list; it is either a point of order, or it is a point of clarification.  You stood up on a point of clarification, which is open to you to do, but only if the Deputy gives way, which he declined to do.  The only way you can interject at this point, if the Deputy does not agree to give way, then is by a point of order and that is a point on which I must make a decision.  So, if there is a point of order, what would be the nature of the decision you would want me to make?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I do not think the Deputy intentionally means to mislead the Assembly, Sir.

The Bailiff:

That is, I am sure, something on which …

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

But he might like to correct it, before he gets deeper in the hole.

The Bailiff:

As I think was stated, you have not yet spoken, Senator, so you are absolutely entitled to stand and speak to make those points during the course of the debate.  The Deputy has heard that you think he has misled the Assembly unintentionally, if he wishes to make a correction then, of course, he will do so.

Deputy M. Tadier:

Sir, given the fact that I have been interrupted, I will take the point of clarification but I did not hear what she thinks I said wrong.

The Bailiff:

What the Senator thinks.  But, yes, very well, the Deputy has allowed a point of clarification, so would you like to ask him for his clarification?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

The Deputy has talked about middle Jersey paying 27 per cent, 28 per cent in the marginal rate.  The marginal rate of tax paid on income never exceeds 20 per cent.

Deputy M. Tadier:

I am happy to clarify that, because that is not true.  We have to disentangle the effective rate from the actual tax rate.  Your tax rate is 26 per cent.  You obviously do not get taxed on your allowance, because that is not taxable.  So, as soon as your earnings become taxable, you are taxed at 26 per cent.  The easy way to demonstrate this is that even if my effective rate is, for example, 13 per cent, easy mathematics, so a person who earns £30,000 a year, with £15,000 allowances, taxed at the 26 per cent marginal rate will have an effect rate of 13 per cent.  I hope we all agree with that.  But the actual rate that they are taxed at is 26 per cent on that £13,000.  Any increase that they get, if they go out and do some part-time work, or if they get a windfall of an extra £1,000, for example, they will be taxed 26 per cent on that £1,000, because it is above the rate.  Whereas, somebody on the 20 per cent rate, if they earn an extra £1,000 will be charged at 20 per cent tax.  These things are completely factual and I am surprised the Senator is shaking her head.  We all purportedly stand to support middle Jersey and I was there when the Senator did, so that makes the point.  But I think there is an easier way to make this point about proportionality and that is to look at the narrative of the widows mite from the New Testament.  Just to quote very quickly, it is covered in a couple of the gospels.  The parable says He sat down opposite the Treasury and observed how the crowd were putting money into the Treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums, a poor widow also came and put in 2 small coins and a few cents.  Calling His disciples to Himself, He said to them: Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the Treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.  I grew up with this … I do not think it is a parable, I think it is a story that Jesus told and showed his disciples, it was didactic.  I understood that from a very young age, even before I identified with the politics of envy, that, of course, all the people on the left, or even Nick Clegg has been accused of in the past.  Instead of surplus, I look at it as disposable income.  So, I know that many people in our society, even people who would be quite high earners elsewhere have literally nothing left in the bank at the end of the month.  That might be because of mortgage payments and the cost of living, or because of rental payments and the cost of living.  We are asking the people with no disposable income, with no surplus, to pay another one per cent for this fund, because it has to remain sustainable.  Absolutely agree that the fund has to remain sustainable, but it needs to be sustainable and fair.  How can we look people in the eye, who are struggling with the cost of living in Jersey and say to them: We are going to put your taxes up.  We are not going to put up those who could pay more.  This is not even progressive taxation.  When the politics of envy normally rears its ugly head, it is normally in jurisdictions which have a progressive - and some would say a wildly progressive - tax rate, where those who earn super amounts have a separate tax band, where they might be charged 50 per cent tax on high earnings, as in the U.K.  Other places have introduced 90 per cent taxes, at certain points in their cycles, to try and rebalance the economy.  This is about where the rich pay proportionately less.  We are not even asking them to pay a little bit more.  We are saying that they could pay less.  If I designed a system, I would probably start off saying only those high earners contribute to long-term care and then, once we need some more money, then we could ask everyone else to do that.  I make that point.  I think those points are understood about the economy.  I do want to make one last point, because we were told about the position of Government and we said: But we have already had this debate.  But today is a new day and something has changed, because when the last comments were made, the Government has already been defeated on this.  So, we are already getting less money in now, because instead of getting the full one per cent, we have agreed, as an Assembly, to have ½ per cent rate and the Minister for Social Security stood up this morning and said the Government can live with that.  So, Government can live with ½ per cent rate, even though they fought tooth and nail to try and kick it out at the last debate, only a few days ago.  Even though that their officers have been designing a completely new system.  What I would say is that if Senator Mézec is successful with his Proposition, the Government will live with that.  They do not mind, because the fund will be sustainable for the next few years and then, after that, if we do need more money we come back to the table and say to the whole of the Jersey community, now we need to put the rate up to 2 per cent from one per cent and, you know what, we can look you in the eyes, because we are not going to be differentiating between the high earners and the low earners. This quote: We simply cannot allow this situation to continue and have to develop policies which address the complex socioeconomic problems to provide real opportunities for all and not just a few.  That was Senator Le Fondré being quoted in the agreement between Reform Jersey and Senator Le Fondré.  It is his Government, it is his strategic priorities which say that we will create a sustainable, vibrant economy, we will reduce income inequality and improve the standard of living.  In this proposal here, in front of us, it is not for us that we are going to win anything, this is a Proposition to hold the Government to account and to also make the Government true to its own words.  Because, without this Amendment, what we are doing is worsening income equality and we are worsening the standard of living for all people on that section in Jersey and we are making income inequality worse off.  These are the facts, I am sorry if some people do not like them, but I think there is a strong argument to move towards this position and people should reconsider their vote and vote differently and give Senator Mézec the support today.

1.1.14Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I do not know, if the Deputy does not like the Government, why is he still in it?  But is that too simple a question?  The marginal rate, from somebody who has worked in the finance industry for more years than I care to remember, will never exceed 20 per cent.  There will be the long-term care stuck on top, yes, but the marginal rate will be 20 per cent max.  But that is how it is.  If the Deputy does not believe me, I suggest he has a session with the Tax Department, or Tolleys have a very good book explaining it.  Senator Mézec talked about Amazon as grinding the faces of the poor.  I wonder, looking at it slightly differently, how many years did Bezos slog on the breadline before he achieved success?  James Dyson the same.  He slogged on the breadline and then finally he managed to achieve success, eventually, when he was a bit older.  You have to remember there is a distinction between corporatism and capitalism.  Corporatism is the people who get to the top of the banks, the oil companies, the food companies, who have not worked up from starting as Mr. Marks and Mr. Spencer did, with a stall in Leeds Market.  They were the capitalists.  The people, who are doing it now, are corporatists, but that is another story.  I would note that in 2016/17 the number of taxpayers paying tax at 20 per cent, according to the Tax Department, totalled around about 5,000 people.  This is why we have a personal tax review going on, although I would like to see a total tax review.  If we are going to be totally fair, should the 30,000-odd people all pay into the fund.  We have made the decision to support those on low incomes.  Surely, the fact that they do not have to pay into the fund is fair.  This is a well-meaning, but misguided Amendment and I ask Members to stick to the facts and reject it.

1.1.15Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

If Members still have in front of them the actuarial reviews of the Long-Term Care Fund, either in Deputy Southerns Amendment, or in the report itself, there are 2 points to this Amendment, which must be looked at, not only is it talking about the cap, but it is also about the rate.

[11:00]

Senator Mézec spoke - and I have in the past too had sympathies - about raising the cap.  We did manage to get the Council of Ministers to agree raising the cap over the Long-Term Care Fund and social security contributions, so incrementally we are moving that way.  Senator Mézec and Reform obviously want to move a bit faster.  Again, not saying that we do not acknowledge the arguments that are being made, but saying we are doing it at a different pace.  My biggest concern is more to do with the one per cent rate.  As we know, if we did not include it, the Long-Term Care Fund would run out around 2027.  Of course, as I said previously in this Assembly, that is providing that the parameters around the fund stay the same, i.e. we still have 700 people coming in and we do not pay any more in the way of the minimum wage.  We know that the objective is to move to a living wage, but that will all affect the sustainability and the cost of the fund, about which no one has contributed to in this debate so far.  The parameters already surrounding the fund, just because the estimates are down to 2027, may not be that and it may be less.  With Senator Mézecs Amendment, it does push that slightly further, because the States went to the 1.5 fund.  I argued for 2 per cent, because of the effect that it would have on capturing more of those baby boomers.  But the States obviously took a different view and decided to let them off the hook once.  Now what is being asked again by Reform and Senator Mézec is not only do we then not have that threshold, where we have some certainty around 2040.  It means that that will go down, which means we will have to come back sooner.  What does that mean?  It means not only do we let the baby boomers off the hook again, but it means having to increase the rate.  However, we wanted to raise it to 2 per cent, so you would have a nice sustainable fund, which would last us well into the future, which the States did not accept.  What I wanted to say to Members is just to remember that the cap is one thing in this Proposition, but the more alarming one is the one that is bringing the rate down to one per cent.  That does not create sustainability in the fund.  The question is: when will we come back, in order to increase the contribution again?  We do not really know.  We have already dodged one decision of putting it up, when know we need to anyway.  When is that going to happen?  Next year?  Just before an election year?  Do not be so sure that this Assembly is going to do that.  That puts the long-term sustainability of the fund into question.  As I say, that is assuming that the parameters around the fund stay the same, which they may not.  For those reasons, I will not be accepting this Amendment.  Members can dwell on the cap, or not, but my particular issue is around lowering the rate to one per cent.  That does not create a sustainable fund going forward.  We know we have issues around the sustainability of this fund, anyway.  The Council of Ministers tried to make that more secure and certain; the States Assembly have rejected that on one point.  I would ask them not to do it again, because it is not good for future generations.

1.1.16Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

I am going to do something I never thought I would do, which is to look at this from the eyes of our 2(1)(e)s.  It is well-known by Members, that I am not convinced of their true economic value to the Island.  I asked the written question twice, now, of their contribution, which has been replied to.  However, one thing we do have with our 2(1)(e)s, is we have a contract with them.  The nature of 2(1)(e)s is they work.  They are primarily entrepreneurs nowadays.  They have built their businesses on contracts, but more importantly they have built their businesses around trust.  This removing of the cap will effectively change the contract and the deal we have with them from 20 per cent up to £750,000 and one per cent above to 21 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.  Now, that is my concern.  If that scares a few off, or if they feel they are being held to ransom, so be it.  That is not my big issue.  My issue is the reputation of the Island with the agreement we have that we have materially changed.  They are a small part of our income.  They are a small part of our global trading and global business, I accept.  However, it is the trust and the reputation that we have that is our number one selling feature into the outside world.  It is those words: trust and reputation.  We will be materially changing something, that could potentially have a detrimental effect to our reputation to the outside world if we pass this today.  Deputy Guida articulated it very well.  The Long-Term Care Fund is one of our jewels.  My aunt currently benefits from it.  How much more money it needs; we had the debate last week and I think we had a very successful debate last week, when we reduced the Governments suggestion from 2 per cent to 1½ per cent and pushed the time out that the fund would be viable for.  We closed that one last week and closed it very successfully.  If we have to have the debate going forwards of how we are going to top this fund up, then that is absolutely fair and right.  However, I cannot support the removing of the cap, which will effectively change our reputation with our 2(1)(e)s and, maybe, prospective 2(1)(e)s of the future and investment coming into the Island.  It is a material change of our contract with them and I cannot support it.

1.1.17Senator I.J. Gorst:

I do not want to re-cover, as it were, the ground that I spoke about when Senator Mézec sought to remove the cap on the other AmendmentI think those arguments still stand.  What I rather sought to do ... I know that Deputy Perchard, earlier in this debate, wanted the moral question answering: why is there a cap, in the first place, in the Social Security Fund that then is in the Long-Term Care Fund?  She probably recognises that these questions are never straightforward.  They are not, to my mind, although I know to others they will be, as simplistic as everyone should pay.  We know that, in the Long-Term Care Fund contribution, right now not everyone pays.  If you are not a taxpayer you do not pay.  I cast my mind back, as I am wont to do and think about: how did we arrive where we are today?  I know that this is often a challenge that Scrutiny put to me, when I am sitting before them.  How have we got to where we are?  Why was such a decision made?  Sometimes there is good evidence for decisions and sometimes I find myself sitting in front of them and simply saying: It is a matter of history.  It was a decision that does not really have necessarily any evidence behind it.  That is just the way it is.  The decision was made on the best advice, or the most reasonable approach at the time.  The Minister has reminded us, in the previous debate, that she sat on a Scrutiny Panel, chaired by former Senator Breckon and a number of Ministers had made political commitments to do something about social care.  It is interesting that we see this right before us today, in the outplaying U.K. election, commitments to doing something about social care, but nothing actually firm in regard to policy proposal.  That Scrutiny Panel gave me a hard time.  I can only describe it like that.  I am not sure if the way that Scrutiny operates now is more of a critical friend; I think, perhaps, it is.  They gave me a thoroughly hard time in bringing forward and delivering the legislative framework, which gives effect to long-term care.  There were some difficult decisions that we had to think about in principle, which as I said then; Senator Le Gresley, aided by Deputy Pinel, brought forward the policies that were based on that framework.  We went across the Island, at that time, when I was Minister, consulting Islanders about the approach that we should take: whether we should simply increase income tax to cover it, whether we should develop a contributory-based system.  Some of this is because of the respect with which the social security pension system is held.  The fact that politicians have been able to make long-term decisions and build up a Social Security Reserve Fund, which now stands at something like £1.4 billion and growing probably - the Minister for Treasury and Resources is indicating - because of difficult decisions that our predecessors were able to make.  That consultation led to the decision that we would introduce a contributory-based system, largely mirroring the way that contributions into the pension fund and into the Health Insurance Fund are undertaken.  That is why we arrived at the position that we were at.  That means that you have a cap.  The Minister has recognised, as we have said, the need to increase that cap.  It was then the next Minister for Social Security, working with Treasury, who decided that we could offer further mitigations to the most vulnerable members of our community, by delivering the charge through the tax system.  This goes to the heart of what Senator Ferguson was saying, when she tried to make a point of clarification with Deputy Tadier, that he bandied around marginal tax rates.  What he forgot to say, is that you do not pay that tax rate on all of your income.  You …

Deputy M. Tadier:

Sir, may I have a point of order?  This is clear misleading.  I was meticulous to make the distinction between the marginal rate and the effective rate.  The Senator is misleading and I think that is a point of order, Sir.

The Bailiff: 

I do not think it is a point of order, Deputy.  You have said what you were going to say.  Carry on, Senator.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I apologise if I am misleading.  I have no intention to mislead at all.  We know that, for the marginal tax rate, one has thresholds, one has areas of ones income which are taken out of the calculation, so one is not paying it on ones full income.  The standard rate - we have an exemption and then we pay that standard rate.  Some of the inherent unfairnesses in the tax system were driven out by that most unpopular of things: 20 means 20.  It was really important that, in the marginal rate, 20 does mean 20.  There are not a great deal of exceptions to that.  We arrived where we are, because out of the consultation that we had across the Island was the clear message to use the contributory system, to have a contract with Islanders that you are going to put aside some of your income into the LongTerm Care Fund for if you need it, care, if you were young, but mostly when you were older.  There is still a need to pay for, in effect, the boarding costs of care. 

[11:15]

Then we put in that cap - cap is probably the wrong word to use in this conversation - of spend up to £50,000.  So that the catastrophic costs, that some other Member mentioned in their speech, was never again, in our community, needing to be met by Islanders.  It was a really important part of the long-term care scheme provision.  What I think Senator Mézec is saying - and it is a perfectly legitimate position to take, but he is not quite saying it today - is he wants to take the cap off the current contributory scheme.  In his heart of hearts, unless I misread the Reforms approach to life, they would much prefer not for it to be a contributory scheme, but for it simply to be added to income tax.  This is where we are ending up having these conversations, throughout the course of this week.  I do not accept that view.  I do not think it should be added to income tax, which is what the effect of removing the cap, altogether, would be.  I still accept the result of the consultation, that we undertook with Islanders, that said they wanted it to be based on the contributory social security scheme.  We listened to those who wanted further mitigations for those with the least income in our community and we used the tax system, in order to mitigate even further.  I think it works very well.  I think that is how we arrive at where we are today.  I do not think, as I said in the previous debate, today simply taking the cap off, making it in effect … transforming it just like that, without the appropriate consultation into a tax, is not the right thing to do.  Personally, I have to say, I am little bit disappointed that we only went with ½ per cent increase to the contributory rate.  I understand entirely why we did it, because we know that Islanders, at the end of the day, no matter how much we pontificate in this place, like to see value for money and they really do not like it when we raise either tax, or contributory rates.  That is something that we have to struggle with and previous Governments have struggled with.  I would rather that we had set the fund up, so that this Government, the next Government, the Government after, the one after that, does not need to revisit it, because it would have strengthened the scheme.  We are not having that argument.  The reason I mention that again is not only do I think it is the wrong thing to do, to transform this contributory base benefit into a tax just simply at the press of 26 buttons this morning, it also does not deal with the long-term sustainability of the fund, as Deputy Maçon so clearly said.  It is, without doubt, shorttermism and must be rejected, even if Members would like to see it as a tax.  It should be rejected on those grounds alone.  It does not raise enough money, it does not give confidence to Islanders and it would create uncertainty in the future viability of the Long-Term Care Fund.  For that reason alone, Members should not support this Amendment today.

1.1.18Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

I rise to speak after the previous speaker, because I was very fascinated by what he had to say.  I thought he was going to say: Why is there a cap?  Why did we choose to have a cap?  The answer turns out to be: for no reasons really, apart from the fact we consulted and people said they preferred this.  So that is what we did.  We did it, because we could, basically.  There is no absolute reason why there should be a cap.  Did that consultation also say: We want it to be contributory benefits, but we want the relatively wealthy, those with highest incomes, to pay less proportionately?  We wish them to have a lower percentage rate to contribute.  Why?  No reason at all; because we could.  The question arises: are we all in this together, or are we not, including those with the highest incomes?  The answer is: what we are proposing here, to remove the cap, is not progressive, it is not even proportionate.  What we have now certainly is not.  No one, on this side of the benches, has any objection to high incomes.  What we do say though is: ensure that you pay your tax.  Insist that what we should be doing is paying our fair share.  That does not mean having a cap, so that those who are relatively wealthy can pay less.  It was interesting to hear this argument about: it is taxation; it is not taxation.  It is taxation, clearly is taxation.  We are doing this, because we do not want to raise the basic rate.  This Government set its mind against that.  We are told this is not a tax, because there is a cap on how much benefit you get.  That came from the Minister for Health and Social Services.  The Minister for Health and Social Services knows that if your needs are extreme, then you will be paid for by taxation out of the Health budget.  That is the reality.  There is a cap.  We are also told - and this is where we are getting a bit tired in the fifth day of debating this Government Plan - that what might happen if we lift the cap, if we abolish the cap, is that some of those, who have to pay a little more, will alter their incomes and make arrangements to avoid such payments.  I say, if that is the reality that what we are talking about is people finding their way round our tax, we should not not do it, but we should do it and let them do their worse.  If that is really the reality, then we are not in this together.  We must, I believe, at this stage, remove the cap. 

The Bailiff: 

Does any other Member wish to speak on this Amendment?  I call on Senator Mézec to respond.

1.1.19Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank all Members who have taken part in what, I think, has been a really good debate.  I guess the Member who I have to thank the most for their contribution is definitely the Constable of St. John, who, by bringing in this idea of the politics of envy and to use the word success in quite a strange way, made many of the points for me.  I have to say that I feel nothing but pity for anybody who believes that the measure of someones success is based on how much money they earn.  Life is about so much more than that.  I consider myself very fortunate to have been brought up by people, to bring me up to believe that your happiness and the fulfilment you get from what you do is what matters.  Deputy Ward gave some excellent examples about the teachers, the nurses, people who work in all sorts of services, who can make a difference for other people and that those are the people who are successful.  I remember explaining to my mum, when I wanted to be a lawyer, that she said that she thought that was a wonderful aspiration, but if I ever changed my mind, she would not be bothered, as long as I was happy.  So, instead of being a miserable lawyer, I am now a happy politician.  My dad taught me about the concept of the failed rich person, the person who has all of this money and cannot find any fulfilment, without having to spend it all on wasteful commodities, which do not improve your life, at all.  We live in a society where people pay tens of thousands of pounds for car licence plates, for goodness sake.  What a complete waste of money!  I cannot understand how anybody can gain any fulfilment from that sort of thing.  I suspect they probably do not, to be honest.  The person who taught me the most about what it means to be successful has got to be my late grandmother, who was, without a doubt, the most generous person I have ever met in my life, despite the fact that she had nothing.  Whatever she ever did acquire she would give to other people.  Perhaps she is similar to the widows mites, that Deputy Tadier referred to in his speech.  I know the Dean has probably got a very busy month ahead of him, but if Members are interested in that story, I am sure they can ask him about it.  The lesson that we are meant to take from that story, about observing people depositing money to the Treasury, where the rich come and they deposit what is a large amount, but what is to them inconsequential, compared to the widow who deposits a mite - which was a type of coin at the time - which was all she had.  The lesson is not just about admiring that widow.  The lesson is also about condemning those who create a system, that enables that to take place, where you can only build the temples, the society, by taxing those with little to oblivion.  That is meant to be the lesson of that story.  I believe that too many people have not cottoned on to that.  I saw something interesting going around on social media this weekend.  I do not know if the exact statistic is accurate, but I am sure there is some truth in it, irrespective of what the statistic may, or may not, be.  The statistic that somebody worked out was that you could tax billionaires in this world and take from them £6,472,200,000,000 and you would not reduce the number of billionaires in the world.  They would all still be left with at least £1 billion and that would not involve taxing people, who only have £1 billion, because they would fall below that threshold.  £6,472,200,000,000 is enough money to cure world hunger into the 2030s.  It is 20 times the amount that is needed to move towards carbon neutrality by 2030.  The fact is that there is wealth and money, in this world, that goes to waste, that does nothing; money that often sits in an account, generating interest, which then the recipient can live off without having earned it.  Senator Ferguson followed on from me, using the example of the head of Amazon, saying that this is someone who inevitably worked very hard in his earlier years to end up with the, I would say, obscene and unjustifiable, wealth that he now has.  I say it is impossible to earn that sort of money.  It is not possible to work hard enough to acquire that money.  Measure it up against somebody, who works for the minimum wage and how many hundreds, or thousands, of times more money a billionaire has.  Have they worked hundreds, or thousands, of times harder than that person on minimum wage?  No, they have not.  It is condescending to suggest anything else other than that.  What we do, in this society, where the rich play by one set of rules and everybody else is treated under a different set of rules is that - this is why I think this idea of the politics of envy is so absurd - is that we treat those, who are often the hardest working worse than those who are often unimaginably lucky, who happen to have been at the right time and place ... we still live in a society where the class in which you were born will dictate what opportunities you have later in life.  All the statistics bear that out.  It is a myth to believe that there is such a thing as a meritocracy and how could anyone possibly think there is, when we have tax caps, for goodness sake.  It is simply a way of maintaining the wealth of those at the top, rather than creating a fair society.  Deputy Perchard, in her excellent speech at the beginning, talked about wanting to hear a rational and evidenced-based argument against this.  I suspect she will be very disappointed this morning at having not heard anything that approaches one. 

[11:30]

I appreciate that this analogy is probably not a great one to use in the age of the climate emergency, but it surely is a fact that if you want to drill for oil, you go to where there is oil.  You do not drill for oil where there is no oil and this is what this L.T.C. tax is about.  It is about taxing people, who are least able to pay and leaving out those who are most able to pay.  It is about drilling for oil where there is no oil, rather than where there is.  If Members are to reject this Amendment today, then I ask them to do more than think, but to come up with their own proposals, to try and find their own way, if they disagree with my way, but find their own way of addressing the economic sickness that we are suffering from, which is that we are becoming a more unequal society, that wealth is trickling upwards, not downwards, that poverty is increasing.  Those people, who are of an economic means today, which decades ago would have seen them comfortably be able to buy a home, comfortably be able to go on a family holiday every year, comfortably be able to put some aside to save up for their futures, are now not able to do it.  How anyone can justify that change in economic circumstances and not be prepared to come up with an alternative, how they blindly accept the status quo, as if there is simply nothing we can do, well of course we will give these tax breaks for the rich; that is just what we do.  The Deputy of St. Peter, I thought, made a very interesting case about this.  He talked about the 2(1)(e)s and how he sort of was not that bothered if they end up paying more, nor am I if asking 2(1)(e)s to pay more, but my heart truly bleeds for them, that they may be thought of to have to pay more.  But he spoke more about the contracts that there are and what this does to Jerseys reputation and the trust that is built with us.  I ask, what does it do about the trust of the public of Jersey in us?  Time and time again we seek to raise taxes on them, to take money from them and nobody has ever been clear with them about this.  It is not the case that people went round in the run up to the May 2018 election and said: Vote for me and I promise I am going to raise your tax 5 per cent.  Nobody openly had that conversation with voters.  It is the case that it is not only possible to keep tax at the level it is for ordinary Islanders and to keep the L.T.C. in a healthy position for years to come.  Yes, not as many years to come, as if we did just raise the rates, but we can do so by lifting the cap.  You can also reduce income tax, by coming up with a fairer system, as well.  There was some back and forward between Deputy Tadier, Senator Ferguson and Senator Gorst about the distinction between marginal relief and 20 means 20.  I think the point that Deputy Tadier was trying to make is that if you are a marginal rate payer and you earn £1,000 more, in that extra £1,000 you give over a quarter of it back in tax.  If you are a 20 means 20 payer and you earn an extra £1,000, you give only a fifth back in it.  I think that that is the point that Deputy Tadier was trying to make, because we are talking about taxable income here.  That, I think, shows why it is absurd to have 2 rates of income tax and if you had one system of income tax, the marginal relief system, you would raise enough revenue to lower it to 5 per cent, have equality across the board, putting us in a much better footing to fund our public services into the future and to be able to do so in a sustainable way.  I will not dwell on this last point for too long, because I do believe I have made the case against it before, previously and I think that it is manifestly ridiculous.  But this idea that we tamper with our tax system in a way that I am proposing, or that others before me have proposed, is a way of demonstrating that we are no longer a stable Island and that it will frighten off these rich people, who will be on the first plane out of the Island.  I say that, fundamentally, this is an antidemocratic argument.  It is about saying know your place, do not believe that you can change the status quo, because if you do so, that will precipitate doomsday for the Island.  It is about saying that, as a society, we are not democratically capable of choosing something different and it is a fundamentally antidemocratic argument.  It is also, I think, demonstrably nonsense, on the basis that we tinker with our tax system all the time.  This Government has said that we will raise the cap to £250,000 and nobody makes this argument that that is going to be doomsday for the Island, that that is going to send people to leave the Island, or that it shows that we are no longer stable, because we are asking for at least something more from the rich.  I ask the question, why is £250,000 the optimum here?  Maybe we could have done £300,000, maybe we could have done £500,000, maybe we could get rid of it entirely.  The idea that £250,000 is the magic number, there is not a shred of evidence to demonstrate that.  For myself to say, purely on practical and moral terms, the cap is wrong, so let us get rid of it, nobody can present any substantial evidence that demonstrates that this will have a negative effect, that this has not been an evidence-based argument to that effect.  I close on that point.  I ask Members to consider, if not this particular Amendment, what will they propose, instead, to fix our economy, to fix our tax system and see a society where life for the majority gets better, rather than worse, or being frozen, as it has for the past decade?  If you do not have the courage of your convictions to ask those at the top, who have never had it better, to contribute a bit more, so that 99 per cent of us can live better lives, I ask, what do they propose instead?  If they are content for Jersey, like other countries very sadly are, to be a society that works in the interests of the rich and no one else, that is fine, but can they openly say so and campaign on that basis in future?  We can then let the public decide on clear grounds, rather than impose stealth tax and tax increase time and time again, as we do, with no democratic mandate, which is what the proposal to raise L.T.C. to what would have been 2 per cent, but which will now be 1½ per cent and has no mandate and I believe goes against what the public would have expected from us, when the alternative is fairness instead.  On that basis, I call for the appel.

The Bailiff:

The appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting. 

POUR: 11

 

CONTRE: 36

 

ABSTAIN: 1

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

1.2Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): eighth Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(8))

The Bailiff:

We now come to Amendment number 8.  It is an Amendment lodged by Deputy Higgins.  There is a slight change to the running order in that the Council of Ministers has withdrawn their Amendment to this Amendment, so this is the debate on the Amendment in its entirety and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 3 new paragraph (i) - after paragraph (h), insert the following new paragraph (i) and re-letter the remaining paragraph accordingly - (i) to agree that the Justice and Home Affairs Department should increase the annual funding for the Islands 4 cadet force organisations to £20,000 each for the years 2020 to 2023; and.

1.2.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Unlike the Amendments, that we have been voting on in the last week, which involve hundreds of thousands of pounds, or millions of pounds, this Amendment is very modest, if not insignificant, in the scheme of things; but for the organisations and people concerned it is very important.  The Amendment is about investing in our children and in Jerseys future and thus it meets the first of the Governments strategic aims, by putting children first.  The Amendment, in particular, is concerned with the cadet forces; the Air Cadets, the Army Cadets, Sea Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force which serve the whole of the Island and not individual Parishes.  I think most Members are aware of these organisations, some because they may have been a member of one of them, or they could have members of their family who have been part of the organisations and others because they have seen the cadets on ceremonial occasions, such as royal visits, or on Remembrance Day.  Although these organisations are affiliated to the armed forces, they are not recruiting organisations for them, nor are they directly funded by them and their officers and instructors are unpaid volunteers, who put in hundreds and hundreds of hours of their own time every year.  The armed forces, however, do provide the cadets with a range of opportunities and activities for them to take part in outside the Island, such as camps on military bases, flying, gliding, sailing, kayaking, rock climbing, hill walking, shooting, et cetera.  But these activities are not without cost to the cadets, or to their units.  In addition to that, equipment used by the cadets needs to be replaced over time and electricity, telephone, internet bills and other expenses need to be paid.  In my life, I have been a member of ordinary youth clubs and 2 uniformed youth organisations; the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and the Air Training Corps.  I have also been a full-time youth worker and an officer on a cadet squadron, an air experience flight, so I have had first-hand knowledge of both and I fully support both types of youth organisations.  The cadet units, however, are different to youth clubs in their operation and while there are some shared attributes and activities, there is a difference.  Youth clubs offer a more general range of activities and have a more laissez faire attitude, whereas the cadet units have a structured programme of training and activities and an ethos that stresses leadership, team work, respect, loyalty, selfconfidence, self-discipline, self-reliance, honesty and integrity and good citizenship, which I think we would all agree are qualities that we need in this Island and in the country, as a whole.  They also offer the cadets a range of educational qualifications, such as a B.E.T.A. (Basic Expedition Training Award), City and Guilds and they also teach them a number of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, as well as giving tuition and support for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.  These courses and qualifications not only benefit the cadets themselves, but also the Island workforce, which is better educated.  Although a small number of cadets from each unit may join the armed forces each year, the greater majority join the Islands uniformed services; police, fire and ambulance, or work in other parts of the public service and volunteer in all sorts of capacity.  I happen to believe that we are fortunate to have these units and the staff who run them, as they prove to be among the best units in the country.  To give you some examples, Number 7 Overseas Squadron was recently recognised as the best of 900 Air Cadet units in the country and the Marine and Navy sections of the Sea Cadets have also been recognised, in recent years, for their excellence.  A number of the officers of these organisations have also been the recipients of national and local awards over the last 2 years; Flight Lieutenant Vicki Atherton and Lieutenant Commander André Bonjour have both been awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) and Flight Lieutenant Leighton Jenkins was the winner of the OneGov Community Champion Award.  They are the organisations.  The purpose of this Amendment is to try to secure some additional funding for the cadet forces, to make up for some of the erosion of their grants in real terms since 2003 and 2004, so that they can continue to do the good work they do for the benefit of the cadets concerned and the Island as a whole.  Cadet units were given a grant of £18,000 per annum per unit up to 2003 and £10,000 per annum per unit since then.  Had the £18,000 grant been upgraded annually, by the rate of inflation, it would have been worth £27,420 today.  If the £10,000 grant had been upgraded, it would have been worth £15,336 today.  The Sea Cadets, in particular, have been poorly supported by the Islands Government.  Their headquarters at Fort Regent leaks and it is unfit, in many respects, for use.  Although the States have voted twice for funds for new headquarters over the last 10 or more years, it has wasted a lot of the money and has failed to deliver and build it.  Currently, water has leaked into the electrics of the female toilet and rendered it unusable, so the girls have to go to the Fort itself to use the toilet.  In conclusion, I am asking the Assembly to support these organisations, by upgrading their grant, not to the £27,420 it should have been, if we had restored the original grant with inflation, but to £20,000 per annum per unit, so they can continue the good work.

[11:45]

Although the Council of Ministers originally opposed the Amendment, they have now dropped their objections and agreed to fund the increase.  I hope Members will, therefore, support the Amendment and our cadet forces by voting for it, as well.

The Bailiff:

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

The Connétable of St. John:

If I could declare an interest, there are wonderful organisations out there.  I hope Members will support it, but I must declare an interest as a member of the Sea Cadets management unit.

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I must also declare an interest, Sir, because I am also on the management committee of the Sea Cadets.

1.2.2Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

Just briefly, I wanted to perhaps tackle one of the Deputys points where he said that the Government has not supported these organisations.  I absolutely agree with him and I will be supporting his Amendment.  But I do want to clarify the fact that, in spite of the various imprecations that were levelled at the Parish of St. Helier last week over our youth budget, the Parish of St. Helier Youth Committee has supported the various organisations and, particularly, the Sea Cadets.  We have often asked them to apply to the Committee - and now the Trust - for grants, because we are very keen to support that kind of organisation in the Parish.

The Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak?  I call on Deputy Higgins to respond.

1.2.3Deputy M.R. Higgins:

I would just like to thank the Constable of St. Helier for his comments and for the support.  I am sure those who are involved with the Sea Cadets will get in touch with the Parish shortly.  I would also like to thank the Chief Minister, because, originally, there was opposition to this and I understand the reasons why there was opposition to giving an extra £10,000 per unit.  But the Chief Minister found the money and I am very grateful for that and I am sure the cadets will be so.  I shall ask for the appel.

The Bailiff:

The appel is called for, I invite Members to return to their seats.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 38

 

CONTRE: 0

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

 

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

 

 

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. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

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 K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

1.3Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): second Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2))

The Bailiff:

Very well, we now come to Amendment number 2 lodged by Deputy Labey and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 3, paragraph (i) - after the words Appendix 4 to the Report insert the words - except that, on page 111 of Appendix 4, after the words prior to the debate of the Government Plan, there should be inserted the following words - Implementation of the Efficiencies Plan for 2020-23 will not, however, include any extension of standard car-parking charging hours from the current 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. to 7.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (as was initially proposed in Efficiencies Plan 2020-23 (R.130/2019)).

1.3.1Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

This morning I heard from a very vexed Member of this Assembly, who had heard first-hand the message coming from the upper echelons of Broad Street and it was this: We only put car-parking charges into the Government Plan to lose it.  In other words, the Assembly is being played.  This is not an imperative, it is a Brucie bonus, in a bizarre game of Play Your Cards Right and the timing is an insult.  In May, the States declared a climate emergency.  In July it is agreed that a new sustainable transport policy was needed by the end of the year - in 4 weeks time - finding ways to inform in areas, help tackle climate change, enable Islanders to become more active and healthy, improve local air quality, ease congestion on our roads.  There is absolutely no evidence supplied, or no impact assessment, to suggest, or back up the claim from Government that these measures will, in any way, improve on any of those 4 imperatives.  The timing, as I say, could not be worse.  These plans were published by the Government while the public consultation to the Sustainable Transport Policy was live.  Why could they not have waited for the results of it?  What does it say to those members of the public, who have taken the trouble to go online and fill in the survey and give their opinions, or picked up the survey from the Parish Halls and delivered them, or just written in with their ideas?  What does it say to those people taking part in the whole process, to arrive at a properly-arrived at sustainable transport policy?  What does it say to them when Government slams in, arbitrarily, these charges, dressed up as green measures?  We all know they are not, they are revenue-raising, pure and simple.  Worse still, it is quite possible that these measures will act against the 4 imperatives of the new Sustainable Transport Policy, because disincentivising the use of off-peak hours is a daft thing to do, because you will incentivise the continued use of on-peak hours, which is where the congestion happens and what we want to try and negate, so that it could make matters worse.  When I speak to Members of the Executive over the last week and ask them whether they are going to support my Proposition, most of them say no emphatically and they all come up with the statistics published in the report to the Governments Amendment to my Amendment, that Jersey parking charges are over 50 times less than the average in the U.K.  They are very pleased with this statistic and very pleased with themselves for having it.  It is a worry, that intelligent people, running our Government, can be so fooled by such a ridiculous comparison.  There simply is no comparison on transport policy between Jersey and the U.K., because the U.K. has things like trains, trains that go underground too and bring workers in from satellite towns, or the farthest reaches of the suburbs into the heart of cities.  The U.K. has trams; we do not in Jersey have trains, or trams.  We should be looking at trams and the tram is back in vogue.  I very much hope that the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Infrastructure are aware of the Parry People Mover and if they are not, you could Google parrypeoplemovers.com and up will come all the information.  Fantastic little trams, that do not require overhead cables, because of flywheel technology, which stores kinetic energy and is used to propel the vehicle.  Would it not be fantastic to have some of those buzzing around the ring road of St. Helier?  The U.K. has buses that run every 7 minutes and some of them 24 hours a day, Jersey does not.  The U.K. has bus lanes, Jersey does not.  I came in on the number 8 bus this morning and I was all ready to time it, but we sailed through, for some reason this morning; there was no congestion and we sailed through.  But very often, on my number 8 bus ride, the journey from Portinfer to First Tower can take as long as the journey from First Tower into the bus station.  There is potential for a bus lane there, in peak time.  The wonderful Chief Executive Officer of LibertyBus has got it all worked out and I hope we are listening to him.  We do not have bus lanes.  We do not have car parks, with floors dedicated to fleets of car-share, or car-club, cars, as they do in the U.K., one right next door to me in Chiswick.  We do not have as many dedicated cycle lanes as we should have.  Build it and they will come is as true of roads and car parks as it is of safe cycle routes, where cyclists, of all ages, can get from A to B safely on their bicycle, without ever having to share space with motorised vehicles; we should be able to do that.  We do not have Qatari families shipping their Ferraris into Mayfair and Knightsbridge for one month of every year in the summer and happy to feed metres at 20p, or more, a minute.  We do not have that.  It is just an illustration of how ludicrous it is to compare our parking policy and our parking charges with those of the U.K.  It is a nonsense.  Most of that list that I read out - it is a cliché, I like to avoid clichés like the plague but we have to bring this up - the list of measures I was talking about there are, of course, the carrots in the carrot and stick argument of parking policy.  You give the carrot and you apply the stick.  In Jersey it is all stick, no carrot and this arbitrary move by the Government is just yet another stick without any … it may be that we have to increase parking charges more than this, but it should be part of a package, it should be part of a carrot and stick package, not arbitrary and not on its own and not 4 weeks before all those people, who have been working on a Sustainable Transport Policy publish their results.  The Government says this will change behaviour, well it might change behaviour, but for the worse.  I went to lunch, last week, in a popular restaurant opposite the Town Hall, Miguel comes with the menu and he said: Russell, what are you doing to me?  You might as well shut me down.  The Impôts on the alcohol, the fuel, now the parking charges.  Cumulatively it all adds up and it does make a difference.  It is something we should be aware of, I believe.  Senator Moore was absolutely right when she said this last week: The biggest problem in my constituency and she did her homework in 2018 and she was right: The biggest issue in my constituency, in 2018, when we were running for election was not the hospital, was not immigration, was housing, but coupled with this: the high cost of living on the Island.  That is what the majority of my constituents, I know, have as their major concern.  This is going to affect my constituents in St. Helier.  It is going to affect the mother, who works out of town, comes back into town, gets to Halkett Place and Dumaresq Street and parks for 5.15 p.m., does her shopping in town, market, or where have you, before she gets back in the car and drives home.  It is going to affect her.  I know, because she has written and told me so.  It is going to affect people, it is going to affect businesses in St. Helier in that off-peak hour.  It is quiet and the more people we can get into the shops for that off-peak hour the better.  It is ludicrous to, on the one hand, bring down the de minimis on bringing in stuff from Amazon to help the High Street, but on the other hand affect them in this way with higher parking charges.  It is going to affect the workers in town, who might have stayed and socialised and had a drink with their office friends between 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m., or gone for a meal.  It is going to affect them, they are going to get in the car at 5.00 p.m. and they are going to disappear from town, as quickly as they can.  I am not going to labour the point.  The Constable of St. Clement made a very interesting point at the beginning of this whole debate last week, when he was talking about populist voting and it is a difficult call now, populist voting, especially on a green issue.  The green issues are important to people, especially young people and so it is very difficult and this population, properly informed and educated and given the decency of being properly explained to, this population will back us when we take hard green initiatives.  This is not even a soft green initiative, it is not a green initiative, it is revenue-raising, pure and simple.  It is difficult to say where the populist vote is, but my feeling is definitely it is trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes and it is a little hypocritical.  I make the Proposition.

The Bailiff:

Is the Amendment seconded?  [Seconded]

The Connétable of St. Helier:

I am hoping this will not be a long debate, there we go, really because …

 

1.4Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): second Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2)) – Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2)Amd.)

The Bailiff:

I am sorry, I beg your pardon, Connétable, entirely my fault, there is an Amendment, of course, which has to be proposed first, which I have forgotten to call upon and I apologise.  Very well, there is an Amendment, lodged by the Council of Ministers and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

In the words to be inserted by P.71/2019 Amd.(2) in Appendix 4 to P.71/2019, for the word any substitute the word the; and after (R.130/2019)) insert the words , but the proposed extension to 6.00 p.m. shall be maintained, and the standard retail cost per hour for public parking shall be increased by 5p per hour.

[12:00]

1.4.1Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour (The Minister for Infrastructure - rapporteur):

Increasing parking charges is never welcome.  Firstly, can I say I understand Deputy Labeys logic in bringing forward this Amendment?  Obviously, if the petition had reached 5,000, there would be little point in debating a proposal in isolation to the Government Plan.  However, I am disappointed the Deputy made no attempt to put forward a compromise, or alternative, to compensate for the loss of this income.  In his report, the Deputy lists the following reasons to support his Amendment: It is not an efficiency, it is an assault on those who live in St. Helier, it has negative effect on the retail industry and it is not a green issue.  I think it is only right I should address this.  Is it an efficiency?  As we know, the Government issued an efficiencies plan.  Very clearly, within the plan, it defines what has been included.  There are 4 categories, in particular it says: (4) The extension and increase of existing charges, or introduction of new charges have as revenue-raising measures.  This measure clearly falls into this category.  Yes, it is true, people who live in St. Helier will be affected.  We want to reduce the hours of free parking.  This new Amendment reduces free parking by one hour only, as opposed to the original proposal, which reduced it by 2 hours.  Residents of St. Helier, who currently use their vehicles during the day and return in the evening after 5.00 p.m., would now have to pay an hours parking if they are in a chargeable area.  There are a few points worth considering here, St. Helier Residential parking zones, a scheme administered by the Parish, residents pay for overnight parking and visitors to the area pay for parking up to 10.00 p.m.  Unlike commuters into St. Helier, who will require parking and incur charges during the day, the St. Helier residents will commute out of St. Helier, or use their vehicles during the day, such as work vans, most likely have free parking at their town workplace.  Clearly, those who live outside St. Helier, pay much more.  Will it adversely affect the retail industry?  The original proposal was about extending the chargeable hours, an hour in the morning from 7.00 a.m. start, instead of 8.00 a.m., not a period of time identified with high retail sales and extending charging from 5.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.  There is more retail activity at this time, with most shops closing at 5.30 p.m., but is far from peak time and it would be unusual for someone to come in and park for just ½ an hour.  Deputy Labey states that at least 50 local councils in the U.K. make no money, whatsoever, from parking, or even make a loss.  I do not know what [indistinct] reaction to that picture, but let me paint a few more of the numbers for you.  Of the 343 English councils, 278 reported they expected to make a profit, while 65 predicted they would break even, incur a loss, or their parking is managed by another authority.  Is it a green issue?  Transport accounts for over 30 per cent of carbon emissions; parking is but a by-product of vehicle usage, clearly, by association, it is a green issue.  I started by saying I understood the logic behind Deputy Labey bringing his Amendment; however, there was a crucial sentence included in the original proposal in the efficiencies plan that has gone unreported and seemingly unnoticed.  At the end of the proposal it said: While the Minister supports the value of the efficiency, the precise nature of the delivery is subject to further analysis by officers.  While I agreed the amount of saving, I had not made a final decision on how this could be achieved.  I wanted more work to be done on options.  Officers have looked at different alternatives and we have also listened to the views expressed by the public, some of whom I noted were upset that the perceived hardship on St. Helier residents was highlighted as special.  The Council of Ministers has, therefore, lodged this Amendment, extending the chargeable hours from 5.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. only and increasing the unit cost of parking by 3p over the annual inflation increase of 2p, making a 5 pence increase.  This would make one unit cost 90p, up from 85p.  Just to be clear, we would have been increasing the cost of parking by 2p to account for inflation, which is customarily done in February every year, so we are just looking at an additional 3 pence.  This is a compromise, spreading the increase across commuter parking and what is perceived to be residential parking.  It is a price increase, but I believe it is the best option available at this time and it is for a good cause.  The extra income is needed for the ambition of the Government Plan.  Jersey does not have high parking charges, in comparison to other places.  The Deputy did mention we cannot compare like with like, but I think we can.  If we compare our house prices, they are indeed equivalent to London prices.  The U.K. average for off-street parking is £2.08 per hour, more than double what we charge here.  On-street charges compare much the same.  Our parking stock is a huge asset to the Government and the Island of Jersey.  We have 81 car parks around the Island.  They range from hoggin-covered coastal sites to our multi-storeyed car parks.  There is free parking at most of these sites.  They are well managed and well regulated.  There is also on-street stock, that the Parish of St. Helier gets a share of this income and the fine income.  In summary, we cannot afford to forego this income, without a significant impact on the Government Plan.  We have reached a compromise from the original proposal, in order to achieve this income.  I will be bringing forward a new Sustainable Transport Policy in the coming weeks, as required by this Assembly and this Amendment compliments the policy, so I hope Members will support it.  I will be bringing the S.T.P. (Sustainable Transport Policy) very soon and it is my wish to bring cycling well into town, but it will mean loss of some on-street car parking, which cannot be avoided.  I ask Members to support the Amendment.

The Bailiff:

Is the Amendment seconded?  [Seconded] 

1.4.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

In proposing his Amendment to the Government Plan, Deputy Labey asked whether we were being played.  I think it is the Minister, who is being played by the Council of Ministers, here.  My theory is that this Amendment will be defeated and Deputy Labeys Amendment to the Government Plan will be supported, to sweeten the pill of the swingeing increases that this Assembly has agreed in fuel and alcohol duty, to name but 2.  That is my confidence and that is why I said, at the outset, when I tried to speak on Deputy Labeys Amendment, that I do not think they should take very much time.  I also do not think it should take very much time, because Deputy Labey has really covered all the bases.  He has not really left us much to say and I hope that Members will agree with me there.  I am only going to speak once on this, but I think there were 2 things I wanted to add about parking and the effect of putting up prices like this and I obviously want to make a few comments on the Ministers Amendment.  But just to tackle, first of all, the Sustainable Transport Policy, which the Minister has helpfully said is coming in the next few weeks.  I guess it had better, because he will be timed out after 4 weeks.  I must say that I think the Minister is going to have to undergo a Damascus Road experience, if he is to bring forward a policy which is going to convince this Assembly and indeed the public, that sustainable transport is going in a new direction in 2020.  Because, judging by his comments, trying to defend really an indefensible increase in public parking, there is no change of heart there yet, but there is still time.  I am now going to move away from any biblical allusions, because I know that the Chair can get a bit twitchy when Members refer to the Bible.  It is a confidence issue, as far as I am concerned.  Not this Minister particularly, let us not load him with the responsibility, but successive Ministers of this Department have failed to bring forward a Sustainable Transport Policy, or, indeed, to implement the kind of measures that would have made this Amendment unnecessary.  So, there is an enormous amount riding on the document that the Minister is producing.  I have not seen it yet and I am not even sure I am looking forward to it, but there is a lot riding on it.  There are 2 main reasons I want to add to what Deputy Labey has said about why it is wrong to tinker with the cost of parking in public car parks.  The first is that the Government has made no attempt, at all, to tackle what practitioners call P.N.R.P., or private nonresidential parking, because what Jersey has - and it is very unusual - we have a high percentage of car parks, which are not in the public ownership and which the public, therefore, cannot influence the cost of.  There is a lot of privately-owned parking, there is a lot of privately-owned commuter parking, there is a lot of parking owned by offices.  Many cities in the U.K., in particular, do not allow office developments to include parking, because they want parking to be part of the Government-controlled efforts to improve life in town centres and to reduce congestion.  But we have it; I think it is something like 60 per cent of people, who are driving into work in the morning, in St. Helier, are driving to a car park that is not controlled by the Minister.  Therefore, for any changes to be made to public car parks, which do not affect the privately-owned ones, there is a clear issue of fairness.  How can it be fair to put up the price for some people and not for others?  Until you have a holistic approach to parking, you are not going to do that in a fair way.  Secondly - and more importantly - there has been a complete lack of consultation with the Parish that is mainly concerned by this inclusion in the Government Plan.  It has been admitted by the Minister that St. Helier residents will be most affected by his proposals.  Why, then, did he not come to the Parish and talk about them with us.  If this had been another Parish, if this had been in St. Martin, if things had gone different in the 19th century and the capital was in St. Martin - because that is where the harbour had been built and that is where the main town was - can you imagine that the Minister would not have discussed with the Constable of St. Martin and the Roads Committee of St. Martin?  I think not.  The fact that we have had no consultation about this, I think, really means that we should be kicking it out, right away.  For the Minister to talk - incomprehensibly, I have to say - about residents parking, I did not see where he was going with his remarks about it.  I know that not everyone likes residents parking and I must say it is a bit of a Frankensteins monster for me, I have to say, given that it seems to upset both those who enjoy it and those who do not.  But it is irrelevant, as far as this discussion is concerned.  The fact is, we must not tinker with the cost of public parking in the current climate, just a few weeks away from what, I hope, will be a landmark document, changing the direction of private transport in Jersey.  For this reason, I urge Members to reject the Ministers Amendment and to support Deputy Labey. 

1.4.3Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier:

I am very pleased that, finally, we could hear from the Minister what it is.  It is loss of income, it means this is the income and if it will pass it will be loss of income, so is it efficiencies?  Finally, we have a confirmation it is not.  Will it change behaviour?  We have heard it will not really change behaviour.  What it is, it is probably a new tax on St. Helier residents, on top of any other taxes that we had before.  There is a comparison between land in Jersey and I will give you another comparison.  I had a look how much is the cost of a residential permit at Kensington and Chelsea.  Between £134 for eco-friendly cars to £236 for non-eco-friendly cars.  How much does the residential permit cost in St. Helier - which is very difficult to get, because my residents need to wait for 2 years to get residential parking permit in St. Helier - it costs £316 plus G.S.T. (Goods and Services Tax).  I would like to not be pointed to St. Helier, because I would like to see that the Minister will think: You know what, we have absolutely free top 2 floors at Fort Regent car park where St. Helier residents can park after 5.00 p.m. for free.

[12:15]

We can get more spaces for St. Helier residents, who come back to town and can use the car park that is empty anyway, between 5.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m., when people are not coming to town.  This is another idea.  We can work on this together.  It is happening in other places, when the public car parks used for the residents for free during night times when they do not have spaces to park.  The Constable touched on private car parking, but this was another one that has not been considered.  The third one: season tickets.  If something would change behaviour, somebody who comes to St. Helier and parks for 9 hours to be in St. Helier, maybe if their season tickets will go up it can cover the cost that we would like to arrange.  It is not popular.  I agree with the Minister on one thing, it is not popular to raise car park charges, but the question which car park charges we raise to change the behaviour and during what times car park charges change to raise the behaviour.  More ideas?  Lots.  People come by bus and some senior citizens really struggle to walk from the car park to La Motte Street and back to the car park, because it is a long way for them to walk.  So, if we have good buses and we had some shuttle, electric type of shuttle that will run all the time from the bus station to La Motte Street, through King Street, through the market, back to the bus stop, people might well not need to park to shop in town.  They will be very happy to take the bus, come to town, jump in the shuttle and go around town and go back to the bus station.  I will not continue my point, we do need to work together and consult St. Helier.  St. Helier should be included, because the parking is in St. Helier and this affects St. Helier residents.  I agree with Deputy Labey, it should be part of a bigger package and not one of a raising of revenue.

1.4.4Deputy J.H. Perchard:

I would like to just touch upon 2 points, one has already been alluded to by Deputy Gardiner, in that this is absolutely not a green initiative.  It says, in the accompanying report to the Amendment to the Amendment, that this is a contribution to the climate emergency, but without giving any clear evidence for the fact that behaviour would indeed change, should it be enacted, which I do not believe it would be.  I mean, if you were to put the parking up to £10 an hour, I think you certainly would see a change in behaviour, but that is not going to be the case here.  Furthermore, the fact that the Council of Ministers quite willingly made a compromising Amendment, that would see the impact of their original Proposition reduced by 50 per cent, suggests to me that if it is intended to tackle the climate emergency, it is not something that they hold very dear to their hearts, because this Amendment would cut in half the revenue they would have made, had they not amended the Proposition and had Deputy Labeys failed.  This is absolutely not an Amendment designed to tackle the climate emergency.  The other thing I would like to just very briefly mention is to do with the definition of efficiency.  It is the case that the definition, provided by the Government, includes the term revenue-raising measures but that is not a dictionary definition of the word efficiency.  The word efficiency means a ratio of useful output to input, or a minimum expenditure of time and effort, good use of time and energy.  It is the state, or quality, of being efficient.  To define a word as meaning something that it does not is simply an example of Orwellian doublespeak.  Frankly, the difference, of course, between Big Brother and the Government is the fact that the Government have quite openly and explicitly defined one word as meaning something other than it does.  So, for me, the whole discussion and rhetoric around efficiencies is problematic.  We cannot just start calling things something they are not and expecting the Assembly to say: Well, it is green, we are going to vote for it.  Well, it is an efficiency, we are going to vote for it because we will not, because we know what words mean.  Those are the 2 main points I wanted to make, in addition to the points made so far, which I also agree with and which I hope do convince the Assembly that this is not a green initiative, it is not an example of efficiency and we should kick out this Amendment, support Deputy Labeys and get on with the rest of our debate. 

1.4.5Deputy M. Tadier:

I have got some ire for both Deputy Labey and for the Minister on this.  I do not know if we can get a biblical quote in, but when I think of the new Green Street, with its one way, which Deputy Labey fought for and which many of us supported, I like to think of Deputy Labey riding on a little donkey down that street and the residents of St. Helier No. 1 thinking: Behold, here comes our saviour, riding on a donkey all the way to come and see us and he has come from the far reaches of St. Ouen, or possibly Chiswick, to do that.  I am sure it is a very exciting experience were they to see him, either at Christmastime, or Easter, riding on that colt, hopefully the right way, because I know that there is an exemption for buses and cycles, which I would imagine also extends to donkeys.  The reason I use the donkey analogy is not completely gratuitously, because I was an asked for an analogy by the Constable of St. Helier, but because the mover, in the original Amendment, talked about carrots and sticks.  We know that Guernsey have a fondness for donkey politics and they are introducing a system of donkey voting.  But it seems to me that, in Jersey, we find it very difficult and so I am not going to accuse Deputy Labey of being a populist, but I think it becomes difficult for him and even the Minister, arguably, to fend off the inevitable cries of populism when, on the one hand, Deputy Labey says: This Government is all about stick, stick, stick but when he had the opportunity to support Deputy Wards Proposition, to introduce free buses, only a few months ago, Deputy Labey - and I do not know if all of his party members voted against Deputy Ward, but they certainly rejected the call for students in Jersey to have free buses by rejecting parts (a) and (b).  So, in fact, it seems to me that some of those who stand up and say that the position that the Deputy is espousing is populist, I have some sympathy with that, because it seems to me that Deputy Labey does not want to introduce the carrot, when he has the opportunity to do it, because he has got one vote like the rest of us, yet he is quite happy to accuse the Minister of being all stick.  Let us be honest about this and this is the case for a lot of the Government Plan; we are all caught in this position.  The first thing that we all know to be true is that this Government Plan will go through and it will go through largely unamended.  We cannot kick it out, because, otherwise, we would have no Government Plan, but that is the argument that will be used at the end of it, so this is the time that we have the nuanced debates about tax and spending.  I have to say that some of this debate, generally, is difficult for me and I am sure for others, because a lot of what wants to be achieved in the Government Plan is completely laudable and it is necessary and it does make provision for everyone in society, or it seeks to do that, especially those groups which have fallen behind, children being one of them.  The problem is that the laudable outcomes are funded, by and large, by a completely amoral stance, which is taken on where the money comes from.  We have seen the argument being put forward that we cannot touch certain sacred cows, for example: income tax is a sacred cow, we cannot touch that; the zero rate of income tax does not even get mentioned, because we understand that is complex and that is a sacred cow.  G.S.T. is a sacred cow, we cannot change the rates of G.S.T. or put exemptions on it, because that is a sacred cow.  We can hike up fags and booze and we do that year on year, even though many of the poorest in our society are the ones who smoke.  We are quite happy to do that, because we take an amoral stance on it.  Again, there can be an environmental argument made for this, but it is not very well targeted, is it, because it seems to me that whether you are talking about people using their car and then needing to park and pay for parking - and that is the first problem, it only targets people who pay for parking - so if you have got a parking space provided for you at work, like we do, or some of our employees in the States sector do, you are going to be completely unaffected by that.  It does not mean that you cannot afford to pay it.  It is a completely blunt tool to do that.  Also, does a car that comes in, let us say, at 4.00 p.m. in the afternoon and stays until 8.00 p.m., does that pollute less than a car, which might come in at 7.00 a.m. and then leave at 4.00 p.m., or leave at 6.00 p.m.?  I do not think they do.  There is an argument of course and it is correct that we do want to change behaviour, not just in terms of pollution, but in terms of car usage.  So, arguably, a car that is sitting along Victoria Avenue, or the Inner Road of whichever Parish is probably churning out more and if it can help change behaviour ... but I do not think this is going to change behaviour, this is just another easy tax.  But I would like to get inside the mindset of the Minister.  We have seen Ministers, right across the board, sticking to their guns by and large and arguing against Amendments and winning them and I do not get why the Minister has amended this, in such a peculiar way.  It should be all, or nothing.  If I were the Minister, or there were another Minister, I would either say: I have been convinced by the merits of the argument, therefore, I am pulling it all together and what I will say is that I will come back with a proper joined-up policy, which is going to tackle all the parking issues in St. Helier, look at holistically and we are going to look at ways to get people on the bus, cycling and walking more.  Or I would just simply maintain it in its entirety, because that is the advice I have been given.  If it is good enough to lodge it with a 7.00 a.m. to a 6.00 p.m., before it was amended, why is it not good enough to maintain that?  So, I would like some help from the Minister, because I am quite happy to leave it unamended, or otherwise and I suspect I am going to vote against it.  I suspect that Deputy Labey is going to be quite successful in this, but for multiple reasons, I think the populist argument is out there and that may be the one that ultimately sways it, but certainly I think that there are good arguments logically to vote against the extension of the pay generally.

1.4.6Deputy R.J. Ward:

A number of things.  I must say that the Minister produced another speech - and we have seen so many from Ministers - and part of it talked us through where the car parks were in the Island.  We seem to have had so many speeches where we have just had padding.  Let us talk about the actual issues that are here.  I must disagree with my Constable, I am afraid, because I cannot wait for the Strategic Transport Policy.  I am looking forward to it, as much as the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special, I think.  But then, I suppose I am getting used to disappointment in this Chamber and I am dealing with it so much better than I used to.  That is a good thing, by the way; it is good for my mental health.  I am dealing with things.  We have a complete lack of a joined-up transport policy that will produce the drivers to get people out of their cars.  Until we have something that will address that issue, just putting an extra 5 pence on car parking is going to make absolutely no impact on the behaviour of drivers, at all.  This is not a green initiative.  This is not an initiative that will address climate change.  What it does show - and a real concern of mine - is a slight shift that we are starting to see across the Chamber, this notion that we are so small, we cannot really affect climate change, so let us water it down.  That is what concerns me, as much as anything else about this proposal.  This addresses an issue that will affect St. Helier residents more than ever, yet again and it will also mean it does not address the big issues.  It was mentioned by Deputy Labey regards private parking spaces.  We do not address those; we should be addressing those.  If you want, somehow, to address revenue raising - and let us be honest, this is just a revenue-raising measure - if it was ring-fenced towards providing a free bus service, you might get my vote on this.  If it was ring-fenced towards providing an eastern cycle path network and getting it running, you might have my vote on this.  But it is not.  We are not addressing these issues, at all.  Until we start to do that, I will not be supporting these inappropriate, badly targeted, measures.  Is it not ironic that most of the arguments against Amendments have been that they are badly targeted, even when they were not?  So, let us give the Council of Ministers a little taste of their own medicine here.  This is badly targeted, the wrong time, the wrong place and for the wrong reasons.  I urge you to reject this Amendment.

[12:30]

1.4.7Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I think we have considered the impact that this might have on St. Helier residents and indeed the original proposal within the Government Plan and I understand that and I sympathise.  I also thought about the impact that this might have on St. Saviour residents and specifically in my district of St. Saviour 2, which is adjacent to town.  We have a problem where people, who cannot afford to park in Town, they use the roads in and around housing estates and Parish-owned roads and it is quite a big problem in St. Saviour 2.  I understand that the Ministers have to raise revenue, that is something that we have to do and parking charges are a legitimate avenue by which to do that.  But I think specifically extending at the end of the day, even by an hour, is going to disproportionately affect residents in my district of St. Saviour 2, because it is going to make it more likely that people will, rather than waiting until 6.00 p.m. and using the empty car parks and the spaces, that they will be coming into St. Saviour more and more and using the spaces, which are not restricted and are available in that Parish more and more.  I do not want to see that happen; so, unfortunately, I cannot support the Minister on this one and - I will only speak once - I will be supporting Deputy Labey.

1.4.8Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I have been listening with interest and there have been some arguments that I probably anticipated coming through.  It is interesting how there are some inconsistencies, I would argue, in terms of the arguments being put forward to not support the Amendment that the Minister and the Council of Ministers are recommending.  Let us start at the beginning here and what one is trying to do as well.  Question for Members: do we accept that we have a car traffic congestion problem?  Yes, or no?  For example, I thought Deputy Labeys comment about the time it took him to get from St. Ouen to First Tower being exactly the same amount of time as it took him as First Tower to Town was completely the point.  It is the volume of traffic we have and it feels like it is getting worse.  It is an interesting - and I do not want to incur the wrath of certain individuals - but standing back there have been some improvements, believe it or not, in our traffic systems, as it were, over time.  So, although they are not all in the places that certain Members would like, you have got a cycle track that goes up St. Peters Valley to St. Mary.  You have got a cycle track around the airport, that now taps into Les Quennevais and La Corbière walk.  You have got the cycle track and the connections that take us around to Havre des Pas, so you can now cycle from Corbière, St. Mary, to Havre des Pas.  You have got an increase in the bus service of around 45 per cent ridership.  So, it is not a case of nothing has been happening; one of the big issues, as we know, is some of that has been offset by the increase in population.  So, let us be clear, this is not the panacea, this is not the be all and end all, this is not going to solve the congestion problems that we have.  It was, again, about sending a small, quick message to say: This might be a direction of travel.  The S.T.P. is coming to the Council of Ministers on, I think, Wednesday.  At that point, thereafter and once we have been through it, it will then start coming out to Members immediately, so I guess in January.  So, it will be coming down and we can always wait, we can always keep waiting and keep waiting and not do anything and that was the point, that was why we put the £5 million into the Climate Emergency Fund in the first place, because that gave the ability to do certain things straight away.  So, yes, this does conveniently raise revenue, no question, but it was also around sending a message saying: We, as car drivers [and I include myself in that definition] need to start receiving a message that, at some point, we need to change behaviour.  I will go back quite some time and where I used to work used to overlook the old Gas Place Car Park and there was a quite significant increase in rates and prior to that increase in rates, if you wanted to get into that car park, you had to be there by about 8.30 a.m., 8.45 a.m. in the morning, otherwise you would never get in.  When the rates went up the level they went up, probably for the next 3, 4 months, you could get in there pretty well any time of the day and certainly any time in the morning.  Some people said: Why did you not just put the rates up?  There are 2 arguments around that, one is we thought: well, if you do that, potentially you do hit shoppers as well as commuters.  That was part of the logic for putting it on to the hours as well.  I will just say, as well, within that argument, for consistency, for example the Waterfront car park is 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. it charges.  Arguably, depending on the time period for St. Helier residents ... and for Deputy Gardiners information - who is not here at the moment - the Minister, as I understand it, has no control over the St. Helier Residents Scheme.  It is purely and entirely in the hands of the Connétable and the Parish, so whatever the charging is, it is the Parish that controls it.  By the way, the default position there is that visitors to St. Helier, parking in those areas, get charged up to 10.00 p.m. and, obviously, residents are being charged outside 5.00 p.m. in the evening, presumably, because that is the whole point of the residents parking scheme, is it not?  So, we do not have free parking everywhere, all night.  The question then came down to, if you look at comparatives with other providers of parking on-Island, the public sector car parks are significantly below the rates that are charged on-Island elsewhere.  That is their take, but there comes a point, if we are that far out of kilter, should we be starting to adjust those rates and the hours that we charge?  Then it comes back to, well, if you are starting to try and target congestion and I will say pollution ... and that was the reason that I circulated the photographs that I have earlier.  That was as a result of an interview that was done around the increase in charges, live on Channel T.V. (television).  If one looks up, you will see, Members, if we start at that photograph, which is the top left-hand one on the sheet and then look at the background behind the presenter and you will see this cloud.  I genuinely do not know where it came from, I have to say, but all I can say is, on Channel, when she was presenting, this cloud of smoke appeared from immediately behind her, as she was talking about congestion and the climate emergency and the parking charges.  For me, irrespective of whether one approves of this, or not, that kind of proves the point.  The kind of yellow haze behind her in the photograph down bottom right is what St. Helier residents are breathing in at times.  We obviously have different parking rates, as I understand it and the Minister can no doubt talk more; there is the potential to do things on the app, there is the potential to do things through the automatic number plate recognition system and, obviously, for more eco-friendly cars.  That will all be covered, I believe, in the S.T.P. when it comes.  So this is about sending a very short message initially about a direction of travel.  The irony would be - on the day that we are hosting the Climate Summit up at the Howard Davis Farm - that we say: Actually, no, we are fine.  We are so wedded to our cars, we dare not touch parking.  Part of the issue around cars, as I have always said, from my perspective, it is not the ownership bit, it is the usage.  Part of that usage is fuel and it is also on the parking costs.  I also reiterate - and I think it was the Connétable of St. Helier, who talked about the swingeing increases in alcohol and other duties - I go back to the point, again, that all of those are offset in terms of the monetary value that we raise by the tax allowances that have gone up.  I think, to an extent, some people have focused on one side of the argument and they have not focused on the offsets that we put in place.  I think I have covered those points, I have talked about the readership, I have talked about the S.T.P., I have talked about the Waterfront.  I suppose the other thing - and they have been talked about, young people and all that and the climate emergency territory - as I said, this is not the panacea; this is not the only measure that will be coming through.  It was a first step; it was an indication.  It happens to raise some money.  From some of the comments that have come through, it almost sounds like some people are saying: You should never put parking charges up.  There has been an inconsistency across the Assembly.  Some people are implying how dare we tax people, who are in cars, in terms of the usage and other people have said it is not going far enough.  So, I think, for our purposes, it would be useful to have some clarity.  Are we saying as an Assembly, do not touch this ever?  Are we saying the S.T.P. is going to be published in January, we will make a decision there, so you can do it next year and, therefore, usually it is better to do stepped increases rather than sudden, depending what you want to achieve?  I think it would be useful for us to understand, because if we are serious about ... essentially from my perspective - and I do not know about the Ministers side - the original thing was to try and look at commuters and parking, then one is going to have to do something about parking in Town and about the disincentivisation of people coming into Town, and the thousands of cars that we all drive and most of us would be part of that problem.  So, usual thing, it is a hard decision we have to make.  I think Deputy Labey made some comment about people will be disincentivised from having a drink in town just after 5.00 p.m. and would go home first.  I would hope they would not be having a drink in town and then driving home.  But are people really going to change their behaviour for the marginal bits, if it is a 90 pence increase, for that one hour, I hasten to add.  Deputy Perchard made some comment about reducing matters by 50 per cent.  Yes, we have reduced the hours, we have dropped the 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m., but we have kept the 5.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m., arguably that is a 50 per cent reduction.  It obviously, in terms of that, has been compensated by the increase in parking charges.  I think it was Deputy Ward who was then saying it is not enough.  If I interpreted his comments correctly, he wanted to see parking charges going up so much more.  If that is the latter argument, then it is not about St. Helier residents.  Either you do not do it, full stop; or one turns around and says: What we are trying to do is we want to target commuters and that is really one of the first steps along the road that we were trying to start that discussion, to start those measures coming through.  If it is not enough, then let us know.  That will be one of the debates we are going to have for the S.T.P., but let us be under no illusions, we are going to have some really difficult discussions.  This is the start of those discussions around congestion and then, as we go further into the climate change side of things.  I think I may have said this previously; this is not something I have yet seen, in terms of obviously we are waiting for the report to come back on the climate emergency side of things, but in the U.K. they are talking about the limited life, I believe, of gas for the supply of cooking.  That is going to be a really hard discussion, if one thinks it through.  So, be under no illusion, Members, we have got some really difficult decisions ahead.  I make the point again, look at the photos.  That is not photoshopped, in any shape, or form, it is straight off the screen of the thing I recorded, when they were recording live.  Certainly, it is a visual demonstration of the issues we face, from car usage in St. Helier.  For me, that sums the whole issue up.  So, I think what the Minister has recommended, as a compromise, was supportable.  I will say other Members have said we should have just put the rates up, but we felt, potentially, the messaging there would be that we are targeting shoppers, as well as commuters and, yes, there could be some arguments around it.  I hope that answers some of the questions that Members have raised.  I think it is 12.45 p.m., so I shall stop shortly.  But if we reject this Amendment and then the Assembly goes on to accept Deputy Labeys Amendment, I think we need to understand the reasons for that position.  Is it we do not want parking charges to go up, or is it, it is not far enough?  I think we need to know that position, that would be very helpful, because in some shape, or form, obviously, this debate will come back to us if this does not go through today, that is fine. 

[12:45]

But we need to be clear and we need to be consistent and are our hearts in anything to do with reducing congestion and the climate change side.  This is not the panacea, no question.  It is a first, small step.  I ask Members to try and support the Amendment, if they can, but with a view that more will be coming back.

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Sir, before I propose the adjournment, I just wondered if there was anybody else to speak, or would Members like to see this Amendment off.  Well, not literally, but deal with it first. 

The Bailiff:

I have no Members at the moment currently indicating a desire to speak and so the next move, if that remained the position, would be to call ... however, Deputy Ash does want to speak on the Amendment.  Does anyone else?  Could they indicate?

 

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

The Bailiff:

The adjournment is proposed.  We stand adjourned until 2.15 p.m. 

[12:46]

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

[14:15]

 

The Bailiff:

Very well, we continue now with the debate on the Council of Ministers Amendment to Deputy Labeys Amendment.  Does any other Member wish to speak on that Amendment?

1.4.9Deputy L.B.E. Ash:

We have this sort of reticence, do we not, about taxing, or charging, motorists in any form, whatsoever.  It is almost like a holy grail.  We spoke about the Long-Term Care Fund being ringfenced and in Jersey, very often, we ring-fence the motorist and have done for quite a while really.  Until recently, we had no M.O.T. (Ministry of Transport).  We now do have an M.O.T., but if you have 4 wheels and a steering wheel, that is great, you are through.  It is not the sort of M.O.T. you would have in the U.K., that would cost people.  We have no car tax.  People say: The car tax went on the petrol.  Well, it did back in the days, when cars were doing 15 miles to the gallon, but now they do 50, 60 that car tax is greatly eroded and it is something we surely will have to look at bringing back, particularly with electric cars.  We will have to look at that coming back.  They have cheap parking, as we have discussed.  There are no speed cameras.  It is quite a mecca for the motorist.  Yet, when we look at what is said … and Deputy Morel said the other day, when we were discussing electric vehicles, he said it is not whether it is electric, or petrol, we have too many vehicles in Jersey.  It cannot really be disputed: 120,000 vehicles at the last count, which is more vehicles than people on a tiny Island.  It really needs to be addressed.  Deputy Ward quite correctly has said, on many occasions, that when you are dropping your children off outside a school, with all the car fumes and whatever and I think we are waiting - Deputy Ward might know more than I do - for an absolute assessment of the level of fumes outside schools, caused by the car.  So, when we are talking about this, it is not just whether it is a tax, if you like, on vehicles, or whether we have too many and we do.  Whether it deters people from driving, whether it will change behaviours is not always the point.  It is that if people are going to do this, if people are going to go against what we want them to do, then there is a charge to be paid.  We saw it with the alcohol, we were like: Oh, well, no, it is very bad for health and we have to pay loads for your health, so we charge them.  We are taxed on alcohol.  If it is all right for people drinking, why is it not all right for people who are driving.  Whether people want to call it a green tax, or a non-green tax, or whatever they want to call it, it is against what we have on the Island.  It is not a climate emergency caused by motoring, but motoring definitely contributes to that.  So, it is a measure - which we all voted for, with the climate emergency – it is a measure that begins to address that fact.  Now, the last bit, which I will come to is: is it an efficiency?  Well, I would say that what we have got here is not really much of an efficiency, at all.  It is a step towards one, but that is about all.  What I would ask people in the Assembly today to look at is if they owned that car park, or these car parks.  Let us take Sand Street, for example; would you run that car park as we run it as a Government.  Would you run it like that?  Of course you would not.  You would not just say: Well, if you park overnight you pay nothing but that is how we run it.  There are people who might run it ... from what we heard, this morning, there may well be people who run it in this Assembly where you would have totally free car parking, except for people with vehicles over £30,000, who would pay £20 an hour.  But, generally, you would not run the car park as we run it.  There are other areas of the car parking we need to look at.  Pier Road, for instance, which half the time is empty.  Why are we not offering people discounted season tickets to park out there, which would prevent what we see in the Sand Street Car Park, where people come in, they park for the day, but they drive around at 12 oclock, so they do not have to pay the full fee and they drive back in again.  That happens all the time, because I worked with people who do it.  Every time, 12 oclock, we would have a little exodus while they drove around, came back, parked and went out again.  So, we do not run them in an efficient way.  When you look - and I did have a look - at what was run in the City of London, which I agree we cannot totally compare it, but there is an N.C.P. (National Car Parks) car park at Blackfriars, now from 6 oclock in the morning until 7.00 at night they charge £3.50 per hour and Saturday 6.00 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.  All the other times, they charge £3.50 per visit as long, as you do not go across those times.  So it is charged all the time.  Now, I know that we cannot say, yes, what goes on in the City of London is right and obviously we would not ever in Jersey want to charge the same amounts that we charge in London [unless it comes to drinking, where we are quite happy to do so].  Generally, we would not want to be going beyond on a charge.  I am not looking at that; I am just looking at the way they run their car park, compared to the way we run ours.  They also have a season ticket.  A season ticket is £1,865 per quarter, but if you are a resident, it is £800.  Now, why do we not look at resident parking, where they can have a different season ticket price and people coming in and commuting paying a totally different price?  As I say, it is, when it comes down to it, an efficiency that the Government are looking to do.  Is this particular proposal an efficiency?  No, but it is heading towards being efficient.  But we are a long way from operating our car parks in an efficient manner.  If we do, by any definition of the word, it will be an efficiency.

1.4.10Deputy T. Pointon of St. John:

I am just listening to the Deputy standing here and I am thinking to myself: Here again, is one of those situations, in which Government are deciding to raise revenue and revenue alone.  The Deputy talks about utilising car parks rather more efficiently and I could not agree with him more.  The Deputy talks about looking at the way the people use their vehicles and I could not agree with him more.  What we need to have, before we can take any decision in relation to raising, or lowering, car park fees is a sustainable transport Plan.  We need to know where we are going with buses, with restrictions on entering the town, with use of particular car parks out on the periphery of Town, rather than in central Town.  We need to get that sustainable transport plan together.  When it is together, I will be happy to look at whatever raised charges are put to this Assembly, but not until then.

1.4.11Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

I am privileged to follow the last 2 speakers, because I think most of us will agree that the 2 emotive issues is the Sustainable Transport Policy, which is being done … sorry, 3.  The other one is getting less use of the car and there is obviously the emotive issue of climate change.  All we are trying to do here is to put a marker down, that we are going to have to bring these 2 together.  As we have all said in the Assembly this week, there is a need to show commitment to a total challenge of the climate emergency.  There is a big event going on in Spain, at this present time, where they are suggesting all sorts of things are happening much quicker than we had anticipated.  Members have also shown their support and I hope they will continue to do so in climate change and the way that Jersey reacts to dealing with that problem.  It is all about sending out a message and showing resolve.  I have been given some statistics about tackling the climate emergency, where the first initial thing is cutting carbon emissions.  Transport accounts for about a third of our carbon emissions.  We need to reduce the amount of polluting vehicles on the road and I think we all agree with it.  The cost of using a car, for commuting, is a key element in deciding whether an alternative mode of travel is more attractive.  Every working day, on average, there is around 10,000 vehicles that travel in and out of St. Helier, more than half of them … and this is the statistics again being given, some of them are only carrying one person, i.e. the driver.  There will have to be a change - whether it is in this Amendment, another Amendment, or via the Sustainable Transport Policy - that they are having on the environment.  We will have to do our bit and changing our travelling habits is a key part of dealing with this global issue.  Parking charges are part of changing those travelling habits, as the Deputy said just recently.  I am not saying that the proposed changes are anything other than a very small step.  Very soon, the Minister will be bringing, as I said, before the House, the Sustainable Transport Policy.  What is proposed today will complement the policy.  It is a step forward; it is a marker.  It is also a compromise, spreading the increase across commuter parking and what is perceived to be residential parking, they are both car owners, whatever way you look at it.  Both groups will have to change their habits, as an Island we will have to have a proper conversation about what we do to positively encourage people to understand the problem and contribute to the solution.  This increase supports both the Government Plan and is a small step towards the bigger target we have been set.  That is addressing the climate emergency.

1.4.12The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I would take this opportunity of referring Members to the P.A.C. (Public Accounts Committee) report on 19th November 2013.  Part of that was, I thought, a very comprehensive report, led by the then Deputy Vallois and I noted Senator Ferguson was on that, as well.  It requested the Minister to ensure that any above inflation increases on parking charges will be ring-fenced, to find improvements in the provision of alternatives to the motor car.  We have not seen that in this Amendment, per se.  I would really prefer to see this deferred until after, as others have said, the presentation of the Sustainable Transport Policy.  On the basis that the report also suggested that the position, in 2013, was difficult to assess, because neither the operation of the fund, nor its financial relationship with the broader Sustainable Transport Policy, was as transparent as they might be.  Given that, I would urge the Council of Ministers to withdraw this Amendment, focus on presenting the S.T.P. and bring forward any changes thereafter.  Members will be far better informed and in a far better position to justifiably vote, whichever way they choose, thereafter. 

1.4.13Deputy D. Johnson of St. Mary:

I think this discussion needs to be put into some context and I am very pleased to follow the contribution from the Deputy of St. John.  He is the Deputy of a rural Parish, like I am and we do have concerns as to what happens in St. Helier.  Not just the Town itself, but for its residents.  When I first became a Member of the Assembly, I was concerned as to whether there was a country versus town divide and I was delighted that one of the first Propositions to be made was the concentration of future development in St. Helier.  The country Parishes, I am sure, are conscious and appreciate the fact that building in St. Helier means that there is less building in their Parishes.  That is not a N.I.M.BY. (Not in my Backyard) comment, it is one which means that we are concerned and wish the residents of St. Helier to be able to come out to the Parishes when they want.  Also, shortly after I was elected, I was a member of the Environment Scrutiny Panel, at that time chaired by the Constable of St. Helier.  He made the point that the residents of St. Helier also needed their cars to be able to enjoy our Island.  The one concern I have here is that, by increasing the fee paying time, that they are being disadvantaged and that might increase pressure on the Parishes to provide more car parking space.  But simply morally, I think, the Parishes owe it to the residents of St. Helier to make life as easy for them as possible.  The other aspect is that no reference has yet been made to the Governments retail policy, or the Scrutiny Panels own report on that.  Among my various roles, I am privileged to be on the Economic Committee of the Anglo-Irish Parliamentary Assembly and, in that context, I went to the northeast of England about a year ago, to see how certain of their jurisdictions dealt with the decline in retail.  One such was Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who adopted the slogan: Live after 5.  I do question how appropriate such a slogan is to our St. Helier, if we are going to penalise people for parking beyond 5.00 p.m.  Therefore, in sympathy with, or not in sympathy with, the current Amendment

[14:30]

1.4.14The Deputy of St. Ouen:

It has been said that the proposal is not an efficiency within the dictionary definition of efficiency.  This is a revenue-raising measure, so it is.  But it does fall within the content of the efficiencies programme.  Government has always said that the efficiencies programme will include some revenue-raising measures, where necessary.  Because, purely the efficiencies we have always tried to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on services provided to the public, but at the same time that programme is needed to fund initiatives within the Government Plan.  Sometimes, it may be necessary, therefore, to bring forward some revenue-raising measures, to make sure that we can reach the funding that we need to provide those exciting new initiatives we do want to carry out as a Government, which I believe this Assembly also wants to see happen.  There was lots of discussion among Ministers, I have to say, as to whether we should put this forward, whether it should be amended, how it might be amended, but we have to come back to the issue of how else would we raise the funding required and I, personally, consider this a minor cost.  No one ever likes proposing increases in charges, but if we are serious about being carbon neutral by 2030, then, I think, we are going to see much more significant costs coming through.  Now, yes, I do take the point that we do not yet have that Sustainable Transport Policy, which we are looking forward to seeing soon - and this may seem premature, it is an accident of timing, perhaps - but it seems to me beyond doubt that we are going to have to be realistic about the cost of using a motor car in this Island.  This is a minor step.  This proposal is a minor step, towards achieving that realisation.  This proposal will help us secure the ambition of the Government Plan.  We need to raise income; we need to have the funding to produce the improvements, that we want to see, in delivering our public services.  I am thinking of all that we want to do in mental health, the preventative programmes, so that Islanders will look after themselves and understand how they can improve their health.  We want to be involved in far more health promotion initiatives, especially among schools.  We want to get our digital technology right, so that services can communicate with each other.  We want to improve our Childrens Services and look after the children, who we have neglected in so many respects in the past.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I raise a point of clarification on the Deputys speech?  Is he suggesting that the money from these parking charges will be ring-fenced for mental health, or any of these things?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

No, I am not.  This is part of the efficiencies programme, which is needed to fund the new initiatives that we have in our Government Plan.  That is simply how I see it.  If these parking proposals are not voted through, then we will have a hole in that budget, in that funding.  As I said, it is not an attractive proposal.  No one likes to increase charges and I agree it has not been part of a greater plan, but it does mean that it can be put forward as a minor step to achieve all that we do want to achieve, within the Government Plan.  Therefore, I think it is worthy of support, as I would urge Members to support the Amendment.

1.4.15Senator S.C. Ferguson:

This Amendment, plus the Amendment that is being amended, I am only going to speak once, so listen carefully, I will only say it once.  Sorry.  These Amendments are penalising those who live in Town, who are mainly lower income.  Quite wrong.  For pensioners, we have to have a proper transport policy.  It is getting better, but there are pensioners who like to come from St. Ouen to St. Aubin to church and I think they are probably … are they heathens in St. Ouen? I do not know.  Perhaps the Deputy will tell us.  But they like to come to the church in St. Aubin and during the winter they cannot make it, because there is no bus service.  You know, these are the sorts of things we should be attending to, before we start penalising people at the bottom end of the scale.  Both this and the original proposal, I think, impose charges on the lower end of the income scale and I shall be voting for Deputy Labeys Amendment and against this one.

1.4.16Deputy R. Labey:

I have voted with the Council of Ministers over the last 5 days more than some of its own Ministers have.  I do not think I can be accused of being populist.  Other than that, I am afraid I rather zoned out on Deputy Tadiers speech around the time I was on my ass on Green Street.  Deputy Ash has marched straight into the trap.  Greyfriars in the City of London is serviced …

Deputy L.B.E. Ash:

A point of clarification, it is Blackfriars.

Deputy R. Labey:

Blackfriars, even better, in the City of London is serviced by more trains, tubes, buses, bus lanes than probably anywhere else in the world.  You cannot make the comparison between Blackfriars and St. Helier, it does not work.  The Chief Minister wants to do something about static commuter traffic and he is absolutely right to do so, because that is the worst thing, the static traffic and if we want to put children first, static traffic affects children more because their noses and throats are closer to the exhaust pipes.  But he has it within his gift to make a reduction in commuter traffic, immediately.  He could tell all of the civil servants, who spend their life deskbound by a computer, not to come into work for one day a week.  That would make a 20 per cent reduction.  Because, what is the point of coming in to St. Helier to work on your computer, when you could be doing it at home?  There are all sorts of problems that will have to be worked out, but it is that sort of vision, imagination, that we want to see in the new Sustainable Transport Policy.  Look, none of us would claim to be traffic management experts in this Assembly, so we look to the Infrastructure Department to inform us and convince us.  The question before us today is whether we are convinced by the Infrastructure Departments Amendment to my Amendment or, indeed, the original Proposition in the Government Plan which sparked my Amendment.  Are we convinced that it is a green environmental initiative?  I do not think we are; I think they can do better.  Are we convinced that it is appropriate to pre-empt, by 4 weeks, the results of their own survey and public consultation into a Sustainable Transport Policy?  I do not think we are convinced by that.  I think Infrastructure can do better and should do better.  I think this is lazy and it is unimaginative.  It is a quick win to raise £700,000 without an impact assessment of the harm that it will do to some people.  This Assembly, in 2010, voted unanimously for the then Constable of St. Mary, Constable Gallichans Amendment to the Sustainable Transport Policy, saying no increases in the cost of motoring (including parking) until alternative methods of transport are available to all.  That was passed unanimously by, presumably, many of the Ministers that are supporting the Minister for Infrastructure today.  It still stands and I would say to Members: Hold the line on that, because unless we do that, we will not inspire Infrastructure to do better and come back with something better with their Sustainable Transport Policy.  Hold the line, throw out this Amendment and vote with my Amendment.

The Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on this Amendment?  I call on Deputy Lewis to respond.

1.4.17Deputy K.C. Lewis:

This is Council of Ministers and not Infrastructure but, obviously, as Minister for Infrastructure, I am presenting it.  We have an increase of bus ridership of 40 per cent in recent times, which I think covers the Constable of St. Marys Proposition of that time.  The money returned from the Car Park Trading Fund, beyond that required operationally and for asset replacement, is used to fund passes for persons with disability and sustainable transport projects.  That itself is £1.6 million.  G.H.E. (Growth, Housing and Environment) parking charges are, on average, in the order of 25 per cent cheaper than most commercial car parks, in many instances significantly so.  G.H.E. have in the order of 4,000 parking spaces.  It is estimated there are slightly more spaces in the private sector.  Free overnight parking.  Parking in St. Helier, out of chargeable hours, 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Friday to Saturday is free.  Lots of people commute, on their own, to Town.  The G.H.E. annual travel survey, based on roadside observations, on all main roads into St. Helier, show that 65 per cent of approximately 10,000 that travel into St. Helier daily, during peak traffic, are single occupancy vehicles.  The comparison of private and public transport.  It has long been recognised that the cost of differential between private and public transport journeys is not great enough to encourage modal shift; private motoring is very cheap.  The cost of parking is fundamental to the relative attractiveness of other choices.  Bus fares have to increase by inflation, to be able to maintain the service, in order to encourage more sustainable transport choices.  Parking charges, or other measures that impact upon the cost of motoring, have to increase above the rate of inflation.  The main impact of the proposed increases will be brought on commuters, who create the greatest amount of congestion.  Calculations from stated preference surveys - using the similar models as those used for modelling cessation of smoking - for the 2010 Sustainable Transport Policy, suggested the cost of parking would need to be increased by 65p, adjusted for inflation, to achieve a 15 per cent modal shift.  Achieving this would have provided traffic conditions similar to those experienced during the school holiday period.  However, the measures were blocked by an Amendment to the 2010 S.T.P.  Impacts on retail.  In terms of the impacts of a proposed increase in the retail price of parking from 85p to 90p an hour on the Town centre is expected to be minimal.  Historic G.H.E. shopper research showed that the duration of the typical shopper visit to the Town by car is up to 2 hours and the typical retail spend is £80.50, adjusted for inflation, from the survey dates.  In this context a 10p increase in parking charges per visit is not considered to be significant.  Interestingly, shoppers using buses tend to stay far longer and spend more, probably because the bus trip is planned, while the car trip may be more impromptu, window shopping.  This mirrors similar research undertaken in the U.K. looking at train and bus public transport.  I think several people have mentioned alternate transport.  We have looked at trains, trams and other forms of transport and all of this will be incorporated into the S.T.P.  Deputy Labey said that he had heard the measure was brought forward as a distraction.  I can assure Members this is not the case.  Yes, it has attracted a lot of attention, parking charging always does.  I am slightly bemused, as considerable amounts can be put on alcohol and spirits, but 5p on parking it is up with the pitchforks.  Unlike the Constable of St. Helier, I am looking forward to our Sustainable Transport Policy and I am looking forward to implementing it.  Last week, Deputy Tadier said we have to make brave decisions to demonstrate our commitment to the climate change emergency.

[14:45]

So far, this Assembly has shown a commitment and I hope it will continue to do so.  I make the Amendment and ask for the appel.

The Bailiff:

The appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 14

 

CONTRE: 29

 

ABSTAIN: 1

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

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)

 

 

 

1.5Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): second Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(2)) - resumption

The Bailiff: 

Very well.  We now return to Amendment 2.  Does anyone else wish to speak on the Amendment

1.5.1Senator L.J. Farnham:

This is an Amendment I have struggled with.  Sorry, I beg your pardon, the Proposition to increase parking charges is one I have struggled with for a number of reasons, not least with my job at Economic Development and the work we are doing now on R.P.I. (Retail Price Index) and trying to help the Town centre and other retailers and that sort of thing.  I agree with a number of speakers in the previous debate and I just would say that I supported the previous Amendment, because Members should be aware now that if they do not support Deputy Labeys Amendment, as I understand it, the States will approve what was listed in the original efficiencies document, which was the position before the C.O.M. (Council of Ministers) Amendment, which increases the hours from 7.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m.; I believe that is correct.  A number of Members have said we need to be more innovative around car parking and, of course, we are looking to the Sustainable Transport Policy to achieve this.  If we look at Sand Street Car Park and the new system introduced there recently, that is a good example of being innovative, because it has increased revenues from the car park and it has done that by looking at how it charges for certain hours, so it has worked in a way that has encouraged shoppers.  It is the longer you stay the more ... that after 3 hours the price rises, so people can go into Town and shop, not be rushed by the one hour, or 20-minute disc then, so it has worked.  That sort of innovation, in my opinion, needs to be rolled out, as soon as possible, in as many other car parks and on-street situations as we possibly can.  One day soon, we have to bite the bullet and abolish the pay card, the static pay card system and embrace the technology on this, to take advantage of all the innovation we can, because if we do it properly, we will be able to help the Town centre, help the retailers, we will be able to make sure we are fair on the residents, who this might impact upon, we will make sure we can be innovative to price, to discourage commuters and look for commuters to find other ways of transport.  If we just wait a little bit and we do this properly, we can tick all of the boxes, we can raise more money.  I know this could leave a hole in the budget, but if we come back to the Sustainable Transport Policy and we are smart, we can ... I would like to see parking charges increase, to discourage people from using the car, not just a bit of tokenism to raise revenue, to discourage people from using the car.  If we work together and do it properly, I think we can tick all of those boxes.  This does hit some of the wrong people, at very short notice and, of course, I think the timing is not great.  I am sorry, this is the first and only time I intend to break ranks with the C.O.M. in this whole debate and I hope my colleagues will forgive me, but I think let us just wait, let us get the Plan right and let us come back with something that works, that discourages people from using the car, is fair on shoppers, is fair on the people, the residents of St. Helier and will raise more money.

1.5.2Deputy M. Tadier:

I am happy to stand and support my Minister on this one.  I think that it is only right as an Assistant Minister.  [Laughter]  There is a first time for everything.  It is lucky he made that speech.  Where do we start?  I think a lot of things have been said already, so I think the message that needs to go out from this Assembly loud and clear is that, yes, we do take not just climate change seriously, but the commitment that we all want to make to reduce commuter traffic and to reduce pollution in the Island.  I think those are all things we can sign up to.  What we can say to the Minister is that the way he is trying to ostensibly do it, with this Amendment, is not the way to do it, for reasons we have partially outlined already.  It is that it does not target those necessarily who pollute the most, or it does not differentiate between residential, for example and commuters.  Until we can find a way to resolve that, I think the Minister needs to go away and I think, if he comes back with an even bolder Plan ... and it is quite strange that the reason this might not succeed is because it is not bold enough and, similarly, we have not done enough of the carrot work.  I would like to see the Minister come back, working hand in glove with the Minister for the Environment, to say: Look, we recognise what Deputy Labey said in his opening speech.  We do not have a system of trams, or underground, or monorails that exist in Jersey.  I do not think we ever will have.  I think you need a much larger population, about 250,000 I was told by the Minister, to make it viable, for example, a tramway.  Maybe we will get there, with the population policy.  Maybe we should have a target for 250,000, so we can make a tram, or a monorail, achievable and viable, but until that point ... I mean, that would be a good reason, would it not?  Then we could have lots of high rise, that ships people from St. Aubin to Town, because maybe that is the 2 areas where most of the population live and then on to St. Clement.  That would deal with the vast majority of the Islands population, but we do not have that yet.  I would like to see some of the carrots being put in place now, as well as a good warning period being given to the public, saying that in one year, in 2 years, you can expect to see parking at £1 an hour; you can expect, if Deputy Ash has his way, to pay for parking 24/7.  But we also need to deal with geographical iniquity in our Island.  I know, as somebody who currently lives in the east, in Grouville, that you can pretty much park where you like.  You can park on bends, you can park on yellow lines, you can park on the Inner Road, in really dangerous positions and no one is going to do anything about it.  You can leave your car there and it is free, so, if you are in Town and you are going away for a week, just come and park your car in Grouville.  No one is going to charge you for it and that is on the main roads, the States roads, which we are all paying for as taxpayers.  So, if you are a St. Helier taxpayer, you might not have your own parking and, if you do, you probably get charged lots.  If you do not have your own parking in St. Helier, you probably pay 4 or 5 fines a year, which would be sufficient to pay for maybe residents parking, if you could get residents parking and there was not a very long waiting list, so there is geographical iniquity when it comes to this issue.  That also needs to be looked at.  Do we want to move to an Island, where everything is charged for, where you pay 24/7, where there are no more free periods?  That is questionable, but I think this is not the way to do it, but when the Minister does come back with a radical plan, but, similarly, with the incentives as well as the disincentives, then I think we should all be ready to make those tough decisions.  It is not today.

1.5.3Connétable J.E. Le Maistre of Grouville:

I would just like to ask Islanders not to take up Deputy Tadiers offer.  Strangely enough, we are about to appoint a traffic warden, so we are about to get extremely tough.

1.5.4Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Of course, I cannot tell how this vote will go, but possibly, reading the Assembly, I would pose a question for Members.  We know, in the previous term, that what was then Infrastructure and T.T.S. (Transport and Technical Services) was decimated by various cuts in efficiency plans that that Department had to make.  We know in this Assembly, to stand up for Infrastructure is not as easy as obviously Education, or Health, or other departments.  Of course, if the Assembly decides to support Deputy Labey today, of course that then goes back on the Minister to have to find the shortfall somewhere.  I wonder, going forward, in what is already a particularly cash-strapped Department as it is, where we have got many other programmes that need to go forward, how is this Assembly going to help the Minister fund what needs to go into his Department?  Because whether you want an improved bus service, or more crossings, or whatever, if Members are baulking at a rather small increase in parking fare, how exactly are they going to come up with the money for these significant improvements we need in a Department that has already been ravaged and is not one which you can grandstand on particularly easily?  I will listen to the rest of the debate, but I just want to put that in front of Members eyes, because it is not easy to stand up and try and get more money for the Department, which is one of those that really gets battered every time there is a round of cost savings and it is not a glamorous one for Members to stand up and support, so I just put that on the record. 

The Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on this Amendment?  I call on Deputy Labey to respond.

1.5.5Deputy R. Labey:

I am very grateful to Members for the way in which they have just voted.  I think the best way I can repay that gratitude is by maintaining the Proposition and asking for the appel

The Bailiff:

The appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats.

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I just did have a question, to be absolutely sure, though I did state in my speech that if this Amendment is rejected, then the original Proposition tabled by C.O.M. would apply.

The Bailiff:

There is no Amendment to the Government Plan in that respect then ...

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Understood.  Yes, thank you.

The Bailiff:

... if it is rejected.  The vote is on Deputy Labeys Amendment to the Government Plan and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 30

 

CONTRE: 12

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

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)

 

 

 

 

 

1.6Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019) - as amended

The Bailiff:

Very well.  That is the last debate on various Amendments and we now return to the debate on the Government Plan as amended.  Does any Member wish to speak on the Government Plan

1.6.1Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

Right at the outset, can I say that when it comes to the appel, I will be pushing the contre button?  Now that I have Members attention, I will say a little bit more about the 3 reasons for doing that.  Emphasis, efficiencies, expectations and I will speak briefly about those 3.  Let us talk about emphasis and priorities.  I will not be pushing the contre button, because I do not support the principles of what is in this Plan.  I will be pushing the contre button, because I do support other principles and priorities that are not in this Plan.  I have said it before and I will say it again: without a vibrant economy, this Island will simply fall over.

[15:00]

Without jobs for people to do and subsequent wages to earn, there will be little G.S.T. income, no income tax, no revenue to pay for those services that we have to provide for our Islanders.  We all know the saying that goes: Do not bite the hand that feeds you.  It is my opinion that this Government are not biting the hand that feeds them, they have got their teeth around the elbow and they have started chewing.  Little by little, we are chewing away at the economy, small businesses, self-employed and, ultimately, jobs and wages.  If we do not start to help, rather than keep nibbling away at the economy, we are in big trouble.  Where is our population policy?  Where is our retail strategy?  Where is the assistance for productivity?  Where is the key worker accommodation that is vital to house our nurses and health workers?  Where is the help to find workers for the service industries?  Where is the help for hospitality and agriculture to cope with the increases in the minimum wage?  Yes, it is absolutely right to raise the minimum wage and to aim for a living wage, but not without finding a way to help those businessmen, who will be out of business, because their expenses will go up when their income is absolutely fixed, or when they just basically cannot find staff, regardless of what they are prepared to pay them.  Here is an example of biting the hand that feeds you.  It is quite an extreme one.  People might be surprised I am making this speech.  Let us see how we get on.  Let us consider Overseas Aid, a budget that is proposed to increase by millions, by 10 per cent, 20 per cent immediately and more to follow.  We all know the saying: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Give him a fishing rod and he will eat for years.  The initiative that is being rolled out in Rwanda is a wonderful scheme, allowing Jersey bull semen to be used to increase the number of cattle in that country but, more importantly, allowing families to have a single cow that provides milk and progeny, the first calf going to another family and subsequent calves being kept.  I cannot tell Members how enthusiastic I am about this work.  I have even volunteered myself to go out there and use what small experience I have to help with the scheme and other agricultural ideas.  But my worry is that while we are using the Jersey agricultural industry as a basis to help others overseas - and it is absolutely right that we do that - we are not keeping a close enough eye on that same industry here on the Island.  There is not enough help here for fishing and farming and we ignore our core and historic industries at our peril.  We must not take our eye off the ball.  Yes, spend more money, but do not ignore the source of that money, the source of that knowledge, do not just keep taking and taking.  In the original bids for this Plan, there were funds proposed for agriculture, for retail, business help, jobs, productivity.  Many of those original bids were pulled by someone and despite what I am fully expecting to be told quite directly by Ministers when I have finished this speech, they do not now appear in this Plan.  So, I support the principles of this Plan, but I am not satisfied with the emphasis.  There is not enough for local industry, jobs and commerce.  Neither am I happy about efficiencies.  The proposal is to have £100 million in this Plan.  Really?  There are lots and lots of words, but despite appearances, there is very little in the way of numbers, certainly a lot less numbers than we have had in previous M.T.F.P.s (Medium Term Financial Plans) and even less in the way of detail.  Making a warm, cuddly and comfortable statement about a nice round large number is so easy; efficiencies of £100 million.  My notes on the Plan, under the heading of efficiencies are not numerous.  Page 110, no new taxes, no details, 5 pages of waffle.  When I was a Minister, in the last Government, we saved more than 30 per cent out of the budget in my then Environment Department.  It certainly was not easy.  We had to do more with less to reprioritise and I can tell Members there is not any more to take, unless you want to cut services and we are told that is not going to happen.  For an example, I would cite medicines.  We are told that, by avoiding brandname medicine, we can save many millions.  I do not disagree that we might find some savings here, but those experts I have spoken to across Health about this all say that we already purchase very many non-trademarked products.  We also do not have the option, other than to take what is on offer.  One G.P. told me that before he writes prescriptions for certain drugs, he has to call pharmacies to see what is in stock and it is not a question of avoiding trademarks, it is a case of prescribing what the pharmacy has to deal with that illness.  To use another cliché: You can take a horse to water, but you cannot always make it drink.  We are told that the proposed £100 million will be found.  We do not really have the detail, but you can only take the money from where the money is.  We all know that the big money is not in Environment, it is not in Housing, it is not even in Home Affairs, or Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, for that matter.  If you want to make savings of £100 million, then you have to look at places where there is that level of expenditure, Health and Education.  Is that what is really being proposed here?  I hope not.  I could go on, but I just fundamentally do not believe these efficiencies are there.  £100 million is, to my mind, a convenient round number that helps to balance the proposed books and get this Plan over the line, which brings me to my third reason for pushing the contre button and that is expectations.  I am a simple farmer, not blessed with degrees in accountancy, taxation, or detailed financial management.  I look at things simply and I always ask this question: Is my expenditure greater than my income?  Simple basic economics that have served me well over my business career.  When I looked for the simple basic proposals for spending in this Plan, I was pretty impressed.  It is wonderful and popular to propose extra spending for all sorts of good causes and I have mentioned some and there are plenty of others.  They are good causes, but there was always going to be a but and the but is, before you spend the money, you need to either have received it, or be sure of receiving it.  This Plan is proposing to increase spending from £704 million in 2017, to over £1 billion in 2023.  To save Members reaching for their calculators, that is an increase of 42 per cent over 6 years.  Just stop and think about that for a moment and then think about where all that increased expenditure is coming from.  This Plan also shows net revenue income going from £767 million in 2017 to £1,011 million - over £1 billion - in 2023.  Between last year and next year, it shows an increase of income of 11.6 per cent with more than 4 per cent in every subsequent year from then out to 2023.  Net revenue income is made up of many things, dividends from entities like Andium, rates income, stamp duty, Impôts, but the very large majority, the lions share is income that comes from just 2 sources: G.S.T. and income tax.  This Government have been in office for over 18 months.  In that time, they have not delivered anything new on housing, or key worker accommodation; they have not delivered anything new on population policy; they have not delivered on the hospital.  In fact, it has taken us backwards, in my view and they certainly have not delivered the message to the taxpayers of this Island that they are planning to take in an additional 26.5 per cent in taxes from G.S.T. and income tax between last year, when they were elected and the end of this Governments proposals.  This Plan expects to take income from business, middle Jersey, that part of the Island that provides the bulk of our income, jobs, taxpayers and it expects, at the same time, that our economy will continue to work so well that it will provide tax income of well over 4 per cent a year until the end of this Plan.  Fundamentally, I do not think that is an achievable target.  I am an optimist, but I am also a realist and I do not think this Plan is realistic.  Then I come to my last comment under expectations and that is the B word, Brexit.  I am not going to labour the point, but it is my view, regardless of how good the outcome might be - and there are many and various options yet to be decided - it is my view that this Island will not be the same place after the Brexit dust has settled.  It is my view that things will be more difficult, more uncertain and more challenging.  As we decide where we want to place ourselves, in the brave new world as we negotiate with the U.K., the E.U. (European Union) and the rest of the globe, we will have to accept that Protocol 3 was a master stroke that served us so well for many years and we will have to understand that we are not in that place any more.  Consequently, our income from income tax and G.S.T., from Impôts, from stamp duty will be more uncertain, more unclear, but here is a Plan that, to my mind, does not do enough to help in those uncertain times those that pay those various taxes.  There is not enough to help business, not enough to help the economy.  It is my view that income and expenditure are not balanced and that this Plan is flawed.  It is easy to persuade people, Members and Ministers, that any Plan is worth supporting, when there is more money for those same people to spend.  My problem is that this Plan promises the spending, without delivering the cash.  My third cliché would be this: The cheque is in the post.  We know what that means and remember, if the money does not come in, then it is not there to spend.  I do not like pushing the contre button and I do not do it easily, or lightly, but I cannot support something that I feel is basically flawed in expectations on the income for the planned expenditure.  I do not think this Plan is realistic about efficiencies and I do not think it gives enough support to commerce in these uncertain times.  I will be, very unfortunately, voting against.

1.6.2Senator L.J. Farnham:

It has been a long 5 days.  I will try not to make it seem longer.  I would thank all Members for contributing to what, I think, has been a robust debate about some very important matters.  I know we are all intent on making Jersey an even better place to live.  Even if we sometimes disagree, we all have, I think, the same goal and that is to improve the lives of Islanders.  Let me assure all Members that the C.O.M. considered every Amendment very carefully and I want to thank the Chief Minister and my colleagues for allowing a democratic process on the C.O.M.  We no longer have collective responsibility and I think it has made for a better debate and I hope will have improved the final Government Plan, when we get there later today.  I would like to remind Members, briefly, about the ambition of this Plan.  The Plan combines a 4-year package of spending, investment, efficiencies, or I prefer to call it a reprioritisation of spending and modernisation proposals.  It will deliver the priorities that the Assembly agreed in 2018.  It invests for the long term and has the sustainable well-being of future generations firmly at its heart.  It is a prudent, comprehensive and costed Plan, which increases funding where it is needed and in a way that is affordable each year.  It sets out 89 separate initiatives to deliver our 5 strategic priorities and the necessary modernisation that will make their delivery possible.  We are putting money into services that really do matter for Islanders.  We are modernising how services are delivered.  We have launched the Jersey Care model to move more health services into our communities and that work will shape the new hospital.  I say to Members that the Political Oversight Group, that is overseeing the process, is making good press ... good progress.  Maybe not good press, but good progress.  We are working closely with Scrutiny.  I am determined, as are my colleagues on that Board, to work more closely with Scrutiny on this project than perhaps we have ever worked before.  I am looking forward to meeting the Chairman of the Scrutiny Panel at the end of this week, with our officers, to discuss and ensure that the flow of information is as we both expect it to be.

[15:15]

With the new oversight group, although we have not made a lot of noise in the press, we are working comprehensively and carefully to stick to the timetable.  That timetable we are aiming to deliver will be in line with the original timetable, despite the years wait.  If Senator Gorst is shaking his head, he is absolutely wrong not to be as hopeful as he should be, as we are making progress and we will deliver the new hospital for Islanders, providing we do not treat it as a political football, providing we, in this Assembly, work together, we put aside our political differences to deliver the project and the care model.  We have opened a Listening Lounge for people facing mental health problems.  We are creating more support to help people stay well, not just treat them when they are ill.  We are continuing to turn around our Childrens Services, so that our most vulnerable children receive the care they deserve.  We are investing £15 million in protecting and valuing the environment, by establishing the Climate Emergency Fund and we are increasing protection for our environment and natural habitat.  At the same time, we are investing in our economy, by maintaining our focus on Brexit by the excellent work of Senator Gorst and his team, by raising Jerseys international profile and by increasing trade opportunities for Jersey businesses.  We are developing our important traditional industries by increasing funding to tourism and agriculture and, in fact, to almost all sectors of commerce.  I would remind Members that, in 2014, when we look at the M.T.F.P., the original proposal in that Plan was to decimate funding to those industries because, at the time perhaps, economic advisers did not think they were doing enough to improve the productivity of our overall economy.  Since then, we have halted that decline in funding, we have maintained it through the last Government and this Plan puts significant funding back into those vital industries.  In terms of staff ... and I accept my good friend, the Deputy of St. Martins, comments and I accept them.  Although they are critical, I accept them on the grounds of his own dedication and passion to supporting these industries.  I undertake to work closely with them.  The Deputy is - and I hope he is still going to continue - working on the economic framework, a holistic plan, to ensure that our future economy is targeted and we know where we are going with it.  In terms of the immediate issues that are facing us in tourism, agriculture and other sectors of commerce, it is staffing and trying to balance that with the population challenges.  We have worked closely with the industries and the Minister for Home Affairs and the Home Affairs Department and we are trialling a work permit scheme.  Now, that permit scheme is not perfect, it needs improving, but we are getting there.  I feel confident that if the industries embrace that permit scheme, we will be able to resolve the large part of the problem of staffing for those sectors.  I just wanted to say that once this Plan has been, hopefully, approved by the Assembly today, we can start to focus on the next 4 years.  As good a plan as this is, we all agree it is not a perfect plan, but the good thing about this process is we can revisit it and we can flex it and we can improve it year on year.  I hope we have all learnt from the debate and the lessons and perhaps some things we might not have got right, but we can come back to it next year and I look forward to that process next year, perhaps not a 5-day debate, but I hope we are in a good position to take advantage of this very strong foundation. 

1.6.3Senator K.L. Moore:

I would like to start by thanking the Scrutiny officers, who have worked incredibly hard over the period of this Government Plan[Approbation]  They produced, as Members will be more than aware, over 500 pages of report on the Government Plan, which is extensive, exhaustive and shows the diligent way with which they have approached the Scrutiny work and supported Scrutiny members throughout this rather lengthy process.  I think we have seen in the level of debate here this week, as well - maybe last week - how the debate has, in the main, been focused, knowledgeable and also evidence-based.  I think that that is largely due to the hard work of the Scrutiny officers and the way in which they have presented the information that has been accessible for Members and helped to focus the debate on the really important matters at stake.  I will not be supporting this Government Plan, either.  Some may say that is quite typical of me, in my current guise, but it is not at all.  I do not see Scrutiny as being negative for negativitys sake.  I simply - and much as the Deputy of St. Martin has very eloquently explained - do not feel that this is taking Jersey in the correct direction.  It has been marvellous that Members have supported some of the Amendments brought to the Assembly this week.  I think that helps to keep the Government Plan on track, but I was most disappointed that we failed to get the support of the Assembly in delaying the efficiencies and allowing the Assembly to have proper scrutiny of the efficiencies, because, as C.I.P.F.A. (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) stated in their report, the delivery of those efficiencies is one of the biggest risks that this Government faces.  This £100 million figure is a figure that was set out of necessity, or design.  It was not set through achievability and that is a great risk.  We still do not have clarity on what and how those efficiencies are going to be raised, particularly after Deputy Labeys successful Amendment today.  But he was absolutely right, because why are we all here?  We are here to ensure that we do make the lives of Islanders better.  We are here to ensure that we do try to recognise the issues of the day and assist those members of the public, yet, just last week, as we were sitting here debating the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey that was published, which reminded us what largely we already know, that many Islanders still struggle with the cost of living - 30 per cent of adults found it difficult to cope financially; 34 per cent reported a worsened financial situation than the previous year - yet this Assembly has sought to increase the amount of money that is being taken out of those peoples pockets.  It was so obvious to those members of the public, who kindly gave us their time and joined some focus groups that Scrutiny ran over the period of our investigations.  They looked at the overview figures and they could all see what was happening and they all questioned why, when on one hand the Government are saying: Well, we are going to save £100 million, on the next hand they are saying: But spending is going up 12 per cent year on year and then, finally, they looked at the pie charts that were before them and said: But when that new investment is being made, more money is being spent on running Government and computers than is being spent on the core services that make a difference to peoples lives.  That caused a great deal of concern to those people who were in the focus groups and it causes me a great concern too, particularly when we also know that the Income Forecasting Group has downgraded revenue forecasts, not once, but twice, since the Government Plan was produced.  Yes, the Government have responded in a small way to that, but that, surely, sends alarm bells about where we are heading in the next 4 years and that should be telling Government that they need to think in a different way, to take a new direction, to rein in their spending ideals and definitely not to carry on with what is clearly the intention, to borrow significantly, which is a matter of great concern.  Confidence is key.  We have talked about that earlier in the week, or earlier in the debate.  I have noted the increase in spending that is predicted on the modernising government piece.  We have to put that in the context of whether we have the confidence in the delivery of that.  The way I see it and if I can just illustrate this to Members: the Office of the Chief Operating Officer is, as far as we have seen in the latest count, about £3 million over budget this year; yet this same office is in charge of the I.T. (information technology) strategy and delivering that.  The Government are proposing to spend over £100 million on I.T.  Yes, I agree that we do need to do something to improve I.T. and we, of course, need to maintain cybersecurity for the Island, it is absolutely important, but this is the Department that produced 7 words on their business case to describe how they intended to spend £20 million over a 4-year period.  They are already over budget.  It is a risk for the Island that they will, or will not, be able to deliver this saving, or spending and they will not be able to deliver it properly.  We have, in the past, seen how now Senator Vallois, then Deputy Vallois, scrutinised the spending of £12 million on public records and a computer project that went horribly wrong.  I simply am very concerned that we may be seeing a similar case in the future.  Scrutiny have asked the Government to slow down this spending, so that they can ensure that they are delivering what they say they are going to, before continuing with the spending programmes and they have refused.  That really is my key concern.  Then there, of course, goes with it the process of government and that oversight that Ministers are supposed to give.  I have to say that that causes concern for me and also, if I may, for other Scrutiny members.  We often hear reports of the horror with which members of Scrutiny see Ministers before them, who are unable to answer the questions properly, who do not know their brief adequately and do not appear to be challenging their officials properly.  That is why we have a process of government and scrutiny, so that we can ensure that we have confidence in the process, that good governance is undertaken, particularly when major decisions and major spending is being undertaken.  Very sadly, I am not convinced that that is being properly conducted at this moment in time.  It is, therefore, that I will be voting against this.  I think it is a very sad day, or week, where we see hundreds of millions of pounds being spent, yet we cannot find a way of helping people, who cannot go to see a G.P. without worrying about the cost of it.  We need to look ourselves in the eye and think about the direction we take in the Island.  I hope that Members will consider that very carefully when they vote today.

1.6.4The Connétable of St. John:

Four years ago I stood before this Assembly and I made a speech about a big breakfast and, in that speech, I informed Members that I had gone somewhere for a big breakfast, which the States of Jersey café had taken over and instead of 3 rashers of bacon, 2 sausages, 2 eggs, baked beans and a tomato, they said: We have made efficiencies and I received 3 pieces of bacon, one sausage and 2 eggs, some beans and no tomato.  The next day, I went and they gave me a big breakfast that had one rasher of bacon, one sausage, one egg, a few baked beans and no tomato and they said: We have made savings to which my response was: Yes, you may have made savings, but it still cost me £8.95 and it was not such a good deal to me.  Today, I am pleased to be saying that we are reversing that trend.  We now have a healthcare model which is out to consultation that will develop and lead on to the new hospital.

[15:30]

I do not think I need to remind Members that a hospital is not just a building and that is where the concentration was in the past.  We are now looking at the healthcare model and so, instead of one piece of bacon, we are putting back 3 outdoor-reared rashers of bacon.  The last M.T.F.P. was scheduled to make £145 million in savings and I think many Members here do not remember that.  That is why we are only looking to make £100 million of efficiencies, because those efficiencies are there to be made.  We are making those efficiencies, in order to make investments in the directions in order to make those savings.  We heard from the previous speaker £100 million on I.T.  It is because that has been neglected for so long and it is vital that this investment takes place now, not in a few years time, so that those savings can be made as soon as possible; so we are putting 2 large Cumberland sausages back on that plate.  We heard, earlier during the debate over car parking charges, how many of the cuts were made in what was then the Department of Infrastructure; it is now G.H.E.  We are, hopefully, putting back some money, not as much as perhaps we should.  We are regularly criticised about: Look at the States buildings.  Yes, they are in a poor state of repair.  They have been neglected, not for 20 or 30 years, but in some cases even longer.  We have got to make those investments.  It is not included in this Plan, but that is going to be tackled and it has to be tackled, so we put back not just one egg, but 2 free-range eggs.  This is a Government Plan that has been carefully thought out and, when I looked 4 years ago at the 4 per cent per annum increment in income tax and G.S.T., I can remember saying that that simply was not achievable, but it has turned out not only to have been achievable, but surpassed.  It is prudent to put it as a 4 per cent increment over the next 4 years into the Government Plan, because that is the trend that has been happening and it is, therefore, prudent to continue that straight-line trend.  I would urge Members to support this Government Plan.  We have debated it now, I think, longer than any budget or, as it was in the past, M.T.F.P. and so everyone has had an input at some stage.  I would like finally to thank not just the Members of this Assembly, but all the officers, Scrutiny and everyone who has been over this Plan.  It has stood up to those tests and I would urge Members to support it.

1.6.5Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:

The Government Plan, although far from perfect, does represent, at least, some progress in a number of areas that have been severely undervalued in budgets and plans past.  However, if there is one thing that this past week has shown me, it is that there are considerable improvements that need to be made, before the next Government Plan is brought to us.  The C.O.M. have repeatedly gone on record to state that they agreed with the policy ideas and views expressed in many Amendments, in principle, but refused to support their implementation.  We have had some fantastic ideas presented by Members, such as Deputy Doublet and Deputy Gardiner, that focus in on some of the key challenges facing Jersey today, suggesting ways that we can substantially improve Islanders lives, and yet they are condemned to fall by the wayside, in part because of the present relationship between Government and backbenchers.  It is clear to me that we need a new structure for allowing backbenchers to properly present their ideas and make improvements to the Government Plan, while it is still being drafted, otherwise we risk an overtly binary structure, where fresh ideas and new ways of thinking are absconded in favour of cosiness and no risk and where critical decisions are taken behind closed doors, without our input and passed not by the strength of argument, or rationale, but by parliamentary whips.  A closer relationship, a new structure, will not just save time on the Assembly floor, but would lead to a happier, more energised and more open Government and maximise our effectiveness, before our terms end, in just over 2 years time.  The 2021 Government Plan needs a 360-degree view of the Assembly and while I accept the Chief Ministers comments that there has been greater transparency than in the past, it does not mean that there is still some way to go.  I truly believe that this Assembly carries with it a willingness to accept change, to accept challenges and to respond with fresh new ideas, in a way that our politics have either lacked, or ignored, for so long.  There is an exciting level of talent and creativity in this room and we need to harness every last ounce of it, allow all Members to speak their minds and not risk sacrificing their personal views.  Indeed, arguably, the key policy that we, as an Assembly, have adopted this year has come from a backbencher.  The declaration of a climate emergency has had a dramatic impact and highlights just how important backbenchers can be to this Assembly and how critical they can be in defining the work of Ministers.  We need to encourage this willingness to stand up and steer policy and to do this we need new structures of co-operation.  I urge the Chief Minister and the C.O.M. to reflect on how they have dealt with this years Government Plan and ensure that we, as backbenchers, are given the mechanisms to bring our ideas and our experiences to the next throughout its drafting process.  Finally, I urge the C.O.M. to remember that this is not just their Government Plan, but ours, as well.  If we want to get it right, we must make it right and we can only make it right if we work as one.

1.6.6The Connétable of St. Helier:

I am pleased to follow that excellent speech from the Constable of St. Martin.  This Government Plan was much hyped.  We even had a statement, last week, before the Plan even got underway.  I think some of that hype was probably unjustified.  What we have seen, certainly in terms of the effect of this Government Plan on tourism, for example, is some real concern being expressed, certainly to me, by tourism firms that really fear for the future of their industry when the States can add these inflation busting, cost of living busting, increases to the cost of alcohol, for example, using the health argument - as they do every year - but we all know that that is only half the picture.  I remain unconvinced that it justifies these increases, because they are just going to make it more and more difficult for our tourism offer to succeed.  There has also, of course, been an effect on the new businesses locally, that are brewing.  Anything which is considered high strength by this Assembly is receiving extremely high tariffs and there are very good arguments why that is wrong.  On the other side, of course, putting up the cost of Impôts has not just affected tourism, it has affected local people and the working persons pint, or the working persons tot, is simply becoming more expensive every year and I think a lot of our constituents must wonder why more of us do not protest about that.  Other disappointments, of course, the fact that Deputy Southerns Proposition to make going to the G.P. more affordable, that did not get through.  We have been promised radical changes and a review.  Lots of reviews have been promised in the course of this Plan.  A lot of the backbenchers and Scrutiny Panels suggestions were considered premature, because just around the corner there are, apparently, reviews and a fresh approach.  It really does remain to be seen whether these all materialise.  The Government Plan was also hyped, because it was said to be the first time we had ever put the Budget with the Strategic Plan, the first time we had a 4-year Plan and yet I suppose I am encouraged by the fact that we are coming back again in a years time, to do this all again.  I think it is just as well we are, because several promises have been made, in the course of this debate, by the C.O.M. which I know that Scrutiny will be watching very carefully and will be coming back again, in a years time to tackle.  Members may have been relieved that I withdrew Amendment 15 and I know I, therefore, cannot speak about it.  However, I would just like to allude to the fact that the Parish of St. Heliers earnest wish to enhance the Parish structure and to give local government more say in how Parishes are run, while the Amendment to have it included in the Government Plan was withdrawn, the process continues and we will be seeking to elect members of our shadow Conseil Municipal on 18th December.  That process will continue and I have had reassurance from the Chief Minister that a dialogue will happen.  We have probably not got any further than that, but there will be a dialogue between the C.O.M. and the Parish of St. Helier as we develop our plans in the coming year for a shadow Municipal Conseil.  Now, the Minister for Treasury and Resources may be interested to know that when I presented that Amendment, that I subsequently withdrew, it was originally going to have a second part.  That second part was going back to the Common Strategic Plan, which we have all signed up to, which is now 2 years old.  In that C.S.P., there is an undertaking by this Government to address the unfairness that exists between ratepayers of the other Parishes and ratepayers of St. Helier, particularly in terms of paying for the cost of running the capital.  Notwithstanding the various comments that were made by my colleagues on the Constables benches, about St. Heliers ability to pay for things, the fact remains that it is unfair that St. Helier ratepayers pay costs, for example, the cost of public parks, public toilets, cleansing and so on, which everywhere in the Island are met out of taxation.  That is a matter which cannot be let rest, because it is simply unfair.  It is in the C.S.P. and I look forward to hearing how, even though it is not in the Government Plan, how the C.O.M. intends to address it, because I can assure them that I will be back, asking for that to be sorted out.  I suppose one could argue also that, again, it is not in the Plan - and I am probably testing the Chairs patience - but the issue of electoral reform clearly needs to be sorted out, because while we are voting on matters in this Assembly, we are voting on matters in this Assembly which affect all Parishes, but clearly some Parish representatives have more power than others.  How can it be right if the vote, for example, on putting up parking charges in St. Helier had gone to one vote and the Constable of St. Mary had exercised his right to vote and I had exercised mine?  As we know, the Constable of St. Mary represents a far smaller population than I do and that simply illustrates the fact that we do not have voter equity.  Until we get it, our decisions are going to be somewhat unsound.  I want to also talk about the capital projects.  Not much reference has been made to them and I am not going to mention the big ones.  I just could not help noticing that, squirreled away in the Government Plan, is the future of Piquet House.  This is a subject that has been debated by the Assembly before now.  The Minister for the Environment is not here, but he brought a Proposition to the Assembly about Piquet House.  I note that it is going to be transformed into a family court.  This may, or may not, be a good thing, but what I find curious is that that particular capital project has not, as far as I am aware, been subjected to very much scrutiny.  Of course it bothers, I think, many of us that the States of Jersey, that the Assembly parliamentarians exist in this, albeit very historic, chamber, but we are squeezed, I have to say, quite often by the demands and the needs of the Royal Court, not least in the area on Halkett Place, where the furniture of the Royal Court prevents some backbenchers from doing their work.  This is, perhaps, a minor point to some Members, but all of us I think have been to Parliaments where parliamentary members have far better conditions to work in, far better resources than we do here.  It bothers me, because I think that if we do not provide Members with proper facilities, then we will simply not get the work from them that we wish.  I share the Deputy of St. Martins concerns at the enormous sums that are being spent in this Government Plan.  The increase in the spending of the States is truly eye-watering and, of course, we are being told there are lots of savings as well, lots of efficiencies, but I think some members of the public must be aghast when they look at the cost of running Jersey and how expensive it is getting, because all they are seeing, as I said at the start, is increases in the cost of living and the little luxuries that they enjoy.  This is clearly something which Scrutiny needs to look at, but what of Scrutiny?

[15:45]

The lead member of Scrutiny has told us that she is not voting for the Government Plan.  That, surely, is something that should be quite serious and quite troubling for the C.O.M. and it leads me to ponder, in closing, whether we have the right mix of Members, as we consider important parliamentary matters.  I wonder if, a bit like in the U.K., there is a problem, that there is an effective Opposition functioning the States.  There have been times, during these debates, where I have felt I am almost more Reform than Reform.  I found myself voting for some policies that certain Reform members have voted against and at other times, of course, I have voted with Reform and I have been expecting a card application to be passed across to me.  But I think there are problems in the Assembly when it comes to the fragmentation of the Opposition and I think Members, who feel that backbenchers and Scrutiny have been hard done by, need to talk quite earnestly about whether we can do an effective job of Opposition, while we are all working as individual backbenchers.  Half of the time, we do not know what other backbenchers are doing, in terms of Propositions and questions and that seems to me to be a system which is not really keeping the C.O.M. on their toes.  I am not going to vote against the Government Plan, even though I have concerns about it, because there are, of course, things that are extremely good in the Government Plan, a great deal of investment going into the services and the 5 priorities that have been set by the Government.  But I want to conclude - and in a way, the Deputy of St. Martin has stolen my thunder - I was recently at a parliamentary conference, where I was flying the flag for Jersey and talking about what we do well.  One of the things I surprised the delegates with was the example of how the Jersey cow has become almost like a bovine ambassador for the Island and is doing such great work.  I think the statistic that a new female Jersey cow, or a Jersey cross, is being born every hour in Rwanda and will be is a truly astonishing achievement and it means that the Island is, through the work of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, doing a great deal of work overseas.  Personally, I think the increased funding for the Overseas Aid budget is also absolutely essential and I welcome that.  That is one reason why I would certainly not consider voting against this Plan and I would ask Members, who have said that they are going to vote against it, to think about all the things they will be voting against, if they do not support this Plan.

1.6.7Deputy M. Tadier:

I think we have found the theme tune for Jersey Overseas Aid here on the backbenchers.  It is a Chic song and it goes: Free cow like that and it repeats.  [Laughter]  It seems that, on the one hand, we have got free cows for Overseas Aid and we have got free pork products from the Constable of St. John.  Dare I say and use that cliché that I was not going to speak, until I was prompted by the Constable of St. John and, perhaps, latterly, the Constable of St. Helier, it shows that whatever we think about the Constables in the States, they do provide good contributions on many different levels.  [Approbation]  Albeit voting with vastly disproportionate land masses and population bases.  So, it was absolutely right that the Constable of St. Helier mentioned this.  What is the link?  We try and be a representative Government and, increasingly, especially if we are using stealth taxes, rather than fair taxation, it will fall to the people who live in St. Helier, the urban areas, which includes St. Saviour and the densely populated parts of Les Quennevais in that too.  We have to get to grips with it, otherwise we cannot truly hold our hands up and say we are a representative democracy.  I will just make a couple of observations about who might and might not be supporting this Government Plan and what has changed.  I think the Constable of St. Lawrence said the roles have changed around, to some extent.  It is interesting to see that.  I do not know if it is a beach café that was being imagined in the Constable of St. Johns analogy.  It seems to me that, irrespective of what is on the menu, the difference this time is that the Constable of St. John has starting working in the kitchen.  He is no longer sitting there as a customer.  In fact, he is the one that has put the menu together and he is running the café himself, so he has probably got a different perspective as to whether the goods, that he is selling, are good value and he has probably realised the fact that as the owner of the café, you have to source quality products and that, if you want to sell a good breakfast and rather than using cheap sausage - and I think the adage about judging a big breakfast by the quality of the sausage has to be a true one - then you realise, when you are running the kitchen, that you cannot do things on the cheap.  That is probably the difference.  I know hearing about Cumberland sausages might have been slightly cumbersome for some and hearing about the number of rashers might have seemed slightly irrational to some of us, but nonetheless it was a welcome analogy.  It seems that, to a certain extent, some of us are on a different side of the table and everything that we say, or bring as an Amendment, gets extra scrutiny.  So, we may be in a position today where we are officially handing over the baton of the official Opposition in this Assembly to Senator Moore and Deputy Luce.  I think that it is important to say that it is a really vital role.  In the U.K. they call it Her Majestys Loyal Opposition and I do not think that Senator Moore, or Deputy Luce, or any other Members, who are voting against the Government Plan today, should be criticised, because it is absolutely essential that we have seen Amendments lodged by the Opposition to this Government Plan.  I feel sorry for them, that they do not have a proper party basis yet, because it is very difficult for them to do that and they have had to lodge things ostensibly, I believe, often as a Scrutiny Panel, which is unfortunate, because often ... and they brought some good Amendments, which have been supported.  I would say, from a personal point of view, that a lot of the Amendments that have come forward have not been evidence-based and certainly not sufficiently to sway the majority of Members in this Assembly, even the ones who might be inclined to give the Council of Ministers a bloody nose on certain occasions.  For my part, I do have to balance it.  I said earlier a lot of the things that are being done in this Government Plan are necessary and positive.  I am not so enamoured with the way that some of these things are being funded.  I think we could have found much more progressive and fairer ways to do that and I know that is something which many Members, looking at the voting record ... and we have had some interesting alliances on certain key votes which show that to be the case.  I think, on balance though, we do have to give this C.O.M. a chance.  This is their first Government Plan.  We know that they are a diverse group.  I have not seen a lot of first-hand evidence, because I do not sit around that big table very often, but when I have, I certainly see that the Chief Minister, while having different views to others - for example, from myself, or my Party members - he does allow all voices to be heard around that table.  I personally have to also commend the work of Senator Mézec, Deputy Young and Senator Vallois, who, I think, have been key voices in speaking up against areas of policy that they do not agree with.  I will put the comment out there: I think if some of the people, who are voting against this Proposition today in the Assembly, had they been on the C.O.M. and provided exactly the same package that is being presented to us by Senator Le Fondré and his Government, they would have had no hesitation in supporting it, even if they were given a free vote.  I just put that out there as a little thought, before I sit down and say to the Ministers: we will be watching you, including our own Minister, to make sure that you deliver on the words and the promises that you have given this time.  In a years time, if certain things have not been delivered on - I do not think it is just us - but the whole Assembly will be holding you to account with Amendments, as necessary.

1.6.8The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I am not sure what has gone wrong with the Government Plan, but it seems to me that there has been something missing with regard, particularly, to the linkage with the Scrutiny system we have in place, as part of our States structure.  My perception has been that there has been an unwillingness to receive any criticism, which has bordered on what I would describe as an unfortunate arrogance.  This has been enforced by the attitude adopted today with regard to the second Amendment with some 4,621 votes, I note just now, supporting the views of Deputy Labey.  Notwithstanding that, there has been a good level of debate, with contributions from all Members, which I think demonstrates that this Chamber works quite well.  There is a perception and I tend to agree, that the Government Plan pays little heed to the people who will have to pay for the ambitious plans put before us.  This will hurt many people and I, for one, can see and for my part regret that.  The sums the Government propose to spend to accommodate what I would describe as a wish list are incredible and it is a shame there cannot be more focus on reducing taxes to the general public and simply reducing spending, as is one of the points suggested, I might add, by the Financial Policy Panel.  I am often, particularly at home, accused of being thrifty.  I am quite proud of that attribute and if it can be justified, especially when it comes to spending taxpayers money.  I am embarrassed at the money wasted on the hospital to date and will continue to question spending, where I consider it being wasted.  I am not unused to the difficulties any Government has with the presentation of a Plan such as this and it is difficult to carry everyone with what can be unpopular decisions.  I would say that the Council of Ministers do not seem to be carrying the people of Jersey with them at the moment, maybe because there are lots of new, ex-U.K., civil servants who, perhaps in truth, do not understand how Jersey works, with all due respect to them.  I, therefore, suggest that one of the new priorities of the new man at C.O.M.s should be to understand the finer workings of Jersey and bring the people back onside.

1.6.9Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will try and address some of the comments that have been made, as we have been going through the debate so far.  I think I would like to just take us all the way back to where we were, even before the beginning of last week, is do not forget ... it was about a year ago, to the Connétable of St. Helier, not 2 years ago, when this Assembly approved the C.S.P. and it was approved unanimously by the Assembly.  So, this Government Plan now is putting the funding in place for us to deliver.  We have done a lot of talk, now over the next few months and into next year and thereafter, now is the time to basically put our money where our mouth is.  I think also, as is always going to be the case, although it has been a tiring week of debate, some debates have been short, some debates have been long, but generally they have all been good tempered and I think, generally, there have been some quite constructive debates.  Yes, the Council of Ministers has not got all of its own way, which is usually a good thing in democracy and, certainly, if I had been on the other side of the Chamber I would have been thinking: Yes and on this side of the Chamber, for want of a better expression, that is the nature of the game.  To be honest, I think the runes were read relatively in advance of where we were on Amendment 2, but we had to try and make the case, as well.  That is not about arrogance, I hope, I very much hope it is not perceived that way, but it is about trying to let that democratic process go.  There have been some outcomes, which have surprised me.  But, overall, the Plan as it is, assuming this Assembly approves it, is relatively intact, if that makes sense.  I will pick up on a couple of comments from a variety of people, one is the Connétable of St. Helier again, because we do not have opposition politics, as far as I am aware and I would hope that remains long the case.  That is my perception; some Members will disagree with me on that.  But I have always felt that it is always fascinating where I might, for example, agree with Deputy Southern on some areas and we have worked together and then, equally, I will work with Deputy Ash on some other areas.  I am picking on individuals, but the point is I am suggesting that their political alignment might be somewhat different.  That, to me, is one of the joys - it can be frustrating - but one of the joys of this Assembly is that groups work together on issues, not: Because they are not in this group, I am not going to support them.  Having said that, we have seen that I think during the course of this week.  Tourism, again just addressing a couple of points from the Connétable, because I was listening with some interest to some of the remarks he made, we are investing in around over £3 million over the course of the Plan in terms of new money.  The working mans pint, it does depend, but if one looks at the Government Plan, a penny is the increase.  That has been lost a little bit in the media reporting ...

The Connétable of St. Helier:

Can I urge the Chief Minister to talk about the working persons pint, not the working mans pint?

[16:00]

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I believe that was the expression that the Connétable himself used, in which case I apologise if I misheard.  But the point was, the crucial thing, before we get diverted away from terminology, is that there was a penny increase and a penny increase on the price of a pint is not a swingeing increase, I would hope, by any description, or other.  Also just to reiterate, if we do get to the point - and I think we all agree about States Members facilities - that when we do get to the much needed refurbishment of Morier House, there are already thoughts in there of getting facilities for States Members into that project.  Piquet House got a green tick from the relevant Scrutiny Panel in terms of that as a future project.  I was obviously disappointed with a couple of the other remarks.  I take the point and I remind those Members who did and it was well attended, of the briefing we did at the beginning of November, I think, which was around efficiencies and around some of the challenges we were facing.  We also touched on expenditure, because it was a little bit of a surprise, I think, for a number of us when it was put in perspective.  People probably will not be able to read this, but they may remember a slide, which was this slide, which was the actual increase in expenditure per the Government Plan.  But then Treasury produced something which was this - and those with really good eyesight can see the difference - but what it was showing in the orange, is that the increase in expenditure using 2019 as the base going forward, is not that huge, once you take account of inflation, relatively speaking.  Then we go back to the whys and the wherefores and the comment, again, about technology and I obviously will not reiterate all the comments we made at that presentation, but I hope we made it really clear as to why we are having to spend the money that we are having to spend on the technology front as an example.  Because - and to repeat something I said at a Scrutiny hearing - it protects and enables us to provide the services that members of the public use.  If one goes back to the WannaCry attack on the N.H.S. (National Health Service), I am going to look at Deputy Truscott, was it 2 years ago now?  My time has merged slightly.  I think something like 88,000 operations were cancelled as a result.  If you do not invest in those systems, that people do not see and you get that sort of attack, then there are real consequences to people on-Island.  As we have said and it is not exciting, but the J.D. Edwards system, which is one of our core systems, was implemented in 2005, it is running on Windows server 2008 and 10 year-old hardware.  There have been incidences where, to get the hardware parts, they are having to buy second-hand, at the moment.  The systems are getting that creaky.  That is why I am disappointed from the Deputy of St. Martin saying we are spending too much.  Well, one of the reasons is because, over decades, we have always cut things back where we should not have done.  The analogy I used to use, many years ago, is if one were to used between Gwyneth Huelin Wing in the hospital and The Parade, in that sort of tunnel as it were and on the right, as you were coming through, some glass windows on the back of the old building and I never saw the window sills on that building ever painted and you could see them just deteriorate and deteriorate and rot.  That is how we treated our entire property estate, pretty well.  I first came across that in 2005/2006 and I do not think it has ever been addressed properly and that legacy continues.  In terms of cyber, the stats have been given recently, we have had 4,400 attacks, which have been stopped at the perimeter.  We have had 3 million potential threat emails stopped, 800 malware incidences have been contained at our endpoint, but, obviously, there is a lot more to do.  In terms of the workforce, which is obviously where some of the money is being spent, again the H.R. (human resources) function is being increased, which we have touched on previously and do not forget that is half of our spend.  So, in other words, although it is increasing, by some who might see it as bureaucratic civil servants, it is then giving the capability to get the training in, to get the recruitment done, to handle all those H.R. bits, that we do not do well at the moment, although things are starting to improve.  I think it is worth also making the point, some quotes from C.I.P.F.A. in terms of the Scrutiny, our adviser.  I will pick out the positive ones, there are obviously some other ones where they expressed some concerns, but it is an overall point.  What they say is: Unlike previous Medium Term Financial Plans, this rolling 4-yearly approach allows for a significantly greater degree of agility/flexibility in recalibrating approaches to developing fiscal issues.  Then it sort of starts addressing, well what happens if things do get difficult in the next year, or 2 years, as the result of Brexit, or something along those lines?  We have that flexibility to come back and address it.  That has been one of the big issues we have had with the M.T.F.P. in 2018 and 2019.  In this respect our evidence, derived from the Government Plan, supporting documents and oral evidence, suggests that, at a high level and for, perhaps, the first time, corporate priorities have been identified and incorporated within a financial strategy in a way that seeks to determine clarity of objectives and secure the accountability to the services to deliver required outcomes through the allocation process.  That is quite jargony, but then they say: The G.P. (Government Plan) is well set out and appears to be comprehensible to the non-financially aware reader, minimising technical terms where possible.  I hope I am not going to inspire him to speak, but that probably does pick up on Deputy Morels 7 favourite words in the entire Plan which has just disappeared. I have lost it … it will come back.  It was something like replacement of I.T. assets.  Yes, perhaps, in future, they might be more detailed, but that document is a high-level document.  It was part of an I.T. section and I have to say, in my books, it did say what it does on the tin, but obviously Scrutiny did want more information.  I believe they were given it and we know what their views were.  It does turn around and say: The G.P. is strong on setting out the change agenda at a high level.  It carries on and, in the end, it says: That said, scoring specifically on the G.P. within this exercise is markedly higher than our global average.  I am afraid I am going to do what I love doing, which is holding up another document, which was the Corporate Services Scrutiny Report for the M.T.F.P. 2016-2019; in other words it is the old one.  I held this up in a debate, not too dissimilar from this and said: If you look, there are orange and there are red bits on here and red is not good.  That was how C.I.P.F.A. of the day had ranked the Plan.  Now, it is not quite the same, so these are just the questions where we found the overlaps, we have at least got a green and it is all amber.  That means we are not perfect at all, but we are heading in the right direction.  Three of the 4 measures, that overlap in these points, have been marked at a higher level.  That means the direction of travel and all the evaluation that C.I.P.F.A. is going for is the right way.  It is by no means perfect, we are not saying that, but it is heading in the right direction.  Indeed, what it does say: A real improvement of the approaches used and the construction of previous M.T.F.P.s is the attempt to model corporate priorities, alongside their financing, with a focus on the delivery of outcomes.  In summary: The Government Plan 2020 to 2023 is a bold and ambitious Plan.  It is, essentially, a fiscal framework, which incorporates unparalleled levels in respect of Jersey of transformational change.  I, for one, am going to take that as a positive.  We know there are other comments in there, that are not all positive, that we have other areas to improve.  But if we look at where we were, as an organisation, to where we are now, I would argue that that is an improvement and that should be, I would suggest, recognised and applauded as and when necessary.  I think Deputy of Southern said: where is the investment for the economy?  I think there is something like £80 million going in, specifically £3.5 million into productivity.  He was wondering where it was and he then, briefly, touched on the hospital.  I make the point, we had 2 Planning rejections, one was by himself.  We had one coming out of the system, which was loosely the Planning Inspectors recommendation and we have obviously had the Assemblys decision on that.  So we have had to do things differently.  Obviously, there is more communication coming out of that, there is more work coming out in the next couple of weeks and Members will see that going forward.  At the moment, I believe, we have had 150 applications for the Citizens Panel, which I think is a good thing and I hope then that will start.  That is that next step and we know we have got to keep going on that.  So, I think, really what we tried to say in the efficiency side is that there are no sacred cows, to use the cliché and, yes, it is a plan.  That plan will have overs and unders.  There will be bits we do not do, or we do not do well and there will be bits that we exceed.  That is the nature of a plan.  The question will be in 6 months, or 12 months time, if it is approved, where we are, relative to our original objectives and that, at that point, is where this Assembly will start holding us to account.  As I said, it will not be a perfect outcome; we will do some bits well, we will do some bits less well, the question is what is the direction of travel at that point.  So, I think what I would just like to try and conclude is to thank everyone, all the Members in this Assembly, obviously officers, as has been previously said and the Scrutiny officers and Scrutiny.  Thanks for everyones participation in the process; the Government Plan is better for it.  The experience has not always been easy and I think there have been learning points for all of us, possibly including in how we manage our diaries the week after the Government Plan is booked for next time around, but we will see.  So I do want to express my thanks to Ministers, to officers in the Greffe and the Government and to all politicians in this Assembly and how we have all generally worked together.  We now know there is much more to do if this is approved today, but we believe the investment will make a huge difference.  As other Members have already said, there are bits in there that they do not agree with and there are bits in there they do agree with.  Let us focus on the positives there.  It will make a difference to children, to the health and well-being of Islanders, to the economy, to the nurturing of skills in the local workforce and climate change and housing and income inequality.  Even though we have not gone as far as certain Members would like, there is an improvement relative to where we were before, I would argue.  We may just have that separate discussion elsewhere, but there has been a movement, relative to where those systems were previously.  But the programme of modernisation is fundamental to those priorities.  New generation technologies and investing in the skills and abilities of people across Government are essential to achieving this Plan, if it is agreed.  Members will all want to be kept informed, they will want to continue to scrutinise Government action and the spending in detail over coming months and years and that is quite right.  But, on behalf of the whole Council of Ministers, I look forward to working with all Members on delivering the Government Plan 2020 to 2023 and, hopefully, improving the lives of Islanders.  I do ask Members to obviously support the Plan.  We will see if anybody else has got anything to say, but thank you.  [Approbation]

1.6.10Deputy R.J. Ward:

It has been a very interesting few days and some interesting comments made, as well.  I would like to thank Senator Gorst for introducing the term Reformonomics, which was so loyally reported in the J.E.P. (Jersey Evening Post) as well.  It is fascinating the idea and one that we are certainly going to work on.  It seems that the Government Plan can be seen as a reaction to what has been broken economics, the failings of the M.T.F.P. that shackled the States to rigid spending, channelling unspent monies into contingency, or other funds, never to be seen again.  That led to the erosion of the value of public services in the workforce, public sector strikes and a regime of austerity, so a move from this broken economics would be very welcome.  Perhaps we can see the Government Plan as an emergence of a more progressive approach.  There seems to be a recognition of the need to invest in our services and infrastructure, but with the accountants sleight of hand in the form of efficiencies.  The common feature of both of these is the ignoring of the elephant in the room: our outdated, unfair, and failing tax system.  Broken economics always provided a protective blanket for the wealthiest in our society, indeed a more winter-ready duvet.  It presided over the move to taxation of individuals, rather than corporations and we still have this high-end protection, throughout our tax system.  We have, again, failed to address this in the rejection of Amendments that addressed exactly those issues.  The Government Plan promises to invest in our Island, update our public services, without decimating our workforce, invest in infrastructure, schools, our new hospital and so much more; but without raising basic tax levels, or addressing the massively unequal system.  Instead, it will achieve with efficiencies which include notable rises in regressive taxes, although the rigid rules of G.S.T. do remain a sacred cow.  I wish the Government good luck in this complex challenge.  We have lost the chains of the M.T.F.P., I hope that we can move on from the broken economics of previous years.  So, in voting for this Government Plan I do so with real reservations. 

[16:15]

I desperately hope that the investments promised in youth facilities, addressing mental health provision, Childrens Services and a recognition of climate change emergency, happen and have a real impact.  I will raise my concern, again, about us pulling back from the full commitment to our carbon reduction by this argument of others being more polluting and again say that what some Ministers feel are green initiatives, are really not.  Real decisions are going to be difficult, drive less, fly less, walk more, cycle more, eat less meat, change your heating.  These decisions are going to have to be made in time and we will all have to make these decisions.  I hope the estimates in part A of the Plan are taken seriously, the one part of my Amendment that went through and I hope that is not the end of that initiative, just to publish estimates.  I am certain that we will come back to our structure, we will have to, if we really want the level of public services we all talk about and the quality of life and the safety net in our society for the many in our society and not just the few.

1.6.11Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I would echo what others have said before me.  This has been an interesting week.  I was clean shaven when this began.  I am misleading the Assembly; I was not at all.  When I announced that I was standing for election, there was a serious amount of doubt shown by many Islanders, some in this Assembly, no doubt, as well.  But, in my entire life, I have dealt with that and that fuels me to strive to be better and to show my values, my beliefs and my simple mantra that I want to leave this world a better place, whenever that is, if it be tomorrow, or in years to come.  So, when I stood for the election and started to learn how this great Assembly works to make this Island a better place, last year was a massive learning curve.  This year has been the implementation of that learning and I turn to the simple phrase I heard a lot when I was standing and still hear in certain quarters: What is the point of standing?  How can you make a difference?  One person cannot make a difference; it is a collective, there is a machine, there is a party system, there is a this and a that.  I have refuted that all the way through, because one person can make a difference, because it has a knock-on effect to others.  I bring that to the Scrutiny Panel that I work mostly on and that is the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel, because we are 4 new States Members, all of us have equal and different backgrounds that informed the work that we have been doing in scrutinising the Government, as we have in this Government Plan Scrutiny Report.  But we started with a fundamental issue that we believed was very important and that was mental health and we did an 8-month report where we, all 4 of us, diligently connected with this Island and we heard them through the election and invited them to take part in a process that would allow us to form a well-mediated, well-proposed review to the Government.  That Government accepted our report and accepted, I believe, all our recommendations bar 2.  It was on the basis that they saw it for what it was, a well-researched, a well-worked on, a well-supported, a well-spoken to and data-driven report, that will only improve what we are all seeking to improve.  Through that constructive working as Scrutiny and Government, we can now look at this Government Plan and see £16.3 million of investment in some mental health services that is going to make a fundamental difference to many Islanders lives long term; overdue.  We are proud to support that.  We can see as we break down and Senator Farnham mentioned the Listening Lounge, on 31st July of this year, in fact, the Mental Health Improvement Board decided to allocate existing funds to initiate what is a 2-year pilot.  This is already up and running.  This is due to begin in terms, as we know and has been since November.  The Government Plan is to then support that pilot for the next 2 years and we hope it is successful, we believe it is going to be successful, but it is being delivered by a professional company coming forward to provide the expertise.  So, this is something that has started and the Government Plan is wanting to succeed.  So, we need to be careful on the detail and be clear of what we are talking about.  This is one area and there are many others, which is why we are proud of the work that we have done that has led to difference in this Government Plan.  There is a concern, because the concern is what is needed is staff, what is needed is expertise and, as we know, this is a problem across the board.  Recruiting dedicated staff to work in these crucial areas of healthcare delivery and other areas is difficult for many different reasons, which is why, if we had a migration policy, or a policy that could address all of this before we tackle these things, we could have more clarity on these issues where we did not have to go back.  But this is not marrying up; this is not matching what we are seeing when we are asking for it.  But it has started to come and there is still much to come.  But there is an issue that is growing in me and I speak freely now as a politician on my own; that I am sensing we are not getting the bigger picture.  We are not getting the detail that the late great Paul Brown, this Island I know remembers fondly in the days, if you can sense something is not right go for it, but be fair and ask the right questions and bring everybody alongside with you.  Because the truth is the pursuit of democracy and that is what I am trying to achieve from my Scrutiny work.  It is not about agenda, or ego, it is about getting to the heart of something and that is what we are trying to achieve, I believe, in this Assembly.  This is what I believe this Assembly is about.  It is taking something from the Government, or a backbencher and all of us as equal people could stand up and have our say.  That is what, I believe, is the important part of this.  George Bernard Shaw once wrote: Some people see things as they are and say why while I dream things that never were and say why not?  Even if we had to be more efficient, or raise material poverty, there is another greater task; it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction, of purpose and dignity, because that afflicts us all.  There is great apathy out there, but we need people to work with democracy, because the alternative is not good enough.  My mantra and visions in life, in my personal and professional lives, in various roles, be it business manager from a company to a charity, is the same.  If people are valued, motivated and respected, great things happen.  A budget, while, yes, important, is not just about numbers, it is about our values and it is about our future and how well we are laying the groundwork for all young children, especially those in care, who have been failed for so long, while we also care for the elderly and those who need us.  We all want to see a Plan that reflects our values, in making sure that we are making the investments we need to keep this Island safe, to keep it growing and to make sure that everybody is participating, no matter what they look like, where they come from, no matter how they start in life, that they get a chance to get ahead in this great Island of ours.  Too many people are leaving; too many people are fearful that something is not right.  It is our duty to work together, to put that wrong.  That is what I believe.  I believe that is what everybody believes here.  This is not perfect and next year will be really telling.  Now is the time to get things, done so we can reduce this and make this Island a better place.

1.6.12Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

I apologise for missing the debate, but I have been getting reports of it, while I was meeting colleagues from Guernsey and the Isle of Man on environmental matters; a very successful day.  But I just wanted to say a few words about the Plan, because this is the first Government Plan under the new Public Finances Law and I am absolutely delighted to see it and I am sure other Members will highlight this in detail, but just to mention them: the concept that our Plan now embodies community and environmental well-being, that is a real step forward; and integration of income and expenditure, a real step forward; the capital year of account being different.  All that is great improvement, compared with the way in which we used to do budgets.  So, we really have now a Plan, which has a very sound basis for the future, as a progressive and a balanced Plan.  Particularly, I am very pleased, of course, that the environmental Amendments have been made.  I see on the Proposition, that is put on the table here, that paragraph (a) now includes a specific commitment to do further work on looking at environmental measures in terms of our taxation policy.  Of course, we have a good start on environmental priorities.  Obviously, Members will know my view that the level of resource and priority on the environment has not been adequate historically.  This is a significant step forward; it is a good start.  So, I am very keen on that.  I have wanted to mention one other aspect before we close this debate is that I have heard Members, in backbench Members Propositions, a considerable measure of frustration with the time that things have taken to produce the Plan.  I share that myself and I do not want to see that as criticism, because it is the first time we have produced this Plan and our procedures have been very complex and we have been learning as we go procedurally.  So, if you like, the planners have effectively been at it 18 months, but, of course, the key work was done in the first 12 months; the draft Plan was put together in around May/June 2019.  Of course, there has been an enormous amount of investment in officer time and Council of Ministers time and Scrutiny time.  When one looks at the volumes of reports, this is a huge monumental task.  I found myself sharing the views of Scrutiny members with some really good ideas and hearing: Do not worry, we agree with you, but things are coming in the future.  But, nonetheless, it is important to stick with the Plan and go with the Plan but now, once we approve this Plan, the situation changes.  I hope now, this is my key point, all of us now move away from developing this Plan, into delivering it and achieving it and translating those words on paper and the numbers in the schedules into service improvements and action.  That is a view I have spoken to the Chief Minister about and a number of my ministerial colleagues and they are echoing that to Council of Ministers colleagues and to the Executive team that serve us, because it is really important now that refocus happens, so that, in the next 2 years, we are going to have to update this Plan each year.  But I want us to have that focus on delivery and achieving and I hope that the time and effort required to adopt this Plan is not anywhere near as substantial as producing it, as we go through the next 2 years.  Of course, we will learn our processes, so a shift into service delivery, but that is all I want to say, it is an excellent Plan and the changes that have been made improve it.

1.6.13Deputy G.P. Southern:

As some have said already, this is the first time we have debated intensively both tax raising and tax spending at the same time.  I am afraid, however, that despite this new way of doing things, we appear to have arrived at the same old result, which has happened year in, year out, certainly in my time, when we have discussed either budgets, or business plans, or whatever.  That is that the backbenchers voice has not been heard properly.  The Ministers stand and oppose almost everything that comes their way, say No, the only people who have this right is us.  I find that very disappointing.  Last year, the emphasis from Reform Jersey was on rewriting taxation to increase the yield, which is absolutely necessary and to simplify the system, because nobody understands it.  I fear that got nowhere.  This year has been the year for Reform Jersey of social security contributions and again we have very little distance, manoeuvre, movement on that.  In particular, a thank you to the Chief Minister, reminding us that what this Government Plan is about is on delivering the common strategic plan.  But one of the key elements of that, one of the key priorities, is to reduce income inequality.  What we have seen, in terms of social security contributions, is that has been abandoned, a cap for the wealthy does nothing to reduce income inequality, in fact it makes it worse.  Yet, that is one of our strategic aims and we appear not to be able to recognise it.

[16:30]

The other thing that has not been mentioned, in terms of social security contributions, is that the projections that we see are largely dependent upon plus-700 population numbers, dependent on population growth and, as such - and this will be a difficult debate that is coming up during the year - we have not committed ourselves to that sort of number, so we have to beware of making concrete assumptions about where we are going with social security, given that is largely reliant on large numbers of population growth.  I am also taken back to some 15 years ago, when we examined a Budget and tax proposals that were based on a new method: Zero/Ten and we ended up scrabbling around, because we were £100 million short.  As we engage with a new-style Government Plan, I note - and I think the sums are related - that what we are talking about here are so-called efficiency savings to the tune of £100 million.  It is no accident that Zero-Ten gave us a lack of revenues of some £100 million and that is still floating around today; £100 million efficiency savings to be saved from spend.  That is the reality.  I should not, of course, be surprised about that, because, at the same time as we went to Zero/Ten, we were told, very clearly, by the then Chief Minister, or his equivalent, that what we were doing is transferring the tax burden from companies to individuals and indeed that has happened; it happened in spades.  It used to be that company tax to personal tax was about on the ratio of 80 to 20.  Nowadays, that ratio has reversed, 80 to 20 where individuals are paying the maximum amount.  That takes me on to yet again thinking about this particular Plan, what do we have here?  We have a low tax/low spend mentality, a philosophy that drives the whole thing.  As I keep reminding Members, those days are gone, the fact is the spend is inevitably day-in/day-out, is going up, because we are living through better older age, we are living fairly healthily to that age, nonetheless the load is going up, we can no longer refuse to examine potential tax rates and stop fiddling around on the edges with a bit here and a bit there but, fundamentally, looking at our economy and accepting that we have to raise taxes, in order to supply the services that our population absolutely needs.  But, having said that, it has always been my tradition, if you like, when we come to the end of one of these big plans and it seems to me that backbenchers, or Scrutiny, have got nowhere with Ministers, to vote against it.  This time I am tempted to vote for it.  But that is dependent on progress during the coming year.  My vote it may well get, but I will be examining how we progress, in particular how we progress with the Jersey Care model.  This has been put up against my Proposition to reduce G.P. consultation fees.  It will not go away, that, by the way; I will be coming back to that, as soon I can.  But I am focused on one little part of the Jersey Care model, which says on page 18: Funding for primary care services in Jersey is sourced from a combination of service user co-payments [that is the G.P. fees and others] payments from the Health Insurance Fund [we have discussed that this week] and payments from Health and Community Services, paid for by general taxation.  Increased provision of primary care services is likely to require extra funding, repurposing of current budgets, or reducing the spend on secondary care into the future.  That warning is there.  There is an increased spend sometime in the coming year.  It must be delivered, because if we do not deliver care in the community, then we are forced back to reliance on the hospital and that hospital will be bigger than it otherwise would.  That is the reality.  So, a big test there in whether we can deliver on that particular point.  The second positive point I find is that, in the capital spend, we have not discussed that particularly, there is money put aside for a north of Town community centre, or youth centre and that is absolutely something that we have been crying out for, for a long time.  That makes me feel that at least, if nothing else, we will deliver that.  So, again, I will be looking at that in the coming year and keeping an eye on that, so that it does get delivered.  The final thing that makes me feel slightly positive about this Government Plan, it did not happen in this debate, it happened when there was a surprising collaboration between the Chief Minister and myself over P.88, which allowed us, I believe, to critically examine in, I hope, forensic detail how these efficiency savings will work and have worked throughout the year.  I shall be giving a lot of my time and attention to exactly that, because the last time I saw the word efficiency savings was 10 years ago and it was accompanied by efficiency savings on one column and another column that said: Service reductions.  If there is a hint of service reductions involved in these so-called efficiency savings, then I shall want to know why and I shall be reporting back to this House to suggest that what we have done is being conned by a label.  So, there we go, for once, despite the encouragement from the Fiscal Advisory Panel to run a surplus, which would indicate that what we have coming is not an extra spend, but more austerity, despite that I feel in a position to be able to vote for this Government Plan with one eye at least on a years time and seeing where we are.  It may well be that, by then, we will have a different scenario in front of us altogether.

1.6.14Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Whenever we come to these debates, it is always like a fruit salad, is it not, there are parts we like, the strawberries and the raspberries, the bits we would expect to be there, the apples and the oranges, the parts that we do not like, the grapefruit and the kiwi, or maybe we like it all, or maybe we like none of it.  Some Members speaking seem to have forgotten that, a long time ago, they threw in some plums and now they are prunes, which we are all having to deal with.  But, what I would say is that this is a new process for all of us and certainly, on the ministerial side, we know there have been some concerns raised from Members, while looking as we go into the next year of spending and how we do that and that process has been looked at and reviewed.  So, can I just say to Members and hearing what the Constable of St. Martin has expressed, certainly the ministries that I am part of, we have and will continue to have an open door for all Members who want to discuss anything, or have any points that they want to raise.  We have been able to address some of the Amendments that have been brought in and address some of the technical aspects and, of course, the sooner we have them, the sooner we can deal with them.  So, I would want just to say to Members and at the same time, in this Assembly, is much as we try to seek consensus there will be some points where we just fundamentally disagree and that is democracy and that should be allowed to happen.  There were some Members decrying how some Amendments were not accepted.  We can see that the Council of Ministers did try to accept as many as it could.  Perhaps, with hindsight, there will be better drafting next time and perhaps that opportunity of coming to speak to us earlier will be taken up, because, again, we can iron out some of these issues.  As with many Members, as much as the Government Plan is concerned, we all have concerns about elements of it, definitely we are all watching the I.T. budget.  We are all worried about what the efficiency programmes might mean and whether it will capture the aspirations of the Assembly when we approved the Common Strategic Policy.  Some things we have lost as we have gone along, we wanted the glacé cherry of one per cent, we only got ½ a per cent, we will deal with some coconut shavings, it is not a problem.  But this document will have bits that we will not like in it, it will have bits that we do like.  Does it get us closer to the aspirations that we wanted, when we approved the Strategic Plan?  I think it does.  Therefore, unsurprisingly, I will be supporting the document.

1.6.15Deputy K.F. Morel:

I must start - I am afraid this is a very cynical perspective - by saying I am not surprised that Deputy Southern is supporting the Government Plan for the first time in his parliamentary career, or thereabouts.  He has party colleagues in the Council of Ministers and has an Assistant Minister, as well, so I doubt he would be wanting to pull the rug out from under their feet about their Government Plan in that respect.  So, that was not the biggest surprise, as much as you might say it.  This Government Plan has and I am sure with many Members, taken too much room in our heads for the past few months.  Even now, as I sit here, I am probably one of the few people in this Assembly who genuinely does not know which way to vote on this Government Plan.  Much as Deputy Maçon said, there are the bits you like, the bits you do not like and the other bits that are just always there.  But it is because the bits that I do not like have not been addressed by the Council of Ministers and are also such important parts of the Government Plan that I do have, as I sit here now, serious concerns about it.  They are things like the large increase in spending without, as Deputy Southern said, really addressing the issue on the taxation front.  But we do have a large increase in spending.  I do not believe the mandate at the election last year was to create a large increase in spending and so that really bothers me.  The fact that much of that spending is on the Government itself, brings me back to the point that I have made before, that this is a Government, obsessed by itself and not about delivery of public services that that really worries me.  I have here, a letter sent to the J.E.P. and it does bother me what it says, which is: I am quite frankly staggered with regard to the efficiencies that this is all the Chief Executive Officer has to say after 2 years of excessive cost to the taxpayer, their excessive cost to the taxpayer.  I hope States Members feel similarly disappointed.  I have to admit I am really disappointed and it is not so much with the Council of Ministers, it is with the Chief Executive, who came here 2 years ago, promising savings, promising efficiencies and, at the end of that 2-year period we have a really weak £40 million Plan sent our way at the last minute.  That really bothers me.  As far as that Plan is concerned, we do not know, really.  Certain amounts are just: The target operating model, that is all it really says.

[16:45]

How many people are going to lose their jobs as a result?  How many social workers will we be losing, as a result of this?  How many nurses will we be losing?  How many extra managers and directors are going to be employed, as a result of this operating model?  We are already seeing an increase at the top level.  We were promised a decrease of numbers at the top level.  We are seeing quite the opposite, so that really worries me.  A few weeks ago, in the J.E.P., the Chief Minister said he hoped that it does not devolve into personality politics, this debate about the Government Plan and I think he will be very pleased that it has not, over the past week, at all, with the odd exception, but generally it has not.  But here I will talk about personalities, not individual personalities, but as a Council of Ministers my concern still lies with the backup.  It does not feel like they have the Executive under control.  When I see more high-level directors being appointed and a £40 million efficiency Plan landing, at the last minute, after 2 years of work, I question who is in charge still and that really bothers me.  I do not want to have to question that, but I do not see a Council of Ministers that is really jumping up and stamping its authority on the Executive that it is meant to control.  It still feels like the tail is wagging the dog, so that really bothers me.  These are fundamental problems that I have.  There are areas of the Government Plan that I am pleased with.  Deputy Pamplin spoke about mental health and the Jersey Care Commission, as well.  I am looking forward to seeing what that is.  I gave the Minister for Health and Social Services the benefit of the doubt with regards to Deputy Southerns Proposition, because I really want the Minister for Health and Social Services to deliver a good care model with good G.P. access and so I am happy with that.  I am happy to see extra spending in those areas.  That really pleases me.  Like the Deputy of St. Martin, I am concerned about the lack of real funding for the economy, but where I am really concerned is the lack of skills for the economy, across the economy.  We have to reshape our economy and yet there is very little money going into skills.  That is a serious concern.  We are spending hundreds of millions on ourselves and hundreds of thousands on skilling people in the economy, when we know that they need to change their skillsets for the 21st century and to deliver Jersey into the 21st century.  That, to me, is a massive failing of this Government Plan and one that makes me question whether it is supportable, because that is a fundamental pillar.  The people of this Island need to have the skills to be able to work in the 21st century economy, to bring the revenue back into this Island that will fund the Government in the future.  Without those skills, this Island begins to teeter and fall over.  So, it is really important to me that I see that and it is not there.  That investment is not being made.  Instead, we see investment into the Government itself and I do agree investment in the Government has not been good enough over the past years and so, to some extent, this Council of Ministers is dealing with some legacy issues.  I am not ignoring that fact.  It is a fact and I accept that, but it just seems that it is over the top.  On the technology spend, the Chief Minister quite rightly talked about cybersecurity.  He is right, cybersecurity issues across the Government are huge.  Some of the technology issues are enormous, but what we saw, when we were scrutinising it, was a complete lack of detail as to how they are going to spend that.  Just last week, or the week before that, I was hearing about another project that has been canned, it is a waste of money.  It may start again in 6 months time, but then we will have to hire another project team and waste all that money again.  That is the sort of story that you do not get to grips with through the Government Plan, but which is happening within the Government, within the Executive: bad management, mismanagement, money wasted.  My concern is when I look at Deputy Wickenden, who is overseeing the technology ... and he knows, because I say this to him privately, that we say yes to this £100 million being spent in that area, but how do we know that they are not just going to pour £25 million of that down the drain through mismanagement?  The history of technology spend in the Government - not this particular Government, but across the last 20 years or so - has been appalling and has led to the situation we are in.  I know the Council of Ministers want to turn it around, but I do not believe they have shown us that they are capable of turning it around and capable of managing it properly.  I know that Deputy Wickenden is about to speak and I hope that Deputy Wickenden proves me wrong, but £100 million is a lot of money to gamble on that, so that is another concern of mine.  The other concerns that come are these unsaid things in the Government Plan, the borrowing.  Now, the borrowing: how many times have we heard the words borrowing and lending being used over the past week?  Hardly any, because it is not in the Government Plan, yet it is.  You read between the lines and the borrowing is there.  We see an infrastructure fund with no details.  You do not know what the infrastructure fund is.  It could well be filled with money from borrowing.  We do not know.  The Government, as Deputy Southern said earlier, has not looked at the tax system, at all.  It has not looked at a way of trying to raise, effectively, more money, yet it wants to spend £350 million and more on infrastructure; so where are they going to get this money from?  We do not know.  There is an undertone that this money is going to be borrowed and yet we have not had a conversation with the public about levels of borrowing, how much they want to borrow, do they want to borrow at all, is that something they feel comfortable with?  Jersey is not in charge of its own currency, Jersey does not have a central bank.  Yes, it has a balance sheet and I have heard the term; I have heard it in Scrutiny, from the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, we need to leverage our balance sheet.  I appreciate that, there are advantages to that, but that is not a conversation that is coming out here and that really disappoints me.  It is hidden away in the Government Plan; borrowing is in there.  They have just not put any figures on it yet and it will come out in the next few years as to how much this Council of Ministers wants to borrow, but because they have not been clear about it, because they have not been open about it, I find it hard to support a Government Plan that I know has borrowing in there at its heart, but has not been open about it at all.  So, if nothing else, I want to put on record this Council of Ministers, I believe, wants to borrow money.  We are yet to find out how much, or how, they want to borrow that money and I am not comfortable.  I worry that by saying yes to this Government Plan, that it makes the Council of Ministers then feel that they can go out and borrow that money, because my vote for this Government Plan is in no way a vote for borrowing.  That is a separate conversation.  So, I am worried; these are the things that I do worry about.  I still sit here.  We heard, as well, the issue that has been raised, the Constable of St. Martin raised it, of effectively it is communication, but it is not communication through the Communications Unit.  It is communication person to person, Council of Ministers to other non-Executive Members in the Assembly and there is a real defensiveness and it is a real shame.  The Council of Ministers need to speak more, they need to open themselves up, they need to speak to the other 30-odd Members of this Assembly, because that is not happening.  It worries me that other people talk about Opposition and the fact that it has been raised as an issue in this.  Some people think we need an Opposition.  No, I still believe we do not need Opposition in the States of Jersey.  We need people, who are willing to work together to find consensus.  That is the way forward, but to find consensus, you need to speak and too often the Council of Ministers is hidden away in its Broad Street offices, not speaking to those outside of those Broad Street offices.  Those of us, who are not among the 31 lucky enough to have a pass to the Board Street offices, whether we are Ministers, or Assistant Ministers, or not - there are plenty of us who cannot just wander in there - we have to meekly ask the receptionist if we might have a badge to possibly leave and sign in and sign out.  There is a real communication issue at the heart of this Council of Ministers, as well and I really hope they get to grips with it and it is not the Communications Unit that will help them answer that question.  It is just getting out and talking to people and leaving those Broad Street offices and coming back here.  Scrutiny is doing its work in this building that you can all access, so come here and talk to us.  Again, I believe that was one of the promises made; it would be a Council of Ministers open to talking to Scrutiny.  Well, not just Scrutiny, non-Executives.  It does not feel that way, but I believe it is incumbent on the Executive to make the effort, because it is the Executive who knows what is going on.  You cannot know what you do not know.  It is that simple in Scrutiny.  That is where we are.  I still sit here, having said all this, those are my criticisms and still do not quite know which way I want to vote on this, because I have an issue.  I hope nothing ever really gets passed unanimously again.  It was passed unanimously is a stick to beat you with, if you ever dare criticise it again.  I am pleased that this is not going to be passed unanimously.  That is good.  We have been told of a couple of Members who are not going to agree to it and that is good, because there are too many questions about the Government Plan for it to be passed unanimously.  There are too many ifs that we do not know now and other Members have said, quite rightly, we will only find out over the course of the coming year.  I have a funny feeling the debate in a years time is going to be a lot harder.  I have a funny feeling the Council of Ministers is going to find it a lot tougher in a years time, because they are asking for a lot of money and I am not convinced that the public of Jersey are quite ready for them to have that money.  So, if they are also not delivering on the promises that they are making, properly delivering on those promises, then there are going to be some serious questions.  So, we need to see more invested into services and less invested into senior managers at extremely high prices.  I will sit here and I will continue to listen to the debate, which I am sure many of you want to see wrapped up soon enough, but as I listen I will still be considering which way to vote.  I am sure it is an academic one whichever way.  I do not think my vote matters hugely today, as far as the overall numbers are concerned.  It is nice to be able to wrap up the debate and to move on, because I believe we still have another Proposition to talk about after this.

1.6.16Deputy G.J. Truscott:

We are facing a new year and a new decade with 2020 coming up and I always start a new year full of optimism and looking forward to the future, but have a feeling, this year, it is going to be a bit of trepidation.  We have Brexit, on which the main debate and the election will take place and we will know by, of all days, Friday, 13th December.  I do sincerely hope that the British public will deliver a positive Government, so that the U.K. can get on and deliver some certainty to the future.  I started the new millennium and that only seems like yesterday - where did that 20 years go - full of optimism and the economy was really going well for the first 7 years.  I do not know if we all recall it.  There were wonderful times.  There was money everywhere.  It was really good and, all of a sudden, the world economy hit the buffers and since then we have had 10, 12 years of really tough times.  Those are my concerns going forward.  I think, in the Government Plan, the Government do mention there is possibly a Plan B and I think, if we do hit the buffers, then it will be a case of having to rejig all the priorities and look at how we can shore up the local economy.  Deputy Morel is absolutely right.  I am concerned about the taxpayers locally, but there are so many pulls on the public purse going forward, such demand like we have never seen before.  The hospital seems to have disappeared out of debate to a degree, but let me remind Members that it is going to cost at least half a billion and that was a couple of years ago.  OK, they are thinking of possibly delivering a smaller hospital, which personally I am still not convinced by, particularly as we are doubling the over-65s, we are all getting older and living longer, thank heavens.  We still have not stress tested the community option.  Are there going to be enough beds?  We still do not know.  So, I have real concerns.  Death and taxes are 2 things we can be assured of and taxes will have to rise and Reform is, to a degree, right, but I think it is all about proportion and balance and thinking ratcheted up gradually, rather than just take it off the cap.  Just do it gently, but we do need more money, whichever way you look and, as I say, the pulls on the public purse are quite immense.  I have been in politics 5 years now and it has been an opener.  I have looked at how this Government has been run.  I am a great observer, I listen a lot and I take a lot in.  It is absolutely right that the infrastructure of this Island ... the housing stock and all those things have been so badly run it has been embarrassing, quite frankly and these things have come back to haunt us, because now they are going to pour so much money into these things to bring them up to modern standards.  I will be supporting this Government Plan.  To me, we need a plan, while it is not a perfect plan, it is a plan

[17:00]

I really am looking to Scrutiny.  One, to be not oppositional to whatever is happening, but certainly challenge the Government.  Be a critical friend of the Government, but certainly hold them to account.  I was having a private conversation with the Chief Minister about this.  He is absolutely right, we both agree, your feet should be held to the fire.  However, if it does go wrong, then you should be possibly spit roasted, as well.  Anyway, that is by the by.  The money going forward; Reform, I feel, are on the right track, but it is about targeting the money, taxpayers money, to people that absolutely need it in our society.  That is where it has to go.  I do not want my parishioner, who has been to the doctor 5 times, she is on Pension Plus and various other things, feeling that she cannot go to the doctor, because she had already laid out £200, was finding it difficult to heat the flat and buy the food, et cetera.  There should be a mechanism in place and I do hope the Minister for Health and Social Services delivers that, that can enable my constituent to go to the doctor and not feel that it is a financial burden that she just really has to put it off.  It is a false economy.  We know if she had carried on the way she had, she would have probably ended up in hospital costing the taxpayer a lot more money.  I am worried we get to a tipping point where we are going to have to tax more.  People are just going to have to realise that there are going to be more taxes coming forward.  We do need to fight the climate emergency, as well.  It is a pity it has come and it is inevitable that we have to fight it and that is absolutely right.  It is at the end of 12 very difficult years and it is at the end, where people have felt the pinch and when we are having to deliver these really quite tough increases in petrol and various other things.  You can imagine people, who are not earning a lot of money, who take the kids once a week ... we are trying to change habits, I totally understand that.  But people who rely on their car, who are finding it difficult to heat the house and who are finding it difficult to buy the food in the shops, because inflation is kicking in, we have hit them as well.  This is what we have to be so conscious of.  As I said the other day, we have to scrutinise really what one is doing when one presses that button.  That is so important.  You drop the pebble in the water and the ripples go out and it affects a lot of people one way, or the other, whether it is peoples freedoms, or peoples amount of money in their pockets, it is something I take very personally when I vote.  I am worried.  The last time the market crashed ... we have a lot of our investments tied up in the market.  I have spoken to the Minister for Treasury and Resources on a number of occasions and we have pretty much all of our money in the markets.  If there is a major crash, then we will, without a shadow of a doubt, suffer the consequences of that.  I was wondering whether we should have diversified at some point into other capital areas, such as gold, or whatever; just divest the potential losses that we could suffer.  However, that is something that we are discussing and I am looking at taking forward.  So, I will be supporting the Plan.  It is not perfect, but at least it is something we can now look at.  There is a lot of good stuff in there and if we can deliver most of it, we will be doing great.  I am very conscious that we only have 2-and-a-bit years to go and desperately want to leave a positive legacy.  I am sure we all want to do that, to make, as Deputy Pamplin said earlier, a real difference to peoples lives in the Island.  As I say, I will be supporting this Government Plan

1.6.17Senator S.Y. Mézec:

If I had written this Government Plan by myself, it would look very different to what it looks like now.  I think that what we have here is the culmination of many hours of intensive deliberation from Ministers and even more hours of work dedicated by our fantastic officers, who worked incredibly hard on this.  Now, we have just spent a week in this Assembly having debates on some of the intricacies in this and debates on the Amendments, which I consider to have been a very worthwhile experience to hear where Members are coming from, even if not all of the Amendments were successful - the ones that I brought and that my Party brought were not successful - but will have certainly given Members here and those listening food for thought as to how we move forward in the future.  There has been some talk about opposition.  I can speak with some degree of authority on this, having played the role of Opposition throughout the last term and having voted against the previous M.T.F.P., having voted against every Budget in that Assembly.  I disagree with those that have said that they do not want Opposition in Jersey and that they would prefer a system that enables consensus.  I do not think having Opposition does prevent you from reaching consensus.  It is perfectly possible in a less British version of Opposition to have a parliamentary system where 2 sides can come together, when they need to, without the hard feelings that develop in their system.  Deputy Tadier pointed out that, in the U.K., the Opposition is called Her Majestys Loyal Opposition.  The word loyal is important, because those Members, who have expressed the view that they will be voting against this Government Plan are not at all being disloyal in any sense.  They are being perfectly loyal to what they believe in and will be voting according to their conscious and what they think is in the best interest of their constituents.  That is absolutely right for them to do that.  I believe it was right when I did that to the previous M.T.F.P.  However, I will be voting for this Government Plan very enthusiastically.  I am very proud of the role that I have been privileged enough to play in putting some of this together.  This Government Plan looks totally different from the M.T.F.P. which preceded it.  An M.T.F.P. which I regard as having ... in turbo-charged austerity, in many senses, which attempted to bring forward stealth taxes, which were regressive, which ended up failing when they reached this Assembly and so stop exacerbating the problems we were facing with a financial black hole.  The worse elements of it saw cuts to support we provided to the vulnerable.  It provided for cuts to jobs, particularly in infrastructure, which, just a few years later, we now know was the wrong thing to have done and damaged those services and the jobs of those who were doing that work.  What we have with this Government Plan is something that does not resemble that.  It is a Government Plan that paves the way for 4 years of quite intense investment in some areas that are absolutely crucial to the well-being of the people which we represent.  I am incredibly proud that this Government Plan sees the expansion of the Jersey Premium in schools, something that will make a real difference to schools that have students from low income backgrounds or people with other disadvantages.  I am incredibly proud of the fact that it will enable us to drastically improve our fostering service, which will have an unimaginable impact on those children, who otherwise may have been at risk of being sent off Island, because we were not able to provide the services here.  Not only is that good for the children, but it is a more cost-effective way of doing things in the long run.  I am very pleased that there is money put aside in this Plan for a new youth and community centre in the north of St. Helier, which I know from having represented that area as a Deputy - and still living there - that it is desperately needed.  That will have such a huge impact on those young people that will benefit from all of the services they will be able to receive there, the support they will get and from the people who work there and the opportunities they will get working and playing with one another, which is going to be fantastic.  Even if some of us may regard this next one as not going far enough, it is incredibly important that we have established the concept of this Climate Emergency Fund.  That may well be one of the most important things that this Government establishes, because it recognises the principle that Deputy Ward got this Assembly to agree, an existential crisis facing mankind and Jersey is standing up to say: We are going to do our bit.  I am quite proud of that.  There will be more to do in the coming years, to expand that fund and discuss how it gets used, what it gets spent on and how that can be used to improve, not just to lower our carbon emissions here, but to improve quality of life for people and how their heating works and improved cost of living and electric vehicles and all sorts.  I am very pleased by that.  The one thing, the sort of shadow hanging over us - that there is no getting around and we ought to be upfront about it, and other Members have referred to this - is the efficiencies programme.  Deputy Southern spoke of the interesting coincidence there is about the £100 million black hole that Zero/Ten was predicted to have given us.  Now, we are looking at £100 million efficiencies.  More than just a coincidence some might think.  I have been of the view that so long as we are on track to delivering public services in a better and more efficient way, doing things smarter, there is nothing wrong with any of those principles.  The moment we step beyond genuine efficiencies and get to service cuts and get to job losses, that is when we enter dangerous territory and where I will be extremely concerned.  I do worry that, in future years, starting off with the right intentions, as are outlined in this Government Plan, making this important investment in some of these services that life, the universe and everything can be unpredictable.  Sometimes things do not go according to Plan and we have to be able to be flexible if we get a year, 2 years, 3 years into this Plan and things are not quite going how they might have been foreseen at this stage, that we have to be able to respond to that, move effectively and do so on the basis that we are not accepting a reduction in the standard and the amount of services that we deliver for the public.  We should be trying to do quite the opposite.  At least I can be relaxed on that point by 2 things.  The first, that we are operating under a better Public Finances Law than before, which gives us a flexibility year on year in this.  I may say, in case Deputy Morel is listening outside the Chamber, that the Public Finances Law does require us to come back to this Assembly to approve borrowing, if there is to be borrowing.  If that is his chief concern and he has heard this from outside, I would be delighted if that managed to convince him to vote in favour of this.  The other safeguard that there is for my worries about the efficiencies is the work that Deputy Southern did to get P.88 past, alongside the Chief Minister and that back and forward to come up with something that was reasonable.  That enables Scrutiny to have the ability to hold us to account, if things are not going to plan.  They have the ability to break down these efficiencies, not just by Government departments - these departments now stretch over multiple ministries - but also by Ministerial port-folio as well.  Speaking as a Minister, I will find that incredibly useful to have that feedback from Scrutiny to examine what is going on there.  I have little else to say other than that I am very pleased at some of the projects that are going to be progressed because of this Government Plan.  I am frankly extremely frustrated that it has taken us this long to get to this point; 18 months after an election we are here.  I see some Members nodding their heads.  They are going to shake their heads at the next point I am going to make though, which alludes to something that the Constable of St. Helier said, but more relevant to what Deputy Tadier said, which is that you cannot complain legitimately about how long it takes us to get things done in our Government system, if you are not prepared to accept that it requires reforming how we do politics to get this stuff done quickly.  How long did it take us to prepare a C.S.P.?  The U.K. has their general election in just under a fortnight.  They will have their Common Strategic Policy done and voted on by Christmas, because it will simply resemble what party manifesto ends up winning that election.  They can get on with that quickly, they can get on quicker to get their Budget together and then they can get on quicker to start forming their policies in action. 

[17:15]

I say to those, who may have perfectly legitimate criticisms about the process of how we get to this point.  It is simply not good enough to shout from the side lines about how bad things are, when the reality is, if those people were in Government, they would face exactly the same problems and would be as ill-equipped to deal with them, because they will not have fixed the underlying political problems we have.  These are twofold.  Firstly, an undemocratic and unequal voting system, which plagues the legitimacy of the decisions we make in this Assembly.  Deputy Morel made the point about how this Government is increasing public spending.  Personally, I welcome increase in public spending.  It is the right thing to do.  It puts us in a better position to be supporting the people we represent.  He said that he did not really think it had a mandate and that the election ... people were voting, probably not anticipating such a drastic rise in spending as is proposed in this Government Plan.  I am sorry, but the fact of the matter is that they did not really give a mandate to anything, because our electoral system is too much based on personality politics and too heavily dominated by uncontested elections.  I say to those Members, who want a better process for putting Government Plans together, put your money where your mouth is, support electoral reform and form a party that can put your mandate wholesale to the public.  When the public vote for it, you can get on it much quicker.  That brings greater efficiency into Government.  With the money you save with that efficiency, you can plug it back into the public services that the voters of this Island expect us to deliver on.  There are some home truths that some Members may find uncomfortable to hear.  I am afraid they are truths, if you want to get things done quicker.  Despite all of that, we have this Government Plan, which paves the way for some desperately needed investment in our public services.  We have made a small amount of progress on making our taxation system progressive.  Nowhere near as much as I would like, but a small amount, because of the changes to social security contributions and raising the cap a little bit, as well.  However, I am confident that, in years to come, we will see the light and be able to make even greater progress on that.  We are in a good position to be doing that.  I am very pleased to be voting for my first Government Plan.

1.6.18Senator T.A. Vallois:

Quite apt following Senator Mézec.  Although the processes, in terms of how we run Government Plans, our spending, our budgets, or whether we run this Assembly, I am quite happy that I put my money where my mouth was when I helped to work up the Public Finances Law, that delivered this Government PlanBecause, it created the flexibility and, more importantly, the recognition that we need to be determining sustainable well-being around our budgeting and not just focusing on the pounds and pence and the accountants spreadsheet.  On that note, it is important that I speak, because once we have been through an extremely long week - and it has been an extremely long week, particularly focusing on Amendments - we tend to forget some of the really good things that are in this Government Plan.  I would just like, as the Minister for Education ... although not everything I would like to see in the first year of the Government Plan, hopefully more of that will come in the next Government Plan.  Areas like Senator Mézec mentioned was the Jersey Premium, not only is that increasing throughout our current schools, but that will be moved into a sustainable basis in our Highlands College, supporting our post-16 students as well, language strategy, intensive language support, but also widening the scope of music offering to all of our children, not just some.  I also have to make a point, because I do not believe I have heard other Ministers say it, but I would truly like to thank Scrutiny, so Deputy Ward, Deputy of St. John, Deputy of St. Peter and the Constable of St. Helier for their hard work around looking, identifying and intrinsically measuring the impact and the expectations of the funding that is going to be carried out in 2020 for education.  We also have to recognise and not to underestimate the importance of our higher education funding.  Many people have mentioned and go to the fact that there is significant growth.  £6 million of the growth in education next year is purely higher education funding.  That was a decision of this States Assembly.  Do not underestimate the impact that that has had on our future generations, being able to go on and achieve the potential that they have to further support, not just their families but, hopefully, the Island, going forward in the future.  There is another significant amount of the growth that is in education, which is mostly demographics.  I know this was a particular bottle of contention in the previous term, where Scrutiny recognised the issues of growth not being demographics, because you are always going to need to spend that money.  When you have a legal duty to support children in education, demographics should be just a requirement, because those children are there and we have a legal requirement to educate them.  Although we have had a long week and recognising some of those positives and maybe some of the Amendments, that some of us may have wanted to get in did not get in.  We have to recognise that also we have increased the cap on the social security side, in terms of the £250,000.  It has not just stayed where it is.  In my opinion, that is a positive move.  Also, consider it against the impact and the competitiveness of the Island against some other jurisdictions, it is an important tool and one that Government takes seriously.  Back to the Public Finances Law, I have not always been a Minister.  In actual fact, this is my first time being a Minister in the 11 years I have been in the States.  I have been an Assistant Minister twice before that, but mostly worked in Scrutiny.  That is why I value the work that Scrutiny do.  It is an extremely important part of our democratic process.  We cannot know everything about everything and, therefore, that eagle eye looking upon what Government is doing is extremely important to enable us to provide a better society for all of our Islanders.  I will, therefore, go on to the point that I have principles and they are not changing.  Just because I am a Minister does not mean I will sit there and not challenge.  Just because I am a Minister does not mean I will not sit there and read every document that is put in front of me.  Believe me, I try my best.  It can be very difficult at times.  I am grateful also to my Assistant Minister, Deputy Maçon, for the support he provides, specifically in the last 18 months, doing the Strategic Policy and this Government Plan.  I move on to one of the particularly contentious issues, which many people have mentioned and that is the efficiencies.  I feel it is important that I approach this and I mention this and I talk on this, because I am one of those Ministers that have contended against 1.78, which is recognised in the efficiencies plan which has been put forward.  It is important that I am able to speak on it, as an independently elected Member and also as somebody who has been elected by this Assembly as the Minister for Education.  It is not like I have just turned around ... and this is really important; it is not that I do not believe in efficiencies, I do.  It is when they are genuine efficiencies, I believe in efficiencies.  The reason why I challenge 1.78 goes back to challenging my intrinsic ... looking at the numbers and what it means and the impact and the expectations that people, not just Members of this Assembly, but members of the public have of me and of our education system.  I need to ensure that whatever goes forward does not - and I repeat - does not have a negative impact on the education we provide to our children, our young people and our adults in this Island, because education goes right across the piece and it supports everybody.  The Scrutiny Panel was specific in their recommendations and they asked me to release an update on the efficiencies.  I had not had an update and I was due to get some information before Christmas.  Further information has come forward since then and it is important for me to notify Members that I have written to Treasury to advise that I am unable to support that 1.78, as the scope in which the efficiencies was originally put to me has widened.  The detail on the information behind that 1.7 is not sufficient to give me confidence that not only is it deliverable, but it will not negatively impact on the education service and the whole of the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Services.  That is important for me to share with Members, because that was a specific recommendation from Scrutiny, asking me to publish that information.  So, I felt it was important for me to make Members aware of the position I find myself in.  That letter went to the Minister for Treasury and Resources on Friday.  We will continue to discuss as Ministers and identifying and seeking whether, or where else, that funding could come from.  I reiterate the report of the Fiscal Policy Panel.  The Fiscal Policy Panel did advise us there is a risk to delivering these efficiencies.  Anything we do, in terms of spending, or saving, efficiency-wise will have a risk.  Next year, although I recognise what Deputy Morel says, with the post-16 strategy there is still some really good work happening, in terms of the Education portfolio.  We have the big education conversation, that will deliver, eventually, a new education law.  Nursery education funding under the Early Years Policy Development Board that is looking at conception to 5 years; we will see growth funding for that in 2021.  We have £539,000 growth for the Digital Academy next year, which is specific for the skills portfolio.  The post-16 strategy is an extremely important piece of work, because my Assistant Minister and I have committed to recognising academic and vocational as equal attributes to, not just our Island, but as global citizens around the world; that they are equally important and that we need to invest appropriately in both and not just in one.  On that note, I thank everybody for the last week.  I have listened to what they said.  I felt rather disheartened, hearing the Constable of St. Martins speech last week, feeling like she had not added any value, because she was on Scrutiny.  Please do not feel like that.  We have all been there.  I can put my hand up; I have been there, as well.  We can work better together.  We can.  This is a learning process.  A lot of us are new to the Government Plan.  I would like to thank my colleagues on the Council of Ministers, as well.  I am sure that the next Government Plan is going to be just as interesting.

The Bailiff: 

Coincidentally, we have now reached the point, 5.30 p.m., where I am required, by Standing Orders, to ask the States whether they wish to adjourn to another day, or whether they wish to continue. 

Deputy R. Labey: 

My feeling, Sir, from talking to Members is that there is an appetite to try and finish this tonight.  The best way to do this is to, perhaps, propose that we sit until 6.30 p.m.?

The Bailiff: 

You would consider proposing that we sit until 6.30 p.m.  I am aware that no one else has indicated a desire to speak on this Amendment, but there may well be others who do.  Then there is the Minister for Treasury and Resources to respond and the vote to be taken.  Then there are 2 statutory matters.  Then there would be Deputy Tadiers Proposition, relating to busking charges, still before the Assembly.  I mention those things merely because you have indicated 6.30 p.m.  That is a perfectly feasible Proposition if you wish to put that to the Assembly as a first stage. 

Deputy R. Labey: 

Just to be clear, Sir, did you say that nobody had indicated that they wanted to speak in this debate?

The Bailiff: 

As at the moment we reached 5.30 p.m., there was no one with their light on saying they wished to speak.  If that remains the position, then I would call upon the Minister for Treasury and Resources to respond.  However, I do not know if that does remain the position, because I have not asked.  It may be helpful to Members, does any other Member wish to speak on this debate on the Government Plan?  No one has put their lights on, so the next stage would be to move to the Minister for Treasury and Resources.  Do you propose that we continue to sit?

Deputy R. Labey: 

Yes, I do, Sir.

The Bailiff: 

Until 6.30 p.m.

Deputy R. Labey: 

Yes, Sir.

The Bailiff: 

Is that seconded?  [Seconded] Does anyone wish to speak on that?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I am just wondering if Deputy Tadier is still intending to bring his Proposition on busking?

Deputy M. Tadier:

If it helps the Assembly, at this point I would be happy for it to roll over until next time.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff: 

Does any other Member wish to speak on the Proposition that the Assembly sits at least until 6.30 p.m.?  Those in favour, kindly show.  Those against?  Very well, we continue until 6.30 p.m.  On the assumption no other Member wishes to speak on the Government Plan, I call on the Minister for Treasury and Resources to respond.

[17:30]

1.6.19Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Bearing in mind the time, 5.30 and the remaining agenda, I will not address all those who have spoken individually, because it will take too long, but I thank them for their contributions.  I will be very brief in my summing up.  Throughout last week and this week we have had a long and thorough debate on the first Government Plan for Jersey.  We have debated expenditure plans and the plans to fund that investment at the same time, resolving not to dodge the issues and procrastinate, as has been done in the past.  It is a plan that balances certainty with flexibility, proposing the first year in detail and a further 3 years in outline.  We will be able to adjust to changing circumstances as each year we will update the Plan in detail for the year ahead and a refreshed view of the next 3 years.  But this has not simply been a plan delivered by spreadsheets.  It is a plan that agreed the financial budgets for departments and has set out how we propose to support the sustainable economic, social and environmental well-being of Islanders.  This is a plan that sets out our ambitions to improve the lives of the people of Jersey, linking those improvements to the investment agreed.  We shall monitor and, crucially, report progress in delivering for Islanders to States Members and the public, through an integrated performance report.  When Members consider the next Government Plan, they will have transparent reporting on progress made in delivering this Plan.  It is absolutely right that we set ourselves an ambitious plan as a Council, but also as an Assembly.  It is now time to get on with delivery of that plan.  I would like to thank States Members for the huge amount of work they have invested in preparing for this debate and for the lively and positive engagement from everyone.  I would also like to thank all the members of Scrutiny for their work in scrutinising this Government Plan for their findings and recommendations which have made such an important contribution to this debate.  This is a demanding, but achievable, Government Plan, building on the vision of the Common Strategic Policy agreed unanimously by this Assembly.  It is an affordable Plan, which embraces our priorities, balances between income and expenditure and makes undeniable common sense.  It establishes a firm and sustainable foundation for the Governments work in 2020 to 2023.  I commend it to the Assembly as a whole.  I call for the appel on a single vote. 

The Bailiff:

The appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats.  The vote is on the adoption of the Government Plan as amended.  If Members have had the opportunity of returning to their seats, I ask the Greffier to open the voting.  If Members have had the opportunity of casting their votes, I ask the Greffier to close the voting.  The Government Plan is adopted: 42 votes pour, 2 votes contre, 2 abstentions.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Beg your pardon, Sir, my button is not working.

The Bailiff:

Were you not able to record a vote?  In which case, let us reset the vote, please.  Did you wish to record your vote manually then?

POUR: 43

 

CONTRE: 2

 

ABSTAIN: 2

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Deputy of St. Martin

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

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. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

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)

 

 

 

 

 

2.Draft Social Security (Amendment of Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201- (P.110/2019)

The Bailiff:

The next item now is the draft Social Security (Amendment Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations, lodged by the Minister for Social Security and I ask the Greffier to read the citation.

The Greffier of the States:

Draft Social Security (Amendment Law No 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201-. The States make these Regulations under Article 50 of the Social Security (Jersey) Law 1974.

2.1Deputy J.A. Martin (The Minister for Social Security):

These are, as you say, just 3 or 4 pieces of law that need to be changed under the Social Security law.  One identifies the formula that will go back up to the full amount in 2022, the other is the rising of the upper earnings limit and the mechanism by which that will be achieved.  There are some Amendments that are all consequential to what we have ... they are not consequential, I will obviously ... it was a good debate and it was voted for.  There is the next Amendment to come up by Corporate and obviously that is being accepted, because Corporate made an Amendment to the long-term care to raise it by ½ per cent.  I am not sure where we go from there, because it is an Amendment to this.

The Bailiff:

I think it is an AmendmentFirstly, you must move in First Reading, move the principles and then we can go and deal with the way that ... as far as I am aware there is only one Amendment, nothing else has been passed during the course of the debate, so there is just one Amendment when we get to the correct Article.  But if you would like to propose the principles.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Yes, as I say they are there, they are self-explanatory and I propose the principles. 

The Bailiff:

Are the principles seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on the principles?  All those in favour of adopting the principles, kindly show?  Those against?  The principles are adopted.  Does the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel wish to scrutinise the matter, Deputy Le Hegarat?  [Aside]  We now come to Second Reading.  There is an Amendment which is consequential upon the adoption of the Amendment to the Government Plan and that occurs at Regulation 5, so do you move Regulations 1 to 4, Minister?

2.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

Yes, can I move Regulations 1 to 4, please?

The Bailiff:

Are they seconded?  [Seconded]  Those in favour of adopting the Regulations 1 to 4, kindly ... I beg your pardon, does any Member wish to speak on Regulations 1 to 4?  Just to avoid getting on to a roll here.  No?  Those in favour of adopting Regulations 1 to 4, kindly show.  Those against?  Regulations 1 to 4 are adopted.  We now come to Regulation 5.  Minister.

2.3Deputy J.A. Martin:

Regulation 5 was the Proposition from myself for the long-term care and, as you say, there is going to be an Amendment to that and, obviously, we have had a very long debate on it and it is accepted that instead of being 2 per cent, it will be 1½ per cent.  It has not been proposed yet.

The Bailiff:

Is Regulation 5 in principle seconded?  [Seconded] 

 

2.4Draft Social Security (Amendment of Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201- (P.110/2019): Amendment. (P.110/2019 Amd)

The Bailiff:

There is an Amendment to Regulation 5 and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Greffier of the States:

Page 8, Regulation 5 - In the substituted paragraph 3(6)(b), for for 2020 and ensuing years, 2 per cent substitute - for 2020 and ensuing years, 1.5 per cent.

2.4.1Senator K.L. Moore (Chair, Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel):

The Assembly has rehearsed very well these arguments around this issue.  I am grateful to the Assembly, who supported our Amendment to the Government Plan by 24 votes to 19 and therefore I hope that Member will, again, support the change from 2 per cent to 1.5 per cent for the future longterm care charge.

The Bailiff:

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

Deputy M. Tadier:

The Minister is proposing this, as amended, is that correct?

The Bailiff:

No, we are taking the Amendment formally.  The States has already voted to adopt, so it is now a vote to adopt the Amendment and then the Minister will take it as amended.  Does any Member wish to speak on the Amendment?  Those in favour of adopting the Amendment, kindly show.  The appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 45

 

CONTRE: 1

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

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 S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

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 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 J.M. Macon:

That is the last time I support my Minister.

 

2.5Draft Social Security (Amendment of Law No. 11) (Jersey) Regulations 201- (P.110/2019) - as amended

The Bailiff:

We now return to Regulation 5, does any Member wish to speak on Regulation 5, as amended?

Deputy M. Tadier:

Is the consequence of voting against this to revert to the no increase in the rates?  Can you just clarify?

The Bailiff:

I would have to look at the terms of the Amendment but this is the ... the Regulation is now amended, what is being put before the Assembly is the amended version of the Regulation and that simply being passed would reflect what the Assembly has already voted for.

2.5.1Deputy M. Tadier:

So, with that in mind, I will be voting against this, because I think that even at a ½ per cent increase, it does increase the gap between the highest earners, who are exempt from the charge and everybody else who is going to be finding it put on every taxpayer.  I think it is preferential that we reject this completely and the status quo remains, because that means it is likely to come back a lot quicker to be amended.  That seems to be the rationale for myself.

2.5.2Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Following on from Deputy Tadiers logic, presumably, then, by rejecting this and retaining the status quo, that would also mean the cap not rising to £250,000, as is currently the position.  Rather than an outright vote against, the Deputy may well want to consider abstaining, which is what I am thinking about doing.

The Bailiff:

Can I caution Members against reopening a debate that has effectively taken in place in the context of an Amendment?  Does any other Member wish to speak on the Amendment to Regulation 5?  I call on the Minister to respond.

2.5.3Deputy J.A. Martin:

Thank you.  I apologise to my Assistant Minister, I know he was trying to be very supportive, but we have been through 5 days and we have had a long debate on this and I thought that as we were where we are that it was just democracy and the Assembly had won that debate.  But I absolutely appreciate my Assistant Minister trying to support me to the end and I maybe should have done myself.  But, yes, I maintain Regulation 5 and I ask for the appel.

The Bailiff:

The appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats and ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 46

 

CONTRE: 0

 

ABSTAIN: 1

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

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 of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. 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 R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

The Bailiff:

Regulations 6 and 7, Minister?  Do you propose Regulations 6 and 7?

2.6Deputy J.A. Martin:

Yes, I propose Regulations 6 and 7, thank you.

The Bailiff:

Is Regulation 6 and 7 seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on Regulations 6 and 7?  Those in favour of adopting Regulations 6 and 7, kindly show.  Those against?  Regulations 6 and 7 are adopted.  Do you wish to propose the matter in Third Reading, Minister?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Yes.

The Bailiff:

Is it seconded in Third Reading?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak in Third Reading?  Those in favour of adopting in Third Reading, kindly show.  Those against?  The law is adopted in Third Reading. 

 

3.Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law 201- (P.109/2019) - as amended (P.109/2019 Amd.)

The Bailiff:

The next item is the Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law, lodged by the Minister for Treasury and Resources and I ask the Greffier to read the citation.

The Greffier of the States:

Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law 201-.  A law to set the standard rate of income tax for 2020 and to amend further the Income Tax (Jersey) Law 1961, the Customs and Excise (Jersey) Law 1999, the Goods and Services Tax (Jersey) Law 2007 and the Taxation (Land Transactions) (Jersey) Law 2009; to amend the Revenue Administration (Jersey) Law 201-; to make consequential Amendments, and for connected purposes.

The Bailiff:

Minister, there is only one Amendment to the legislation, that is brought by you, as well.  When we get to the Articles, will you be taking it as amended?  Very well.  On the principles, Minister.

3.1Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

Following the decisions reached in the debate of the Government Plan, the Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law proposes the standard rate of income tax and the income tax exemption thresholds for 2020.  It makes a number of amendments to the Income Tax (Jersey) Law, changing the allowances, deductions and reliefs available to personal income tax payers.  It puts on a firmer statutory footing a number of provisions.  For example, relating to the administration of the Income Tax Instalment Scheme.  It makes changes to the operation of the Income Tax Instalment Scheme, consequential upon the agreed changes to the rate of long-term care contributions, as amended by Amendment number 16.

[17:45]

It also makes changes which support Jerseys new Economic Substance Law, for example, placing obligations to make returns on various entities in certain circumstances.  It makes minor Amendments enabling the provision of digital services by Revenue Jersey.  I will not be proposing Articles 12 and 15, nor Articles 26 to 30 where we have agreed, with the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, that they should have further time to consider the measures, before they are re-presented to the Assembly in 2020 in 2 separate Amendment laws.  The draft law makes changes to the definition affecting financing businesses and minor corrections to the law governing international savings schemes.  It amends the Stamp Duty Law to maintain the exempt status of various housing trusts, Andium Homes and certain other social housing providers.  Finally, it also sets the level of Impôts duties for 2020.  I move the principles.

The Bailiff:

Are the principles seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on the principles?  Those in favour of adopting the principles, kindly show.  Those against?  The principles are adopted.  This is a matter that does not get referred to Scrutiny, so we move now to Second Reading, Minister.

3.2Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I would like to propose, if I may, Articles 1 to 11, then Articles 13 and 14, then Articles 16 to 25.  I would then like to propose Articles 31, where Members may need to declare interests in the housing trusts listed in that Article, then Articles 32 to 34.  I would then like to propose Articles 35 to 38 and then Articles 39 to 43.

The Bailiff:

Well, so which are you proposing first, then, Minister?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Can I start first with proposing Articles 1 to 11?

The Bailiff:

Articles 1 to 11, are those seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on Articles 1 to 11?  Those in favour of adopting Articles 1 to 11, kindly show.  Those against?  Those Articles are adopted.  Which is the next Article you wish to ...

3.3Deputy S.J. Pinel:

The next Article, we have agreed not to propose Article 12, which will be re-presented to the Assembly at a later date, as I mentioned beforehand, once Scrutiny has had time to consider it.  So, Articles 13 and 14, if I may propose those.

The Bailiff:

Are Articles 13 and 14 seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on Articles 13 and 14?  Those Members in favour of adopting Articles 13 and 14, kindly show.  Those against?  They are adopted.  Where do you go next, Minister?

3.4Deputy S.J. Pinel:

We have agreed, as aforementioned, not to propose Article 15, which will be re-presented to the Assembly in the form of an Amendment law at a later date, again, once the Scrutiny Panel have had time to consider it.  So, I would like to propose Articles 16 to 25.

The Bailiff:

Are they seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on Articles 16 to 25? 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will just declare a quick interest, which I think is Article 21 in that, if I have got my right Article, that refers to a housing trust of which I am a trustee.  There is no pecuniary interest, but I do declare it on the basis that I act in an honorary capacity.

The Bailiff:

Very well, yes.  Does any other Member wish to speak on Articles 16 to 25?  I call on the Minister to respond.

3.5Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I thank the Chief Minister for his declaration.  I propose Articles 16 to 25.

The Bailiff:

Those in favour of adopting Articles 16 to 25, kindly show.  Those against?  So Members are clear, I am taking a slight inclination forward, which almost amounts to standing up, as an indication of consent at the moment.  It would be easier if Members did fully stand up to be completely sure about the whole ... which are the next ones you wish to propose?

3.6Deputy S.J. Pinel:

We have agreed not to propose Articles 26 to 30 to allow the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel time to consider, so I will propose Article 31, please.

The Bailiff:

Is Article 31 seconded?  [Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak on Article 31?  Those Members in favour of adopting ...

Male Speaker:

Could we have the appel, please?

The Bailiff:

That almost caused real injury, Connétable, but the appel is called for.  I invite Members to return to their seats and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 45

 

CONTRE: 0

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

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 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 S.J. Pinel:

Next may I propose Articles 35 to 38, please?

The Bailiff:

Articles 35 to 38.  Are those seconded?  [Seconded]  Yes, we have done 31, are you not proposing 32 to 34, Minister?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I beg your pardon; did I miss out 32 to 34?

The Bailiff:

Yes.  We have just passed 31.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

It is very confusing at this time of day.

The Bailiff:

Minister, are there any more between 31 that you are leaving out, that you are not moving?  Because, if not, there is nothing in principle to stop you proposing the rest en bloc[Approbation]  It is only if there are some that you have yet to leave out, as it were, that we need to take them in sections.

3.7Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I could propose them en bloc, thank you.

The Bailiff:

Are they seconded en bloc[Seconded]  Does any Member wish to speak to the rest of the Articles?  All those in favour of adopting the remainder of the Articles, kindly show.  Thank you very much indeed.  Those against?  The rest of the Articles are adopted.  Do you move the matter in Third Reading, Minister?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, please.

The Bailiff:

Is it seconded in Third Reading?  [Seconded]  Yes, there is a slight alteration, is there not, to the final Article, because the final Article indicates that you are bringing into effect Articles that you have not proposed in Article 43(3).  That can be amended as a natural consequential Amendment under the slip rule, presumably you would like that to be done?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, please.

The Bailiff:

Very well.  Does any Member wish to speak in Third Reading?  Yes, Deputy Ward.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

I may be wrong, Article 16 says to take out one per cent increase in the long-term care contributions, did we not say it would be 0.5 per cent?

The Bailiff:

Article 16 was one of the ones not moved, Deputy, so that is not part of the Article.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Forgive me, it has been a long week.  Thank you.

The Bailiff:

It has indeed, I had to be told.  Yes, I beg your pardon, 16 to 25 was moved, but it was moved as amended, yes.  You are right in saying it has been a long week.  Very well, the appel is called for in Third Reading.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 46

 

CONTRE: 0

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

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 of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. 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)

 

 

 

 

 

4.Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law 201- (P.109/2019)

The Bailiff:

There will now be circulated the Acte Opératoire to be passed bringing the Taxation draft into immediate effect.  Does anyone not have a copy of the Acte Opératoire?  In accordance with Standing Order 80A(5) there is an Acte Opératoire that will bring the Draft Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law into immediate effect and I ask the Greffier to read the citation.

The Greffier of the States:

An Act declaring that the Finance (2020 Budget) (Jersey) Law 201- has immediate effect.  The States makes this Act at Article 12 of the Public Finances (Jersey) Law 2019.

4.1Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

May I propose that the Assembly accepts this draft Acte Opératoire?

The Bailiff:

Is it seconded?  [Seconded]  There is no debate on an Acte Opératoire, so those Members in favour of adopting the Act kindly show.  Those against?  With confidence, I can say that the Acte Opératoire is adopted.  [Laughter]  Deputy Tadier, I think you indicated you are not proceeding on this occasion with your Guidelines for busking in Jersey and that that will take place at the next time?

Deputy M. Tadier:

Yes, Sir.

The Bailiff:

Thank you very much, indeed.  In which case, I call on the Chair of P.P.C. (Privileges and Procedures Committee) to propose the arrangements for public business for future meetings.  Deputy.

 

ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

5.Deputy R. Labey (Chairman, Privileges and Procedures Committee):

Apart from Deputy Tadiers Buskers moving to next week, there are no changes to the Order Paper, as advertised in the Consolidated Order Paper.  It is possible that we could do it in a day, whether we will is quite another matter and beyond my control, but we could possibly get it through in a day.  With that, I propose the arrangement of public business.

The Bailiff:

Do Members agree to the arrangement of public business as proposed by the Chairman of P.P.C.?  Very well, that concludes ...

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

If I may very quickly say a big thank you to you - I do not know if this is appropriate, or not - but I would like to thank you for getting us through the past week in your first sitting in your Government Plan and to the Greffiers staff, who have somehow managed to lodge all our written questions today as well as be here.  So I know we thank Scrutiny, thank you, Sir, thank you, Greffier, too.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

Thank you very much, indeed, Deputy.  That is very kind and most appreciated.  Very well, the States stands adjourned until 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday, 10th December 2019.

ADJOURNMENT

[17:58]

 

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