Hansard 07/06/2018

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

THURSDAY, 7th JUNE 2018

 

PERSONAL STATEMENT

1.Personal statement by Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré regarding Reform Jersey agreement

1.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS, COMMITTEES AND PANELS

Selection of Ministers

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

2.The Minister for External Relations

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

2.1Senator I.J. Gorst:

2.1.1Deputy M. Tadier:

2.1.2Deputy R. Ward of St. Helier:

2.1.3Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

2.1.4Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

2.1.5Senator S.C. Ferguson:

2.1.6Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

2.1.7Deputy C.F. Labey of Grouville:

2.1.8Senator K.L. Moore:

2.1.9Connétable D.W. Mezbourian of St. Lawrence.

2.1.10Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

2.1.11Connétable R.A. Buchanan of St. Ouen:

2.1.12The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

3.The Minister for Treasury and Resources:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

3.1Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement:

3.1.1Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

3.1.2Deputy M. Tadier:

3.1.3Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.1.4Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.1.5The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

3.1.6Senator K.L. Moore:

3.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

3.1.8Deputy D. Johnson of St. Mary:

3.1.9Deputy R. Ward:

3.1.10Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

3.1.11Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.1.12Deputy M. Tadier:

3.1.13Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.1.14The Connétable of St. Ouen:

3.1.15Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.1.16Deputy M. Tadier:

3.1.17Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

3.1.18Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.1.19Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.1.20Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.1.21Deputy M. Tadier:

4.The Minister for Education

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

4.1Senator T.A. Vallois:

4.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

4.1.2Deputy M. Tadier:

4.1.3Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

4.1.4Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

4.1.5Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

4.1.6Deputy R. Ward:

4.1.7Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

4.1.8Deputy G.P. Southern:

4.1.9Deputy M.R. Higgins:

4.1.10Connétable P.B. Le Sueur of Trinity:

4.1.11Deputy K.F. Morel:

4.1.12Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

4.1.13Deputy J.H. Perchard:

5.The Minister for Health and Social Services

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

The Deputy of St. Mary:

5.1Senator S.C. Ferguson:

5.1.1The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

5.1.2Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

5.1.3Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:

5.1.4Senator S.Y. Mézec:

5.1.5Deputy R. Ward:

5.1.6Deputy K.F. Morel:

5.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

5.1.8Senator S.W. Pallett:

5.1.9Deputy M.R. Higgins:

5.1.10Deputy G.P. Southern:

5.1.11Senator K.L. Moore:

5.1.12Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

5.1.13Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

5.2Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen:

5.2.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

5.2.2The Deputy of Grouville:

5.2.3The Connétable of St. Brelade:

5.2.4Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

5.2.5Deputy L.B. Ash of St. Clement:

5.2.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

5.2.7Deputy R. Ward:

5.2.8Senator S.W. Pallett:

5.2.9Deputy M. Tadier:

5.2.10The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

5.2.11Deputy K.F. Morel:

5.2.12The Deputy of St. Peter:

5.2.13Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

5.2.14Deputy R.J. Rondel of St. Helier:

6.The Minister for Social Security

Deputy J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.1Deputy J.A. Martin:

6.1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

6.1.2The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

6.1.3Deputy M. Tadier:

6.1.4Deputy J.M. Maçon:

6.1.5The Connétable of St. Helier:

6.1.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

6.1.7Deputy R. Ward:

6.1.8Deputy G.P. Southern:

6.1.9Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier:

6.1.10Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

6.1.11Deputy J.H. Young:

6.1.12Deputy K.F. Morel:

6.1.13Deputy M.R. Higgins:

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

7.The Minister for Infrastructure

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Senator K.L. Moore:

7.1Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour:

7.1.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

7.1.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

7.1.3Deputy M. Tadier:

7.1.4Deputy M.R. Higgins:

7.1.5The Connétable of St. Brelade:

7.1.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

7.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

7.1.8Senator K.L. Moore:

7.1.9Deputy J.H. Young:

7.1.10Connétable J. Le Bailly of St. Mary:

7.1.11Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

7.1.12Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

7.1.13The Deputy of St. Mary:

7.1.14The Deputy of St. Peter:

7.1.15The Deputy of Grouville:

7.1.16Senator S.C. Ferguson:

7.1.17Senator K.L. Moore:

7.1.18The Connétable of St. Helier:

7.1.19Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat of St. Helier:

7.1.20Senator L.J. Farnham:

7.2Senator S.W. Pallett:

7.2.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

7.2.2Deputy M. Tadier:

7.2.3Deputy J.H. Young:

7.2.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

7.2.5Deputy R. Ward:

7.2.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

7.2.7The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

7.2.8The Connétable of St. Brelade:

7.2.9The Constable of St. Helier:

7.2.10Senator J.A.N Le Fondré:

8.The Minister for the Environment

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

The Constable of Grouville:

8.1Deputy J.H. Young:

8.1.1Deputy M. Tadier:

8.1.2The Connétable of Grouville:

8.1.3The Connétable of St. Helier:

8.1.4Deputy R. Labey:

8.1.5Deputy R. Ward:

8.1.6Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

8.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

8.1.8Senator S.C. Ferguson:

8.1.9The Deputy of St. Mary:

8.1.10Deputy J.H. Perchard:

8.1.11The Connétable of St. Brelade:

8.1.12The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

8.1.13The Connétable of St. Helier:

8.1.14Deputy M. Tadier:

8.1.15The Deputy of Grouville:

8.1.16The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

8.2The Deputy of St. Martin:

8.2.1The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

8.2.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

8.2.3Senator S.C. Ferguson:

8.2.4The Connétable of St. Helier:

8.2.5The Connétable of St. Peter:

8.2.6The Deputy of Grouville:

8.2.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

8.2.8Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

8.2.9The Deputy of St. Peter:

8.2.10The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

8.2.11The Connétable of St. Helier:

9.The Minister for Economic Development, Sport and Culture

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

9.1Senator L.J. Farnham:

9.1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

9.1.2Deputy M. Tadier:

9.1.3The Connétable of St. Peter:

9.1.4The Connétable of St. Brelade:

9.1.5Deputy R. Labey:

9.1.6Senator S.C. Ferguson:

9.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

9.1.8The Deputy of St. Mary:

9.1.9Deputy J.M. Maçon:

9.1.10The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

9.1.11Deputy J.H. Perchard:

9.1.12Deputy R. Ward:

9.1.13Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

9.1.14Deputy G.P. Southern:

9.1.15The Connétable of St. Ouen:

10.The Minister for Housing

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

10.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

10.1.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

10.1.2Deputy J.H. Perchard:

10.1.3Senator K.L. Moore:

10.1.4Deputy R. Ward:

10.1.5Deputy G.P. Southern:

10.1.6Deputy K.F. Morel:

10.1.7Senator L.J. Farnham:

10.1.8Deputy J.H. Young:

10.1.9Deputy M. Tadier:

10.1.10The Connétable of St. Ouen:

10.1.11The Deputy of St. Peter:

10.1.12Senator K.L. Moore:

10.1.13Senator K.L. Moore:

11.The Minister for Home Affairs

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

11.1Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement:

11.1.1The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

11.1.2Deputy M.R. Higgins:

11.1.3The Deputy of Grouville:

11.1.4The Connétable of St. Brelade:

11.1.5Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

11.1.6Senator S.Y. Mézec:

11.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

11.1.8Deputy K.C. Lewis:

11.1.9Deputy K.F. Morel:

11.1.10Deputy M.R. Higgins:

11.1.11The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

11.1.12Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

11.1.13Senator L.J. Farnham:

ADJOURNMENT


[9:32]

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

The Bailiff:

I invite Senator Le Fondré to make a personal statement.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

1.Personal statement by Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré regarding Reform Jersey agreement

1.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Following my recent election as Chief Minister on 12th June by this Assembly there have been a number of expressions of concern by some Members that in my answer to a question by Deputy Higgins about which groups and individuals I had had talks with and which positions had been promised, I did not make clear that I had been in discussions with and reached an agreement with the Reform party.  While I felt I had answered the question concisely and in full, with the benefit of hindsight, I could have expanded the answer. However, I had interpreted the question as relating to ministerial positions and answered accordingly.  To those Members who felt misled, I would like to apologise and ensure them that this was not my intention.  [Approbation]

 

APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS, COMMITTEES AND PANELS

Selection of Ministers

The Bailiff:

The item of business on the agenda is the appointment of Ministers, and I invite the Chief Minister designate to read out his declaration; that is your explanatory note.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Do I read the whole lot, Sir?

The Bailiff:

Just the explanatory note, yes.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am intending to nominate Senator Vallois as my Deputy Chief Minister.  I also intend to create the role of a Minister for International Relations, to which I will nominate the Deputy of Grouville as Minister.  In the meantime, she will be an Assistant Chief Minister.  In addition, the Connétable of St. John and the Connétable of St. Ouen will also be appointed as Assistant Chief Ministers. I also intend to create the role of Minister for Children, to which I will intend to nominate Senator Mézec. At some point I will also be reviewing the political responsibilities for existing portfolios and assess whether those portfolios will be revised in light of strategic priorities and the changes to the civil service structureObviously, the list at present is as per set out in papers in front of Members.

The Bailiff:

I invite you to make your first nomination.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will just say a couple of words first.  In proposing my team I say to Members, first, thank you for your support to date.  This team is diverse in views but does contain a lot of experience.  I believe it is capable of working well together and will undoubtedly have some robust discussions.  I am reminding Members that once the process is over the intention will be to create policy development boards on certain key areas, which I hope will allow non-Executive Members to have greater involvement in the development of policy.  I would also note it is my intention to invite all Members individually to come and have a chat to discuss any areas of interest or concern over the next few weeks. 

 

2.The Minister for External Relations

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

So my first nomination is for Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst.  I am delighted to nominate him and I am delighted he has agreed to serve the Island in this role.

The Bailiff:

Seconded?  [Seconded] Are there any other nominations.  Very well, then Senator Gorst, can I invite you to speak for, in accordance with Standing Orders, up to 10 minutes.

2.1Senator I.J. Gorst:

The confident, robust, and successful representation of Jersey on the international stage has never been more important than it is now.  Our Island faces real risks in the form of Brexit, in growing scrutiny from the European Union and in challenges to our constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom.  We cannot and must not simply take a reactive position and allow Jersey to bow to these external pressures.  The continued success of our financial services sector, of our agriculture and fisheries industry, the diversification of our economy, and our ability to pursue global partnerships, all rely on the strength of our international standing. Of course, we are not alone in facing such risks.  The United Kingdom Government is weathering internal disputes over the direction of Brexit and the choices that they will make in their future relationship with the E.U. (European Union).  Europe is facing its own internal crises with monumental shifts in the last week in the makeup of the Spanish and the Italian Governments.  This role requires a rapid assimilation of knowledge and a sound judgment of how to mitigate those risks.  The new Minister will need to hit the ground running to meet the pressing demands of a diary that requires immediate action with our partners in the United Kingdom and the European Union.  Over the coming 6 weeks that diary includes meetings with the United Kingdom Ministers, with European Commissioners, and with regional partners.  I believe that I have the necessary experience to meet that burden, to carry out those engagements, and to ensure the continuity of our Government’s relationships.  The role of Minister for External Relations requires a carefully balanced mixture of diplomacy, tact, and mettle.  The ability to build and sustain relationships at a personal level with political leaders and officials worldwide.  The success of those relationships is critical to the success of our Island as a whole.  In fact, I firmly believe that it is the quality of those relationships that will make the difference for us as a small country in the future between success and between failure.  Over the past 6 years I have worked to ensure that we have access to U.K. (United Kingdom) Ministers, parliamentarians, and officials with real influence on policy that will affect our Island.  I have made our voice heard in Westminster, in Whitehall, in Downing Street, and Brussels, as I said on Monday. I have met with successive Ministers within the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Exiting the European Union.  I have formed enduring and productive alliances with the chief ministers of the Crown Dependencies and the premiers and chiefs of the Overseas Territories.  I have established a rapport with the new Taoiseach, the First Minister of Scotland, and the outgoing First Minister of Wales, together with a Northern Ireland Executive, through the British-Irish Council.  I do not, as I have said, underestimate the value of those relationships as the United Kingdom takes the momentous step to leave the European Union.

[9:45]

Brexit represents the biggest and most fundamental challenge that our Island has faced in a generation.  We will see significant volumes of secondary legislation being brought to this Assembly in short order, to ensure the Island can pursue its objectives in light of the new relationship between the U.K. and the E.U.  That legislation is critical to the continued operation, as I have said, of our agriculture and financial services industry, as well as to ensuring our compliance with agreed standards on trade and communications.  As Minister, I will commit to work closely with Scrutiny to ensure the smooth passage of that legislation and to respond appropriately to the concerns of Members of this Assembly. Brexit, of course, also has the potential to see significant practical impact on Islanders’ lives, especially for residents who have moved here from the European Union.  I am committed to minimising that impact and ensuring that we continue to enjoy the important benefit those Islanders make to our Island community.  To achieve that, we need to ensure that Jersey’s interests continue being heard in Whitehall and are ultimately heard in the room where the Brexit negotiations take place.  I am equally committed of course to ensuring that we do not focus only on the negative aspects of Brexit but that we take advantage of the opportunities that it offers also.  For the first time, within the States of Jersey, we have a global markets team and a global market strategy.  That was created and supported under my leadership.  I was proud also to be the first Chief Minister to visit Africa, to see the important work of Jersey Overseas Aid and to build the connections which will underpin future international agreements and M.O.U.s (memorandums of understanding).  I will ensure that we vigorously pursue that strategy that will see Jersey develop the economic, political, and cultural links with global partners bringing increased value to our community. We also have the opportunity to forge even closer relations with our European neighbours, especially in France.  With the loss of the United Kingdom’s influence in Brussels these alliances will be essential to our interaction with the European Union.  We all know the Code of Conduct Group on business taxation continues to review the tax structure of over 90 global jurisdictions.  While Jersey was found to be compliant in 2017 we cannot, and I will not, be complacent.  The Government has made a commitment to address the concerns of the Code Group and I will work to continue to see that those commitments are honoured.  We must also be alive to the risks to our most important and enduring relationship, that with the United Kingdom.  I am certain that we will continue to see calls from Back-Benchers to legislate directly for the Island and to implement a public register of beneficial ownership, as we have seen with the Overseas Territories.  I have no qualms about robustly defending our constitutional sovereignty.  I will work to ensure that the ability to legislate for matters in our domestic competency and granted by the Crown remains the right of this Assembly.  During my time in office I have worked closely with officials, within both the Ministry of External Relations and Financial Services Unit, and I understand the symbiotic relationship between our financial services industry, our digital future, and our international standing.  They - as I said on Monday - sought my guidance on a daily basis, as Chief Minister, while I was at the same time balancing my responsibilities for domestic matters.  As Minister for External Relations I will be able to devote my full time and attention to ensuring that our Island’s interests are represented worldwide.  I am fully aware of the risks that face our Island if we do not engage and do not prepare for the changing dynamic of global politics.  There are opportunities, increasing trade, increasing productivity, and increasing benefits for all Islanders.  I believe I have the skills and resilience to represent Jersey.  I am ready to take on this important role.  I welcome the opportunity to continue to serve my Island.  The decisions that we make on these international matters will be fundamental to the future of our children and our grandchildren.  As I said on Monday, I will always put our children first.  Thank you.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

There are now 20 minutes allowed for question time.  I call upon Deputy Tadier.

2.1.1Deputy M. Tadier:

The candidate’s predecessor always paid special attention, whether it was in his role as a Bailiff or Minister for External Relations, for the local communities that were present in Jersey, in particular, Polish, Portuguese and Romanian.  Does the Minister accept that obviously taken as read is that the economic role that he plays, in relation with other countries, is of utmost importance?  Will he also confirm that he wants to see greater cultural ties reinforced with all of the aforementioned but, particularly, with our closest neighbours, France, to make sure that we have strong economic, cultural, and environmental links with our closest neighbours geographically and socially?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I do.  I would like to pay tribute to former Senator Sir Philip Bailhache.  He and I did not always agree but I believe that when we put our minds to the issues that were facing our community we ultimately ended in a good place.  We were of course supported in lots of those decisions by former Senator Ozouf as well.  I always want to place tribute, particularly in light of the Deputy’s question, to the Constable of St. Helier.  He has been absolutely fundamental in welcoming other communities to our community, providing space at the Town Hall, being a constant attender at events on their national day; Sir, as have you.  I will continue to do so in my role, if Members elect me today, as Minister for External Relations.  There will of course also be a role for the Chief Minister designate, who will become the Chief Minister later this week, to take up that role.  The relationship with France is critical.  We have an excellent combined Channel Islands office now in Caen.  They are doing first-class work.  I have met with previously Ministers and politicians in Paris and I expect to continue to do that work, despite the quality of my French.  So I will be relying on other Members also to accompany me on those trips.

2.1.2Deputy R. Ward of St. Helier:

I would like to ask the Senator how you ensure that human rights are at the top of the agenda when dealing with future trade agreements.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Human rights have always been on the agenda.  I refer the Deputy to the common policy for external relations of the Council of Ministers.  That is a policy which will need to be reviewed again by the incoming Council of Ministers.  I have not yet had time to discuss that with the Chief Minister designate.  But I do not see for a minute that there will be any change to that policy and the place that human rights have within that policy.  We share in common, with the United Kingdom, with the U.S.A. (United States of America) and many other large nations with regard to the approach of human rights.  These are issues, which on my previous trips I have discussed with Her Majesty’s representatives in the country, and I see no reason to change that approach.

2.1.3Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

The Senator used the word “international” several times in his speech.  Could he clarify, for the benefit of Members and the public, how he sees the difference between his post and the post of Minister for International Relations?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I think it would be fair to say that it is a work in progress.  I have had some initial discussions with the Chief Minister designate.  International aid is an important part of international engagement.  I pay tribute to the Deputy of Grouville who, with her colleagues on the Commission, with the new chief officer there, have transformed the way that we, as an Island, are getting value out of our aid budget.  I see no problem whatsoever with close working in both regards.  Trade talks, political, governmental conversations, talking about Jersey’s culture, heritage, history, together with the work that we do with our aid budget, are absolutely aligned.  I see those two offices working very closely together and I envisage that should this Assembly elect the Deputy of Grouville to that particular office, which it is the Chief Minister designate’s intention to do so, that there will be a lot of joint working and joint trips.

2.1.4Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

Does the Senator agree that there is tremendous potential for making links with other educational authorities around the world and bringing back ideas and insight to feed into whoever the new Minister for Education is going to be, to the work there?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

A little bit difficult for me questions like this, as you will appreciate.  I could just simply say I refer the Deputy to a document that I produced while I was Chief Minister and the work that was undertaken while I was Chief Minister. I have not changed my mind about the critical importance of education links around the globe.  I supported them when I was Chief Minister.  I visited a number of schools, particularly in the Far East and in the Middle East.  We now see Jersey schools building on those links, starting to teach Mandarin and Chinese.  We see exchange of teachers.  We see exchange of students.  I was in London when the President of China marked the creation of the 1,000th - those who know about China will know how auspicious, in their view, that number is -Confucian classroom in Jersey.  I am absolutely supportive.  Understanding Education, respect goes also a long way to dealing with some of the issues that I think a former question was referring to about human rights and democracy and freedom.

The Bailiff:

Senator, as difficult as it is to deal with these questions quickly; just to let you know there are 5 questions yet to come and we have just over 10 minutes.

2.1.5Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Given the problems that the U.K. are having over the Brexit debates and negotiations at the moment, do we need to develop a Plan B for Jersey?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

We know it is a truism that everyone thinks that there should be a Plan B.  I am not a great believer in such fatalistic views of the world.  I believe that the plan that we have got in place is the best plan for Jersey.  Will that plan change and evolve in response to what happens in the United Kingdom and in the E.U.?  Of course it will.  I am an optimist.  I believe we have put ourselves in the very best position to navigate Jersey well.  But I am also a realist and I know that there are a number of major challenges around Brexit, around technical details, around Customs Union, and around other areas, which are fundamental to our economy.  So will we have to navigate well?  Will we have to put a little hand on the tiller to slightly change direction here and there?  Yes, we will.  But as far as I am concerned, our priority is to maintain our constitutional position and the rights and freedoms that have made us the Island, the country that we are today, and that will be our top and my, and I hope every Member’s, top priority throughout this negotiation.

[10:00]

2.1.6Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

Could the Minister for External Relations provide some additional information to Members now on the substance test and the requirement from the European Union bodies on that and what sort of a task that is going to be? It is a major requirement they are seeking and I would like to know how we are going to try to meet that test.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I think you are trying to limit me to 2 minutes per question. 

The Bailiff:

Yes. 

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I could simply answer that question, the Deputy will not like it, by saying I am not in a position to provide further information this morning.  We have done a lot of work on it.  I believe that from our conversations with officials in Brussels, with officials in the U.K., we are in a very, very good place.  But as I have said, with regard to this issue previously, that while there is a technical answer - and there are technical answers to this question - there is a large dose of politics involved in this and that will be the part which is most difficult to navigate. While we keep Brussels focused on the technical elements then we will do well.  If it does not remain focused on those… and we are working in partnership with the international bodies like F.A.T.F. (Financial Action Task Force) as well, and the O.E.C.D. (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), to help the focus remain on the technical issues, then we will navigate it successfully.

2.1.7Deputy C.F. Labey of Grouville:

In a similar vein to the Constable of St. Helier’s question.  I too would like to know how the External Relations Ministry, International Relations, and constitution, and Home Affairs, how he sees them dovetailing into one another?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

While I am still Chief Minister in name largely only, until I hand over the weight of responsibility formally to the Chief Minister designate at some point tomorrow, then it should not be for me to answer questions which rightly will fall to the new Chief Minister to answer.  There is a very important relationship between External Relations, the new International role, and constitutional matters.  I have spoken to officials about how that might work.  But I imagine, in the spirit of co-operation, that the Chief Minister designate has spoken about, that those issues will be resolved round the Council of Ministers’ table, with the new legal structure, with all Ministers having their input and deciding on a relationship, and which bits fit where in the best interests of Jersey.  But they cannot be simply divided.  They all work together so it will be about finding a way of working together for Jersey’s best interest.

2.1.8Senator K.L. Moore:

What does the Senator consider to be his first priority in terms of maintaining and strengthening the Island’s position as an international finance centre?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

International finance companies do not like uncertainty.  They do not like change, if we are honest.  We have, in this Assembly, for all of the reasons that Members know, voted for change.  I make no comment on that.  This is a democratically elected Parliament making democratic decisions.  One of the first jobs therefore of the Minister for External Relations, and in regard to financial services, is to talk to those industries and say that I believe and I continue to believe that with the new Council of Ministers, which we will have by the end of tomorrow at the latest, one hopes, that Jersey is still the right place to do business.  It is still the right place to invest in.  It is still the right place to employ in.  We will continue to meet relevant international standards.  We have got policies.  We have got strategies that they can have confidence in and that we can navigate the future well.  That will be priority for this coming week and has already started, as I meet and talk to people, up and down King and Queen Street. The overriding priority, I think, as the Senator knows, is navigating Brexit while implementing the McKinsey strategic review, which talked about the importance of financial services working together with digital to ensure a strong future.  They are the priorities.

2.1.9Connétable D.W. Mezbourian of St. Lawrence.

What view does the Senator take in developing links with Guernsey, particularly in view of Brexit?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

The Connétable, I hope, will know that the Chief Minister designate has already had a conversation with the Chief Minister of Guernsey.  I have a first-class relationship with both the Chief Minister of Guernsey, the Foreign Relations Minister of Guernsey and the Minister responsible for financial services, having worked with all 3 of them while they were at various times Chief Ministers of Guernsey.  One of the last things that I ... well, not quite the last thing, but a few months ago, while I was still Chief Minister, we set up a board of officers, we have appointed a senior officer in Jersey, to be responsible for working together with our Guernsey colleagues, and that is starting to bear fruit.  I fully expect the Chief Minister designate to continue with that work and to see efficiencies and much greater working into the future.  When it comes to Brexit, it is not just Guernsey but it is also the Isle of Man.  The U.K. Government and the European Union want to deal with one of us or one view which is common to all 3 of us, which is going to be difficult because of the different constitutional relationship with the Isle of Man, because they only, let us be honest, have the capacity and the facility to deal with one combined view.  That is why a continuing alliance is fundamental again, to a good outcome.

2.1.10Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

You obviously missed my early signal that I wished to ask a question.  The question is: can the Minister for External Relations describe what the position is on passporting rights for local financial services companies and what he sees as the way forward?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

The Deputy has asked me that question previously, and I have got no change to the answer that I gave to him with regard to those companies that require passporting with regards to the private placement regime, for the funds regime, with regard to A.I.F.M.D. (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive) compliance that we already have, which is now being blocked because of political moves, but we still have the private placement regime.  There is no indication that that will change at this time.

2.1.11Connétable R.A. Buchanan of St. Ouen:

I wonder if the Senator could just outline what role he sees Jersey Finance playing in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I know the Constable knows that Brexit negotiations are government to government negotiations, that is the United Kingdom Government and the other 27 member governments of the European Union.  However, he will also, I think, be aware of the role that Jersey Finance plays on CityU.K. and the role that CityU.K. provide in a think tank approach, and providing information to the United Kingdom Government to support the arguments that they are making in Brussels, as they seek to leave the European Union.

2.1.12The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

Independence: yes or no?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

That question is not the right question.  [Laughter] 

The Bailiff:

That was a brilliant performance, Senator.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

What do they say, Sir?  Timing is everything.

The Bailiff:

I am sorry, there is one minute to go, the Greffier is telling me.  [Laughter]

Senator I.J. Gorst:

It being the wrong question, trying to answer it in one minute is absolutely impossible.  The right question I think is: am I ... will the next Council of Ministers, I cannot speak for them because they are not in place yet, I am absolutely 100 per cent committed to ensuring our constitutional position, ensuring our rights and privileges into the future.  It has served our Island well for over 800 years.  I see no reason to rush headlong into a different constitutional relationship.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

That brings questions to Senator Gorst to an end and as there are no other nominations I ...

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I wonder if you could indulge me with the appel; or is that not possible?

The Bailiff:

I do not think it is possible, is it?  You are appointed already, so congratulations.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

In that case, I thank Members for their overwhelming support.  I just wish it had been a little earlier in the week.

Deputy M. Tadier

Can I raise a point, I do not know if it is a point of order but it is something that you might wish to direct on P.P.C. (Privileges and Procedures Committee)?  The fact that the candidates who are unopposed have to give a speech is obviously designed for the benefit of knowing what the policies are rather than endorsing the candidacy, and with that in mind it may be worth the future P.P.C. chairperson to consider whether we appoint them as elected once they have not been unopposed and then they simply give a speech and we can refer to them as the Minister in that regard.  Because otherwise if we do have a vote of course it is possible to vote against the candidate and then that would make a nonsense of the system.

The Bailiff:

Whoever is going to be chairman of P.P.C. has probably heard what you said and you can always write to them and take that up.  Senator Le Fondré, can I invite you for your next nomination?

 

3.The Minister for Treasury and Resources:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

In doing so I obviously congratulate Senator Gorst for becoming the next Minister for External Relations or designate or however it goes.  I shall obviously disagree with one or 2 comments he made; nothing major.  I am delighted to nominate Deputy Pinel as Minister for Treasury and Resources.  She comes with extensive experience as the current Minister for Social Security and therefore follows an eminent path of former Ministers for Social Security into Treasury.

The Bailiff:

Is the nomination seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?

3.1Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement:

Some might say this change is swapping one poisoned chalice for another, however I have always enjoyed a challenge.  I was honoured when the new Chief Minister offered me the position of Minister for Treasury and Resources and the opportunity to serve our Island in this important capacity. In my election campaign, I used the mantra of “A, B, C”, affordability, balance, and common sense, all of which have been applied during my term as Minister for Social Security, and which can be applied equally to the role of Minister for Treasury and Resources.  I have a proven track record of prudent savings, targeted benefits, implementing complicated legislation, including all of the various laws on discrimination, and working within a budget.  We should be very proud of our Island.  Jersey is safe, stable, and secure, with a bank balance and economy that is the envy of many jurisdictions.  This, by no means, allows room for complacency.  There are many big issues to tackle. Brexit, which along with many other external relations matters, will now be in the capable hands of Senator Gorst and will undoubtedly bring many challenges to the future prosperity of our Island.  I would expect all Ministers, indeed the whole States Assembly, to support arguments that will protect our future and not become divided within ourselves.  As we are seeing in the U.K., if there is not consensus and agreement within Government - and indeed with Guernsey in our case - then we can expect to be taken to the lowest common denominator.  There is also a considerable long-term effect of the ageing demographics.

[10:15]

While it is inspiring that people are living and working for longer the pension, long-term care, and health service all need to be addressed, both in capacity and financial sustainability.  The processes of reviews and consultations are often perceived to be overused but are very necessary. We live in a democracy and people need to be consulted and reviews are essential to confirm that updated and correct policies are being pursued that will, as far as possible, meet the needs of the Island and be supported by Islanders.  A 3-year review of social security pensions and contributions concludes this year. A review of taxation is ongoing, which will inform future decisions on Social Security issues and taxation in Jersey.  The interaction between these 2 reviews will be important.  The future vision for taxation should be based on the principles of tax being low, broad, simple, and fair.  Other issues include hospital funding and maintaining our currently highly regarded position in an increasingly financially competitive world.  The shareholder function also needs to be reviewed.  All need to be addressed by a competent and coherent government that communicates with the public.  The capital expenditure programme for at least the next 4 years needs to be carefully put together, not least the funding of the new hospital.  Certainly the largest single capital investment our Island has ever made and, as importantly, the value for money it will deliver.  I understand that the Chief Minister will undertake a review of the proposed sites to ensure the best hospital for the best value for money hopefully with the minimum additional delay.  More investment in health and education is already being put in place and both will have significant future budget requirements, which need to be addressed, including their capital investment programmes.  As Assistant Minister for Social Security, I spent 3 years on the Treasury Advisory Panel, which advises on finance and investments of the Island.  As part of the Council of Ministers I have been involved with financial, fiscal and strategy policies.  As Minister for Social Security, I have been involved with the Social Security Reserve Fund, the States Pension Fund, now standing at £1.8 billion, the Health Insurance Fund at £83 million, and the Social Security budget of £369 million, therefore I have already been responsible for funds and budgets, which total well over £2 billion.  I look forward to the restructuring of the States departments and the significant changes and benefits, including the savings and greater efficiency that are expected, in order to ensure better quality of services for the public.  I welcome the very recent proposals by the States Chief Executive Officer to strengthen financial management, improve corporate performance and accountability, and to drive a more commercial approach that delivers best value for money from suppliers.  These include plans to change the way public finances are managed across the public sector and to modernise the way States handle taxpayers’ money.  I look forward to playing a full part in developing these plans.  In any budget, be it household, commercial or governmental, balancing the books is key, with enormous regard to long-term sustainability.  The application of common sense, in my view, is vital.  Finally, I would like publicly to give enormous thanks to the team at Social Security - and I do mean “team”, in every sense of the word - for their advice, support and friendship.  [Approbation]  Thank you.  I promise to give the same sustained and unstinting level of commitment to Treasury as I have given to Social Security.  I look forward to the challenge that it will undoubtedly propose.  Thank you.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

We now have 20 minutes of questions.

3.1.1Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

I would like to congratulate the former Minister for Social Security in her new role and particularly that she will have had an intimate knowledge of the Social Security finances.  Is she able to share any thoughts with us of how the long-term needs of our health service can be funded sustainably?  In particular, reference to achieving greater emphasis on primary health care.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

The long-term needs of the healthcare system, which I addressed in my speech, are absolutely paramount with an ageing demographic.  We put in place a long-term care scheme, which again is constantly being reviewed.  It came into place in 2014.  The contributions to the long-term care charge have been set at 1 per cent for the time being, but will inevitably have to increase because the books just about balance at the moment on long-term care, and of course the primary care scheme, which the Deputy referred to, the report on that I appreciate is long overdue and Health and Social Security are working together to produce that.

3.1.2Deputy M. Tadier:

The candidate talked about taxes being low, broad, simple, and fair.  If it was the case that one of those criterion was incompatible with the other 3, which would be the first casualty go out of low, broad, simple, and fair?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

The Deputy always provides a very good question.  I think that has been the terminology attached to tax for a very long time.  I think the whole review of the taxation system, which is underway and needs to be done, will provide the answer for that.  But I cannot say which one would go at this present time.

3.1.3Deputy G.P. Southern:

In light of the growing ageing demographic, does the Minister not consider that the era of low tax and low spend is inevitably over?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think the tax system, as I have said, is low, broad, simple, and fair, and low is relative of course for other jurisdictions. It needs to be kept as low as possible in order to be competitive with other jurisdictions.

3.1.4Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Following on, on the discussion on tax.  What is the Minister’s view of waste charges, retail tax, health charges and G.S.T. (goods and services tax)?  Could she give us an indication of her views on each one of those taxes and whether she expects them to go up or remain the same?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

As the Deputy knows, the waste charges were dismissed in the previous Assembly and will have to be looked at again.  But one has to take into consideration, which was discussed, the effect on places like hospitality, for instance, which would bear an enormous brunt of waste charges, but it will come back to the new Assembly without doubt.  A health charge was also dismissed by the last Assembly, and I am sure that will come back again because health obviously is a very important part of our ageing demographics and needs to be looked at again.  I cannot quite remember what the other 2 [Aside] ... retail and G.S.T.  Both of which, of course, have caused problems; retail 20 per cent corporate taxation on profits over £500 million and I think that only applies, with my memory, to about 5 companies in Jersey.  That again has not been implemented to date although will be implemented on the profits derived from the 2018 returns.  G.S.T: always a thorny problem.  Again we have a very low rate of G.S.T. compared with other jurisdictions, and I think from a competitive point of view it is reasonable.  Also, I think it is a fair tax to apply because it is across the whole Island income.

3.1.5The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

Will the Minister commit to no further funding reductions for our emergency front line services?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

At this present time I have not even been elected so I cannot make a commitment but I would certainly welcome discussions, were I to be appointed Minister for Treasury and Resources, with the Connétable about the front line services and our front line services are held in very, very high esteem and I would not expect cuts to be made.  But at this stage I cannot commit to that.

3.1.6Senator K.L. Moore:

Given the departing Minister for Treasury and Resources’ comments about the need to look again at taxation, and the Deputy’s comments in relation to the previous answer about looking again at different charges, what other avenues does the Minister see to explore in her term of office?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

There are many avenues to explore.  As I have mentioned in a previous answer, there is obviously going to be results of the Social Security review as to whether contributions increase for the future.  There is also the possibility of the long-term care contributions to the charge increasing.  These are all well-known and have been within the public domain for a very long time.  I would hope that certainly there would be not a rise in income tax, as it stands at the moment, because we, as I said again earlier, need to remain in a competitive field with this.

3.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

Do you think G.S.T. on care services should continue?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Again, as I mentioned earlier, I think any change to G.S.T. has to be handled with extraordinary care.  On care services I think it has to remain as it is at the moment, the same as it does on food, but it is a very difficult ... what is a care service?  Like food, what is food?  It is a very difficult analysis to make.

3.1.8Deputy D. Johnson of St. Mary:

To a certain extent, the matter has already been raised, but can I refer again to the question of waste charges?  The Minister will recall that provision was made in the M.T.F.P. (Medium Term Financial Plan) for receipt of certain income from the proposals if implemented.  In the event they were not implemented the Minister for Infrastructure advised that that will be taken forward by Treasury in the future.  Could the candidate please advise whether that is her intention to do so?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Yes, it will be for the new Council of Ministers to certainly bring it back to the Assembly and discuss it but, as I mentioned in a previous answer, obviously the consideration of hospitality, who would bear the brunt of all of this, has got to be taken into consideration.

3.1.9Deputy R. Ward:

Can I ask the Deputy how you ensure that arm’s length companies help meet the Island’s strategic and social aims?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Sorry, could the Deputy describe exactly what he means by “arm’s length companies”?

Deputy R. Ward:

Such as Andium Homes, et cetera.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

That again, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, is all arm’s length companies - or shareholder companies, as I refer to them - will need to be reviewed and assessed with Andium Homes, States of Jersey Development Company, Jersey Telecom, just to name a few.  But we need to keep on top, certainly as Treasury, of what their shareholder dividends are, what they are producing for the Island and the, again, competition related matters.

3.1.10Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

I understand the need to comply with the Civil Aviation Authority but does the Deputy think £42 million minimum represents good value for what is effectively no more than a new arrivals hall?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Again, a bone of contention, which I understand.  Also from what I understand, that it is a vast sum of money but then a considerable amount of that is to deal with the asbestos contained within the arrivals hall and the disposal of that.  As for the £42 million, I have not yet had the chance to break down exactly where the entire amount is allocated.

3.1.11Deputy G.P. Southern:

I propose a similar question to the last one.  Is the age of austerity over; can we rejoice?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think Deputy, we should rejoice at being able to live in this Island, full stop.  [Approbation]

[10:30]

As for austerity, we have had to - as the Deputy will well know - make severe savings to various parts of the government in order to maintain a balanced budget, which is all important, as I mentioned in my speech.  I think the economy at the moment is certainly on the increase.  Construction has had the most amazing amount of uplift.  Hospitality is looking good.  So I would have thought that everything ... I would not say in the garden is rosy but certainly a vast improvement from where I was standing 3½ years ago.

3.1.12Deputy M. Tadier:

What does the candidate see as the role of the Minister for Treasury and Resources in promoting and encouraging the Jersey Electricity Company, in particular, to adopt a much more green approach in its energy sourcing for sustainable energy into the future?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Having been seated next to the Deputy of Grouville for 3½ years, I have become more aware of green issues and would encourage very much what you are describing; Jersey Electricity pursuing greener issues.  I think construction needs to as well.

3.1.13Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The Minister has mentioned “balanced budget”.  Can she clarify what she means by this?  Is she talking about our budget balancing yearly or annually or is she talking over the economic cycle?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

As the Deputy will know, there is a Budget produced every year so obviously it has to be balanced, in my view every year, and then when the next Medium Term Financial Plan is produced in 2019 that obviously will have to see expenditure matching the income that we receive.

3.1.14The Connétable of St. Ouen:

Since the introduction of Zero/Ten, the burden of taxation in this Island has fallen quite heavily on middle and lower income groups.  Does the Deputy see any merit in revisiting shifting some of that burden back to some of the corporate players in the Island?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

The Zero/Ten, as the Deputy will well know, is a very strong foundation of our economic success, inasmuch as it attracts so much business to the Island and I cannot see that that is likely to change in the foreseeable future.

3.1.15Deputy G.P. Southern:

Will the Minister for Treasury and Resources commit herself to examining the pledges made by Reform Jersey around taxation and changes to contribution levels in order to better assist and support our population?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

As the Deputy well knows, we are coming to the final stages of the review of pensions and contributions, so until that review and consultation is delivered, I cannot commit to pursuing anything, because we are waiting for that review.  The last review of contributions and pensions was 20 years ago, so it is well time to be having it now.  When it is produced, then there will be a greater understanding of where we lie with taxes and contributions.

3.1.16Deputy M. Tadier:

In the last Assembly, the public and industries in general seemed to reject the idea of indirect taxation as ways of funding new initiatives and general funding into the future.  Where does this candidate stand on stealth taxes versus direct taxation to fund things like health and waste charges?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I do not believe in stealth full stop.  I think one should be straightforward and transparent and people should know exactly where they stand when it comes to taxation.  As I said in my opening remarks, there is a review ongoing of the taxation system.  There will be a complete change.  The computer system is being renewed and when that comes in there will be a meeting of the minds with the tax system, along with the Social Security data, to provide better communication with the public.

3.1.17Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

Would the candidate give Members her views on whether she supports borrowing for expenditure or not?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I suspect by the question that the Connétable of St. Brelade probably is referring to the hospital funding and at the moment that has been not signed off, it has to be said, but it has been agreed that a bond will be issued for some - not the entirety - of the expenditure required for the new hospital.  From my understanding of that, at the moment that will be paid for by the interest revenue from the Strategic Reserve Fund, so it will not be a huge capital sum to be repaid at the end of the term.

3.1.18Deputy K.F. Morel:

As shareholder representative of certain commercial entities owned by the States of Jersey, how will you ensure your actions and decisions do not act to the detriment of a level playing field for all companies within any given sector?

The Bailiff:

Through the Chair, Deputy, please: “How will the Deputy ensure” rather than: “How will you ensure?”  Yes, Deputy.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I am not sure I understand the question, Sir.  Could it be repeated?  Thank you.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

As the Deputy will become shareholder representative for certain commercial companies owned by the States of Jersey, how will you ensure that decisions you take as Minister for Treasury and Resources do not act to the detriment of a level playing field for all the companies in that given sector?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I thank the Deputy for repeating that.  Hopefully, if I am elected to this position, I know that I will be surrounded by a very competent and dedicated team at Treasury.  Competition must always be very fair.  I am sure that the advice that they give I will listen to.

3.1.19Deputy M.R. Higgins:

I was surprised at the Deputy’s answer on the Zero/Ten question, because Zero/Ten is not sustainable due to external pressures and also because we need to fund Island services.  Is she saying that she will rigidly keep the Zero/Ten system?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

At the moment, I have not even been elected to the post and I cannot promise to commit to removing a system that has been, as I said earlier, the foundation of Jersey’s successful economy.  Obviously it will be looked at, as will everything else, but I cannot commit to removing it or changing it at this point in the game.

3.1.20Deputy G.P. Southern:

Will the Minister for Treasury and Resources commit to finding sustainable funding for higher education to enable our potential students to study in the U.K. and elsewhere?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Higher education is funded at the moment until the next Medium Term Financial Plan through underspends from education.  In the next Medium Term Financial Plan the funding, from what I understand, will be about £3.5 million a year, so a bid for that will have to go into the next Medium Term Financial Plan.

3.1.21Deputy M. Tadier:

The Minister might think that everybody in Jersey should consider themselves lucky to live here, but if you are an elderly person who lives in a cold property, who does not know how to pay the heating bill or whether they can afford to put food on the table or whether they can afford to see a G.P. (general practitioner) or indeed to call a G.P. out and not have the money to pay for it, what does she say to those individuals about how the tax system might be able to help them in future enjoy Jersey even more than they do already?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think the Deputy knows the answer to that.  If there is somebody who is in need of help, Social Security provides a food cost bonus to put food on the table and also a cold weather bonus to provide heating.  Andium Homes, in all their developments, have made huge refurbishments to some properties and building new ones, which are far better insulated and catered for than they were before.

The Bailiff:

Thank you, Deputy.  The time for questions has now expired, as Members have heard, and in accordance with the Standing Order, I take Deputy Pinel to have been selected for appointment as Minister for Treasury and Resources.  [Approbation]

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

May I just say thank you, Sir, to the Assembly for putting their trust in me?  I will work very hard and unstintingly, as I have said, to make a good Minister for Treasury and Resources with the team at Treasury.  [Approbation]

 

4.The Minister for Education

The Bailiff:

Senator Le Fondré, the next nomination.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I again offer my congratulations to the new Minister for Treasury and Resources.  I am delighted to nominate Senator Vallois as Minister for Education.  She will bring an analytical approach to her ministry and has previously served both in Education and Treasury, as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, President of the Chairmen’s Committee and is a very prominent member of the Education Scrutiny Panel.

The Bailiff:

Is the proposition seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  Very well, Senator Vallois.

4.1Senator T.A. Vallois:

Today I stand before the Assembly asking for their faith and trust in me to carry out the role of Minister for Education for the next 4 years.  I am grateful to the Chief Minister designate for nominating me and the kind words of support I have received - not only from fellow Members, but also from many of the public - to pursue this position.  My decision to take on this role was made before the elections and was the main reason I chose to stand for an Island-wide mandate.  The passion and drive I have for this role does not come from a place of professional experience, but from the connection and influence in so many of our lives and mainly because of my parental responsibility and my love for learning.  The vision I wish to lay out to you is not one of just the expectations during this term, but one that will hopefully be a long-term goal for the Island, which our future generations will benefit from.  I recognise education is a sensitive and personal issue to many and rightly so.  During this term of office, there are many issues that need to be addressed, such as early years, nursery education funding, higher education funding, vocational provision, skills agenda, mental health and well-being, support and recognition of our teaching profession and youth services, to consider how all of these areas join together and provide a well-balanced and holistic approach to the needs of our current and future generations.  The provision of education comes as a package and does not stop when you reach a certain age.  We can see, and we all know, economies around the world are changing and we need to embrace and adapt.  When addressing the areas of education I have mentioned, they cannot be addressed in sections alone and they need appropriate transitioning and recognition of the needs of the child or person within the setting we are providing for.  When we refer to nursery education funding, we should be discussing the role and impact that early years provision has from zero to 5 and the needs of the child and the family in their circumstances, working with the likes of the Jersey Early Years Association, Brighter Futures, Jersey Child Care Trust, Family Nursing and Homecare and Health, in recognition of the recent report on early childhood education, ensuring that once in a school setting, the appropriate resources and support are provided to assist in reaching children’s potential as individuals and not some Government-dictated policy which undermines their creativity and willingness to learn.  Consideration and commitment needs to be given to initiatives such as school meals, encouraging more outdoor learning and active and healthy lifestyles, transitioning into secondary, taking that leap of faith that the world really is their oyster, and the partnership of the parents and the teachers, providing a support system equally in the journey through some of their most difficult years; address the impact the role of our curriculum has on the development of our children and ultimately the goal of reaching their very own potential, although in stating all of this, we need to recognise that each child will be their own person.  There will be different pressures faced from all walks of life, whether that be from home, school, or their peers.  We need to recognise and understand these differences.  Each person learns differently, whether that is through personal experiences or through difficulties and struggles that are yet to be identified.  We need to be better at identifying, understanding, and supporting these children so they can achieve, in tandem with their families.  Produce an appropriate education campus that recognises academic and vocational achievements as equal; providing a vision for the potential of each and every one of us, old or young; creating a place of learning, comfort, care and innovation; tap into and work collectively on areas such as the global market strategy to reach best practice in jurisdictions other than just the U.K.; partnering with industry to provide valid and much-needed life skills in various stages of development; allowing teachers to teach and broaden children’s horizons; reducing stigma and provide the support and care many require throughout the various stages of development.

[10:45]

In order to achieve this, it will require teamwork, it will require consistent engagement and a willingness to focus on the long-term benefits.  The last 9½ years have provided me with a variety of skills and abilities to understand the role that this States Assembly plays in the commitment each one of us have given to the electorate to do the very best we can during this term of office.  It is therefore that I provide a commitment to you that I will do my utmost to work in the most effective and efficient way with Scrutiny to achieve the results that are most eagerly desired by the public who elected us.  I also recognise the number of Members now in the Assembly who have a multitude of experiences and would value their input at every stage.  It is important that I make it clear now that I want to encourage a dialogue of openness and transparency.  As stated earlier, education is personal to each and every one of us and there are many ideas and views of how we could achieve certain outcomes.  I will commit to reviewing and updating our education law, and in doing so, bringing the public into the conversation on how our education system can evolve into a provision that will enhance opportunities into the long term.  My intention would be to appoint Deputy Jeremy Maçon as an Assistant Minister to focus on the area of vocational, further, higher and life-long education.  [Approbation]  In ending this speech, I hope that Members can see that I am truly passionate about making a difference in this area and will therefore consider me as the appropriate candidate for this role.  Thank you.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

We now have questions.  I call on Deputy Morel.

4.1.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

Will the Deputy tell us whether she intends to support the current arrangements of the Island’s fee-paying secondary schools?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

Thank you, Deputy Morel.  In terms of the current arrangements for the fee-paying schools, I recognise that this is an extremely sensitive area and this is why I want to have a discussion with the public over the Education Law.  Our Education Law is almost 20 years old.  I was an Assistant Minister at the time when the fee-paying issue was taken up and what it did was divide the community and I do not want to do that.  I want to have a proper conversation, a proper dialogue about how education will play out over the next 20 years.

4.1.2Deputy M. Tadier:

We heard earlier that G.S.T. should be low, broad, and simple, without exemptions, but school fees are exempt, for good or for bad.  Would the candidate look at whether G.S.T. should be applied to school fees?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

Thank you for your question.  I am happy to have the discussion with the Minister for Treasury and Resources.  I heard her answer with regard to the care homes before.  I think there is a bigger discussion around the school fees and care homes and what is exempt and what is not exempt.  We need a bigger discussion about that and I hope the Council of Ministers will be willing to have that discussion.

4.1.3Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

Pedagogical myths are rife, both in the education system and in society more generally.  These myths tend to come from the belief that: “Because I went to school or sent my children to school, I know what good teaching should look like” which of course we know is a fallacy.  One of the most common myths is around setting a student’s viability.  Research shows this does not work for the lower end.  Another common fad is V.A.K. (Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic), the idea that students are either visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners, which again research shows us is a complete fiction.  Given these misconceptions, will the Senator commit to ensuring that all changes to the way in which education is carried out, particularly when it affects teaching and learning, will be supported by robust and credible academic or expert research?  [Approbation]

Senator T.A. Vallois:

Yes, to the best ability that I can.  I recognise the experience that the questioner has in the areas.  I want to reach a whole variety of experience and views with regard to education.  I did state in my opening speech how sensitive and personal education is to everybody and I recognise there is plenty of academic research and views out there.  I think there are plenty of best practices in the world that we can tap into and create a proper world-class education system for Jersey so that people in the end turn around and say: “Why can we not do what Jersey do?”

4.1.4Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The Senator mentioned working with the wider Assembly.  Could she give some more detail on how she will do that and also how she will ensure that the voice of the workforce is heard, and most importantly, the voice of the child?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

I thank Deputy Doublet for the question.  In terms of working with the Assembly, hopefully my Assistant Minister, Deputy Maçon, will be working with me in terms of conversations around how to take things forward.  I have had a conversation at the Council of Ministers.  The Chief Minister mentioned the possibility of policy development boards, but until we have sat around as a Council of Ministers and determined a way forward in terms of our strategic priorities in the policy developments, I would ask Members who are interested to support and look at those initiatives.  The other question ... sorry, Sir, can I just ...

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The voice of the workforce and the voice of the child.

Senator T.A. Vallois:

In terms of the voice of the workforce and the voice of the child, the questioner will know that I am extremely passionate about listening to employees of the States.  I have great concern over the culture within the public sector and I understand that there is an Education Consultative Council and there are various different groups that are set up that apparently the Minister sits on or does not sit on.  I would like to look at these groups and see whether that is an effective way to do things, whether people feel able to speak up.  I want to give the workforce some confidence that they are able to speak to me and that it is an open process and they have their voices heard.  In terms of the children, of course a huge part is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  I would like to have a conversation with the Children’s Commissioner about how better to do that.  Of course the schools do a fantastic job.  At the end of the day, I always ask my son what he thinks and he gives me an absolute straight answer.  In those terms, I think it is work in progress and that we should be encouraging everybody to be able to ask the questions of those children, listen to what they have to say and understand how we can provide it in the appropriate context in our policy development and the way that we provide public services.

4.1.5Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

Senator, last year a crisis in the education system, in recruiting teachers now and in the future, was highlighted in the press.  In fact, this was brought to our attention by a new Deputy, Deputy Rob Ward.  What measures does the Senator intend to put in place to ensure that we always have sufficient teachers and we improve their conditions in order to ensure our children receive the education they deserve?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

I recognise there is a huge issue in terms of the value that we place upon the teaching profession and the practitioners in care of children.  I think there is a role, and of course this is subject to conversations with the Chief Minister designate and the Council of Ministers, but it is something where the States Employment Board as well, they have a role as the employer to recognise that value.  We need to have a proper discussion about those terms and conditions, about the pay of the teachers and ensure that there is that proper conversation and we recognise the value of their work and what they do to enhance and provide the opportunities for our future generations.  I am passionate about how this will work going forward.  I want their views and their information so that I can work and ensure that the new chief executive and the changes that are going on behind the scenes at the moment in terms of the new structures, that we recognise the value of the teaching and caring profession as highly as we do in other areas.

4.1.6Deputy R. Ward:

Senator, may I ask, given the current M.T.F.P.’s £10 million investment in education - when increasing demographics are taken into account, plus savings in other areas of education - is in real terms a £2 million cut to education funding, how will you ensure that education is given the genuine and real-term investment so desperately needed in the Jersey education system?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

I was on the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, so I recognise the issues, that in terms of a real investment, it was mostly demographics and capital investments.  In terms of the investment that needs to be made in education, it is a question I have raised.  I went and spoke with somebody in Education yesterday about we can look at this properly and have a proper holistic view of how school funding works.  It has been suggested to me there is an issue potentially with the benchmarking, but that is a piece of work that does need to be done.  In terms of obtaining the money, of course this goes back to the Council of Ministers and I am sure there will be some highly heated discussions about how we will invest appropriately.  I will be at the forefront of pushing for investment in education.  I have said it all along on the Senatorial platform, I have stated the issues around ensuring that there are resources and provision provided for those who need it in the schools and the resources that are needed to teach.  The headroom funding is lower than many other places, which may be an issue of why we are having some of the issues that we are seeing.  I really want to get down to the bottom of this and we need to recognise how the investment in education works alongside of course the high cost of living we have in Jersey as well.

4.1.7Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

I would like to ask the Senator what she will be doing to enhance the digital skills agenda within the Education Department.

Senator T.A. Vallois:

In terms of digital skills, this is a really important area.  My son would never forgive me for not mentioning it, so I thank the Deputy for asking me this.  Digital in the future is going to be a foundational part of the workplace, a foundational part of how we move forward in our lives.  It is very bitty in terms of where and how it is being taught across the education system.  I recognise the work that, for example, Digital Jersey are doing and their push for the digital academy.  I think I have a slightly different view on how we would achieve that, but I know that there is a gentleman who has been in contact with me about the whole new coding club, the things that they are doing in St. John’s School, for example, which looks really exciting.  I would like to ensure that this is engrained as part of our schooling as we go forward, but in all areas, not just primary school or not just secondary school, that it is part and parcel of how we learn and move forward.

4.1.8Deputy G.P. Southern:

What measures will the candidate take to counter the growing trend to bullying in our schools?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

I will state now, there is absolutely no room for bullying or harassment in any form, as far as I am concerned.  [Approbation]  Bullying and harassment has been an issue in the public sector.  I believe there are pockets of issues with regards to bullying in schools and it is something that I want to stamp out straight away.  I will be absolutely leading from the top on this.  I will be ensuring that the culture has to change.  I want the staff and the children to feel they are able to open up and speak about how they feel and about their opinions without being pushed aside or treated differently or just stigmatised in some horrible nasty way.  Bullying and harassment, I have been dealing with a particular case with regards to education for well over a year now.  There is a report and I hope that the States Employment Board, whoever they may be, will be publishing that in short order so that everybody can see the issues and ensure that the recommendations from that report are implemented so that people have faith in the public sector again.

4.1.9Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Following up on the idea of digital, we are about to enter what people are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where artificial intelligence, motor learning and robotics are coming to the fore.  It is estimated in the next 5, 10 and 20 years, something like 45 per cent of jobs as we know them are going to disappear.  What is the Minister going to do with regard to education in this field, because many of the things we are teaching children at the present time are going to be not required?  What is she going to do to try to address the issue of the curriculum examinations and try to get the Island ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

[11:00]

Senator T.A. Vallois:

I did state in my speech about the issues I feel there are around the curriculum and the way that we move forward with education.  I believe fundamentally that we need to discuss, as a population, about how we take education forward over the next 20 years and ensure that we start building the blocks, particularly on the skills agenda and ensuring that when we talk about our curriculum ... I am not a fan of top-down telling people what they can and cannot do.  I think there is this issue in terms of there is a leadership role here for people that want to be innovative and creative.  I think we should be able to work with those people to create something going forward.  In terms of the Education Law, there is a Curriculum Council, for example.  I want to see that working more proactively within the schools or within the skills agenda and within industries to identify new ways of teaching and new ways of taking forward different ideas so that when we talk about innovation, we will have the skills and the requisite ideas to move that forward over the next few years.  It is a huge piece of work to be done and I did state that this is something that I want to take the public with me on.  It goes all the way from preschool all the way up to lifelong learning and it is an issue that we need to address in all of those areas.

4.1.10Connétable P.B. Le Sueur of Trinity:

If I could ask the Minister-elect; there is a massive move towards the regeneration of accommodation in St. Helier.  What thoughts does she have on the provision of schooling for the children who are going to be accommodated in all these new high-rise developments?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

We have been aware for many years now of the issue of the town schools in terms of they are not so much cramming, but they are getting over-populated.  With more of the housing in St. Helier, it is only going to become worse.  I am aware that there is going to be discussion in the next capital programme about Rouge Bouillon School and how we work with Rouge Bouillon School and whether the Council of Ministers wish to go that road of course is another question.  But it will be, I think, important as part of the capital programme moving forward to have that discussion about how and what we do in terms of the primary schools within the town areas, whether that is d’Auvergne, Janvrin and Springfield, Rouge Bouillon School and how it will work in terms of the dynamics.  If this Council of Ministers’ view is that more housing should go in St. Helier, then that has to be one of the priority areas sitting next to that discussion.

4.1.11Deputy K.F. Morel:

I applaud the Senator’s commitment to providing excellent early years education provision, but will the Senator commit to addressing with the future Minister for Social Security the provision of 20 hours of free nursery education per week and the potential mismatch that this has for single parents, who have to go back to work when they are receiving income support when their children reach 3 years old, 20 hours not being 40-hour full working week?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

It is a bigger issue than just the 20 hours for the single parents or parents within the income support system.  It is an issue and I would be more than happy to work with whoever the Minister for Social Security is; of course Deputy Martin has her name forward.  But it is a bigger issue and it is about early years.  It is not just about nursery education, it is not just about 3 to 4 year-olds, it is about how it all fits together.  That is why I referred to the report that was done on the early childhood education.  It refers to the zero to 5.  I have suggested in my manifesto when I stood that what I want to look at is where we are spending all this money in terms of nursery education or early years right across the public sector.  I asked a question before the end of the last term about how much money we are spending and how much we are losing in terms of the childcare relief we provide through taxation.  It is a bigger discussion and I want to be working with the Minister for Treasury and Resources and Minister for Social Security to identify where that pot of money sits and how it works for the needs of the families rather than the needs of the public sector.  It is a huge piece of work to be done, but I am absolutely committed to work with both Ministers to try to achieve the right solution or the right outcome for the families of working parents, but I would also like to discuss the issue of flexible working.

4.1.12Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

I had no intention of questioning the candidate or the soon to be Minister, but it was about her answer on expanding the town schools and they were all primary.  I just want to put it on record, please, when she gets around the Council of Ministers, we have some fantastic country Parish schools and would it not be good to bus some children out that way in the morning and stop them all coming into St. Helier and keep these lovely schools in the country Parishes populated?  Because I know Trinity was having a problem at one point and the overflow from St. Saviour’s primary were being bused out.  It worked fantastic, so more ways to skin a cat.  I hope the Minister would take that into her considerations.

Senator T.A. Vallois:

I absolutely recognise what the Deputy is saying.  It would definitely have to be part of the overall conversation about the admissions policy capital programme, where children go and how it will work in terms of catchment areas and whether we want to be moving and changing that, but it is an issue and it is something that needs to be addressed.  I am not afraid to do that.

4.1.13Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Would the Senator agree that our curriculum is currently embedded in what we might refer to as outdated and a somewhat patriarchal viewpoint, in the sense that artists, authors and scientists that we teach tend not to be diverse in terms of gender or ethnicity?  Would the Senator agree, and if so, would the Senator commit to ensuring that more diversity is achieved in both the primary and secondary curriculum?

Senator T.A. Vallois:

My own personal opinion about the curriculum, I would agree that it is outdated.  I think the way that we are teaching the curriculum is going to rub up against the issues of our digital future if we keep teaching children to just pass tests in certain ways and not having more overbreadth of ways of teaching and how, for example, things like outdoor learning and the different ways and cultures ... is that the end?  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

Very well, I declare that Senator Vallois has been appointed as Minister for Education.  [Approbation] 

 

5.The Minister for Health and Social Services

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Again I offer my congratulations to the new Minister for Education.  The next nomination is for Health and Social Services.  I take great pleasure in nominating Senator Ferguson for the position of Health and Social Services.  Senator Ferguson has an M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) from Columbia School of Business, New York, specialising in finance and accountancy.  She has previously been chairman of the Corporate Service Scrutiny Panel, president of the Chairmen’s Committee and I believe chairman of the Public Accounts Committee at various times.  She is also chairman of Age Concern and a committee member of Maison St. Brelade and a former member of the Health Committee, among many other positions.  While I know not everybody will like her style, I consider her constructive, tenacious and she will challenge.  I also understand she has the support of staff and unions in seeking this position.  In the relatively short term, I would anticipate political responsibility for Health and Social Services being divided into separate categories and this nomination is in anticipation of such a change in political responsibilities.

The Bailiff:

Is the nomination seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  Deputy of St. Mary.

The Deputy of St. Mary:

I nominate the Deputy of St. Ouen, Sir.

The Bailiff:

Is that seconded?  [Seconded]  Yes.  Are there any other nominations?  Very well, then the Deputy of St. Ouen ...

Connétable J.E. Le Maistre of Grouville:

Could I make a point of order, Sir?  When people are nominating people, are they allowed to give a small speech, as the new Chief Minister did, or is that not expected?

The Bailiff:

Standing Orders are silent about that, but I see no reason why there should not be a small speech, if they choose to do so.

The Connétable of Grouville:

It is just that in the past ...

The Bailiff:

I will just confer with the Greffier briefly, as 2 minds are always better than one.  Deputy, if you wish to say anything briefly about your candidate, then please do.

The Deputy of St. Mary:

I am sure the Deputy of St. Ouen is quite capable of giving details for himself.  He has, in the past Assembly, been the chairman of the Scrutiny Panel covering Health and Social Security.  All Members are aware of the various reports and reviews that have been issued under his guidance, and I believe that in itself is sufficient justification for a nomination.

The Connétable of Grouville:

Again on a point of order, Sir.  The point I was trying to make was I do not think people were expecting to make a speech, so I think it is a little bit unfair on the Deputy of St. Mary to throw that on him.  In the past, I think people have simply just nominated people.

The Bailiff:

He can have a speech if he chooses to.  That is absolutely fine.  Deputy of St. Ouen, would you please withdraw while the speech and questions of Senator Ferguson follow and then you will be asked to return?  Greffier, you are going with the Deputy, are you?  You are going with the Deputy.  Senator Ferguson.

5.1Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Was it something I said, the exodus from the Chamber?  I think one small thing, one small matter first.  I am not a homophobe.  The Chief Minister explained the background to the tolerance clause on Monday and I supported him in the debate on the necessity to debate the issues and I was pleased that it was possible to do this in a balanced manner.  As the Chief Minister has said, we have had the debate, it is over and I am neither a homophobe nor a bigot.  [Approbation]  Thank you.  Now, one of the topics, the top topic in the hustings and so on was the hospital.  The previous Chief Minister and the current Chief Minister have both said that there must be a reassessment of the site and I am happy to go along with that.  This should be short, sharp and done within the timeframe of what is planned at the moment for the inspector’s report on the planning application.  Basically we want a hospital built in reasonable time at reasonable cost, without blotting the landscape and in a location easily accessible by the public.  We want one which is appropriate for an Island of this size, where staff are not gagged over pay or for criticising the department.  The bricks and mortar are one thing.  What is more important is the hiring and retention of staff.  An indication of the extent of the problems came when I asked for the number of agency social workers we had in 2017: 87 temporary staff within the year.  Currently we have for nurses an 18 per cent vacancy rate in mental health, a 7 per cent vacancy rate in the general hospital, 5 per cent being the red line, a high rate of nursing bank utilisation and a staff survey which indicated low morale.  At the same time, we have first-class front line staff working flat out to look after patients and we have been failing them badly.  The perceived wisdom is that salaries are insufficient and local accommodation is too expensive.  Certain accommodation is offered to locum staff at a very low rate and the allegation is that it is at £35 a week.  However, the amount of accommodation available to staff is being reduced and there is a new policy that if staff have been in H.S.S.D. (Health and Social Security Department) accommodation for more than 3 years, they are being asked to move out.  I am told we have nurses on the St. Saviour site worried that they are going to have to move into the private sector.  Others are in the private sector, but are having to use foodbanks.  There are ongoing negotiations with Andium and some new recruits are living in motorhomes for several months on arrival.  We are not a third world; we are Jersey.  Our employees expect support from the States.  Addressing the bullying and harassment culture within Health is a major problem and one which the department shares with Education.  It is not something which can be solved overnight, but it is something which must be dictated from the top.  I heard the Minister for Education talking about the report waiting to be published and that, if elected, is something I will discuss with colleagues.  I have been speaking with front line staff and they are desperate for change.  I also in fact went to the nurses’ meeting at the Town Hall to find out exactly what was going on.  I want to see a clear policy on the development and application of systems thinking.  Informed opinion is that this should not only produce efficiencies, but will improve team-building, thereby leading to improvements in the culture and the morale and as a result, cost savings.

[11:15]

So far I have been discussing departmental matters.  The other important element is the patients.  Do we really have a policy to treat patient complaints simply and fairly?  It is possible to find the complaints procedure, but it takes a great deal of digging on the website, which is really quite upsetting, because it is something I set up when I was on the Health Committee in 2003.  One area which is a priority and which has been highlighted in the work of the Care Inquiry and, in particular, in complaints by constituents is that of mental health.  Wherever mention of it has cropped up, one of the major complaints is that getting treatment has taken weeks, months, or in some cases, years.  Some of the staff have expressed misgivings about the proposal to split the children’s and adult mental health, but there are sound reasons for this, as we need to separate children under treatment from adults under treatment and we do need to have a discussion as to the co-ordination between these 2 subsets of mental health.  The exciting part of the new Health and Community Services Department is the box entitled: “Commissioning the healthcare modernisation.”  The hospital of the future will give patients a barcoded wristband, which when scanned opens up their medical record in an electronic patient record.  Given that when I went in for an operation I was required to give my details at least 4 times, a quick scan of a wristband feels much more efficient.  According to one hospital, their system has freed-up beds, saved 4,500 appointments a year in orthopaedics by enabling clinicians to view records digitally.  Given the fact we have significant delays in most specialties, this is an encouraging example and will remove the sight of the records trolley parked in the corridor for everybody to have a look at.  Overall, I envisage a system where the G.P. is the centre of information for the patient.  The advances in remote monitoring will allow patients to take control of their own conditions at home at an earlier stage.  The monitoring equipment will report into the G.P.  Should readings deteriorate, the G.P. will call the patient in or refer them to consultants.  There are also significant crossovers that we need to organise between Education, Health, Sport and Social Security in the area of health prevention.  This is an area where we must have a unified approach.  I would also like to see the development of a department for hyperbaric medicine using the hyperbaric chamber, which is at the moment out of use.  What can I offer?  I have a belief in fewer layers of management.  The old command and control system does not work.  I believe in open and transparent management.  It worries me when officers say that they come out of meetings wondering what was spin and what was true.  I also believe in informal exchange of ideas between departments.  After all, we are all working for the good of the Island and Islanders.  We also need to review the financing of Health.  In other jurisdictions, citizens start paying into their personal health pot when they start working.  When they are young and healthy they are paying in and when they get older, they start withdrawing funds.  We need to consider whether such schemes are feasible in Jersey, with appropriate safeguards for the less well-off or chronically ill.  If elected, I look forward to discussions with the Council of Ministers and my colleagues in Treasury, Social Security and so forth to see whether such a system would work.  Why should you choose me?  I have an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and I am a fully qualified chartered engineer.  As the Chief Minister said, I have a Master’s degree in business from Columbia University, New York, majoring in finance, accountancy and minoring in marketing.  I am chairman of Age Concern, vice-chairman of the Sea Cadets and on the management committee of Maison St. Brelade.  My health background is based on a family background of forward-thinking health professionals, about 100 years of health professionals.  I have the usual family health experiences with my son, when young, and recently looking after my mother when she had dementia, and I was responsible for the red tray system in the hospital.  I was on the Health Committee, I chaired the grant sub-committee, I served on Social Security and I ran the P.A.C. (Public Accounts Committee).  Basically there is a great deal of goodwill throughout the department and the Island.  It is up to us, the team, the Assembly, the department and the public, to work together for the good of the Island.

The Bailiff:

Thank you, Senator.  [Approbation]  It is now time for questions.  The first question is from the Connétable of St. Lawrence.

5.1.1The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

The Senator was a vocal opponent of the Liverpool care pathway.  What is her opinion of the current end of life strategy and does she consider it fit for purpose?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

As I understand it, the current end of life strategy is a palliative strategy.  I believe the Connétable may be thinking of it in terms of the assisted dying proposals, which are being debated in the Island at the moment.  I think all these topics need to be discussed and debated.  There are problems with the assisted dying insofar as making sure there are safeguards.  We have obviously people who are in favour of the assisted dying proposals and then Baroness Grey-Thompson, the spina bifida paraplegic, who has won a lot of medals in the Paralympics, is very much against assisted dying.  I think there is a lot to be debated before we get to that point.  I think we need to look at the palliative care to make sure that it is fit for purpose.  I was very much against the Liverpool care pathway, because as far as I could see, you were depriving the patients of food and drink and just letting them starve to death.  I am sorry, that is not the way you treat human beings.

5.1.2Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

What priority would the candidate place on improving mental health services, and as with the U.K., would the Minister be looking to place physical health in parity with mental health?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I think they both supplement the other.  Obviously, the phrase: “Healthy mind in a healthy body” I seem to remember from the days of my youth, but I think the mental health side, as I said in my remarks, must be looked at urgently, because the delays we are getting, to paraphrase: “Treatment delayed is an illness exacerbated.”  I know people who have had to wait 5 years for treatment to start.  It is quite wrong.  The situation gets far worse and the condition gets worse if you leave it without treatment.  Parents can do a certain amount, but they are not professionals, to deal with some of these conditions.  The healthy side… we heard Senator Pallett during the hustings talking about the support and so on.  As I think I probably said somewhere - maybe in the hustings - that is something where... no, it was not my remarks, I am sorry, Sir.  Education, Sport, Health and Social Security, we might want to have more Active Cards around.  All need to get together and work on this in order to improve the take-up of sport in the Island.  Not everyone wants to go running, but there are a lot of other sports that people can do.

5.1.3Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:

The Health portfolio is very broad, so it can be divided in a number of ways, for example, social care, mental health and the new hospital.  Each service is vital.  How and to whom does the candidate aim to delegate the elements of this vast portfolio?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

As the Chief Minister designate has already said, it is a big portfolio.  Certainly when I was on the Health Committee, we allocated certain areas to each member of the committee.  There were 5 members in the committee: Deputy Martin was looking after children; I looked after the elderly; I forget what the other members were doing.  Yes, we do need to have an element of delegation.  This is something the Chief Minister has already mentioned, that he wants to discuss with whoever is elected as Minister for Health and his colleagues on the Council of Ministers and I will be quite happy for that, because certainly if you look at the health and community services slide which has been circulated - I do not know whether everybody has had a copy of this - but it is how they envisage the departments in Health being split.  There is a considerable amount there and we do have to have a discussion as to how we are going to split it and co-ordinate it.

5.1.4Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Before the election, I met with a group of young people who had been through the mental health service to speak about their experience and learn what they thought could be improved.  They expressed some concern to me about the future of the mental health services and the child and adolescent services being housed with the adult services.  They were very much against it, because they saw their needs as being separate.  What is the candidate’s views on this and would she be prepared to meet with some young people who have been through the service to make sure that when it is reformed in future that it does appropriately meet their needs?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I would be delighted to meet with the young people.  As I said again in my remarks, I do understand that it is a good thing to keep the treatment areas for young people and for adults separate, because if you get a youngster and an older person being treated for the same condition, they sort of sit there and they are being treated, they see an oldie sitting there, still suffering from the same condition at some advanced age like 45 ... oh, that one fell a little flat, Sir.  But the effect is terribly demoralising on the youngster, therefore we do need to keep them separate for treatment.  I would be delighted to meet them if I am elected as Minister for Health and I would trust that my colleague, Senator Mézec, would set it up for me.

5.1.5Deputy R. Ward:

May I ask the Senator: will you pledge to reduce the cost of seeing a G.P.?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

As you will know, I am known as somewhat of a hawk on expenditure and where possible I will reduce it, but on the other hand, I am far more of a hawk on efficiency.  I do not know whether the way we are dealing with primary care is the most efficient way we should.  I think there is a lot of work to be done on this.  To have to go into see your G.P. if you think your blood pressure has gone up or something like that, when if you have the right pieces of equipment and you can take your own blood pressure, it sends the information to the server, which notifies the G.P. and the G.P. will either look at it and say: “Oh well, we can leave it for a week or so” or: “We better have you in” and it cuts down the unnecessary visits to the G.P.s.  We need to do these things efficiently.

[11:30]

This is one of the things where the primary healthcare body and the hospital people and the Minister and certain people within the hospital setup are very keen on using electronic equipment, as I have said, about having a wristband instead of giving your personal details 4 times.  This is all part of the mechanisation and automation of how you are treated.  Yes, I think we ought to be looking at it, but we need to look at it in the context of efficiency.

5.1.6Deputy K.F. Morel:

With a view to reducing hospital waiting lists, if elected, will the Senator take any measures to ensure that hospital consultants are contractually obliged to prioritise their public sector responsibilities over their private sector work?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I think the whole setup needs looking at.  I do not quite understand how they work out how much time you can have doing your private work and how much time you have doing your public work.  I know they are doing a piece of work on the costs of a consultant doing private work with public facilities.  The financial director has been doing quite a bit of work on that, so we need to see where that has got to.  I think the length of waiting lists, again, if we have got an efficient system using electronic gear where we need to, then I think we ought to be able to cut down the times of waiting and so on.  It is a whole big piece of work that needs doing and I am very keen to do it, but we need to have the electronic availability of equipment in order to get it working efficiently.

5.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

The candidate spoke about staff morale, staff retention and staff recruitment issues at the hospital and at Health in general.  Does the candidate believe that current negotiations and previous negotiations were carried out respectfully and courteously with the public sector employees?  If not, what difference in approach would she take to negotiations with those workers?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I understand that most of the negotiations are done with the States Employment Board.  One of the things that has been kicked around - and I have certainly been waving a flag about - is a review of the role and responsibilities of the States Employment Board.  It is something that, if elected, I will certainly be pushing for, because I do not think it has been as successful as it might have been over the years.  Some years it has been better than others, but I think it needs looking at now.

5.1.8Senator S.W. Pallett:

The candidate mentioned in her opening speech support for preventative health care.  Will the Senator support a new encompassing strategy for active and healthy living in the Island and - I stress “and” - commit to providing sufficient funding to allow effective measures to be taken to reduce unacceptable levels of heart and liver disease and obesity, especially child obesity, among other issues, that need action now?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

First of all, I think the expense should be shared between Health, Education, Social Security and ... I am not quite sure who else, but I am sure we can find somebody else to put into the pot.  But basically I think it is the professor of maybe dietetics - I am not sure - from Newcastle University who said it is not the running, it is the calories that you have to look at.  Yes, I think we do need a programme to encourage more sport.  There is a great deal of sport in the Island.  We need to identify exactly where it is that we are needing to encourage, which market are we dealing with?  But it is a joint piece of work, I think, between Education, Health and Social Security, particularly if we are starting to issue Active Cards again probably.  Yes, I am all in favour of supporting it.

5.1.9Deputy M.R. Higgins:

I know the candidate is well aware of the cover-up culture that has existed in Health for many years, even if we go back to Dr. Day and Mr. Alwitry and others.  It is still continuing, in the sense that she is also aware that I have been trying to get records for a family, with their consent, so I can assist them and I have had 4 years of obstruction and cover-up.  What will the candidate do to try to open up the culture in the hospital - and Health generally - and make sure that we get a proper service?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

The Deputy knows very well that I am in favour of open and transparent management and dealing properly with complaints and so forth.  As I say, I helped install the complaints system in something like 2003.  It appears to have mutated a bit from the one I set up and it perhaps needs looking at or there needs to be a project looking at the complaints system within Health.  I think one of the things, the blame culture the bullying and harassment has led to has been people being concerned about holding their hands up and saying: “Terribly sorry, I goofed.”  That is one of the side effects of the bullying and harassment setup.  I think we have got to get that side of it sorted and the rest should follow.

5.1.10Deputy G.P. Southern:

Will the candidate oppose any moves to adopt the U.K. practice of paying G.P.s on the size of their patient list and not on the number of treatments?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I do not see why we have to copy the U.K. in everything we do.  We are Jersey, we can think independently and we can seek solutions that suit us, not ones that are dreamed up for a large organisation or a very large country.  Any suggestions that come up, I will look at them and see if they are suitable for Jersey and whether there is a cost benefit to us.  If there is not, then I will not support.

5.1.11Senator K.L. Moore:

It was interesting to hear the Chief Minister designate say that this candidate has the support of staff and unions.  To coin one of the Senator’s phrases: “Show us the evidence, please.”

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I am happy to show you the email after we have spoken.

5.1.12Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Would the Senator continue the excellent work that has been carried out to improve breastfeeding rates in the Island, and if necessary, allocating an increased budget to provide more support to mothers on this issue and including working towards the Unicef Baby Friendly Award for Jersey’s hospital?

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Yes, I see no reason why not.  I need to look at the implications of it first, but on the face of it, it would seem to be a much better solution for babies rather than formula milk and I would support it.

5.1.13Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

I would like to ask the candidate what her plans are for helping to encourage locally-born fully-qualified doctors to return to the Island.

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I am glad you asked that question.  This is something I feel incredibly strongly about, because I know people who have trained abroad and have had a very successful career or beginning of their career have come back to the Island and tried to get a job within the system and been turned down and turned down time after time.  It infuriates me to see good people spurned by the system and I feel very strongly that we should make every effort to welcome them back.  I know when the Deputy of St. Ouen, James Reed, was Minister for Education, he wanted to have a jobs page that he emailed to all students who come from Jersey at regular intervals so that as they qualified, they could go down the list of jobs available and apply as a local resident, because we encourage these youngsters to go and qualify and then we sort of kick them in teeth.  I am sorry, it is wrong.

The Bailiff:

Thank you, Senator.  That brings your time to an end.  [Approbation]  Could you invite the Scrutiny Officer to bring the Deputy of St. Ouen back?  He will then be able to take the Senator away.  Deputy, you have 10 minutes and then question time.

 

5.2Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen:

Health and well-being are important foundations of a good life for individuals.  They also contribute to a flourishing and prosperous society.  Too often when people talk about health, their thoughts immediately jump to issues around health care, but the factors that have the biggest impact on our overall health largely sit outside of health care, factors such as our education and employment opportunities, our housing, the extent we exercise, what we eat, how we deal with stress and the social connections that we enjoy.  Unfortunately Jersey has a widening health inequality, with greater numbers of households living in relative low income and housing stress.  Many in our population are suffering from increasing levels of obesity and harmful drinking.  Workplace stress is largely unrecognised, but is a significant cause of ill health.  I believe we need to refocus on health as an asset and by better understanding the value of health and finding effective ways to invest in health across our lives, we as a Government should be able, in time, to reduce those inequalities and improve economic and social outcomes.  That is why I would always give wholehearted support to the sort of measures to improve health and well-being, which were discussed in the recent election campaign, including the Active Jersey strategy so well expounded by Senator Pallett.  [Approbation]  We, as a Government, must embed all these considerations of health and well-being across all our strategies.  Since the approval of the redesign of Health and Social Care services in Jersey in 2012, our services have been undertaking a journey of transformation.  I pay tribute to the 2 former Ministers for Health and Social Services, who have kept their feet on the accelerator.  This is happening at a time when an ageing population and other factors are fuelling demand for services and creating significant cost pressures.

[11:45]

It is a Herculean task to deliver safe, affordable, and sustainable services in the Island and I commend the excellent and dedicated workforce that we have, giving the best of care in conditions which are often challenging.  We talk of expanding community and out-of-hospital services and good work has been done, but the health service is still heavily centred on the hospital.  I have been privileged to be involved in setting up our community support team in St. Ouen, which offers great support to vulnerable parishioners, but much of our volunteers’ time is spent taking people to and from hospital for short appointments to check their conditions for follow-up or for physiotherapy and such things.  Most of these appointments are for frail and elderly persons.  Why can we not assist them more where they are, in their homes or in their local community centre or hub?  Let us try to involve the Parishes more in how we deliver health care to our local populations.  That will not be possible in every case, but where it is not, let us use the G.P.s more.  They have a huge role to play in health care as the first port of call.  That personal and consistent relationship with the patient is so important and allows hospital services to concentrate on emergency and in-patient services.  Recent changes mean that we are now dealing with silo mentalities across the public sector, but within the Health and Social Services Department itself, I see structures that may prevent integrated working.  There are strategies, for example, for acute services, for mental health, for community services and suchlike and there are officers within each.  It is really only the chief executive officer that straddles the whole, yet we need to begin by talking about prevention and proactive healthy lifestyles.  I am concerned that the very structure of the department can sometimes be a hindrance to team working and I want to explore better ways of working in the department and offer a single integrated care structure.  I spoke about G.P.s.  Of course if they want to play a greater role, they must negotiate a fair contract, recognising the taxpayer interest.  I have been chairing the Scrutiny Panel for 3½ years and one of the great disappointments has been to see the slow progress of the primary care strategy, though there has been some progress.  At least we have pilot projects on the go and we will need to evaluate them, but I would commit to doing all I can to co-ordinate G.P. and departmental services so that a patient sees a single seamless service.  We know that the cost of seeing a G.P., however, means that some people do not get the care they need with a consequent increased demand on the health service budget and resources when problems become critical.  We know as well now that children have the right to see a doctor.  In the recent consultation undertaken by the Children’s Commissioner, a large number of 11 to 18 year-olds said the first thing the Children’s Commissioner should do to make things better for young people in Jersey is to give them free medical and dental care.  We must address this obstacle of accessing health care and we urgently await the report from Deloittes, who have been commissioned to advise on the funding of primary care and address a solution soon.  Within the Health and Social Services Department, there does seem to be discontent in much of the workforce, but I have never seen evidence of a culture of bullying.  I will not make wild allegations about the workforce unless there is firm evidence which can be acted upon.  If there is any instance of bullying, then that should be taken through the established procedures and there should not be unsubstantiated remarks, which would only demoralise the workforce we have a duty to support.  But the department is a large department, driving continual change.  It is challenging and it would seem there has been insufficient engagement with staff and that has probably, among the workforce, led to an air of resignation and sometimes distrust.  Clearly that must be improved.  We have the changes within the wider public service, the recent retirement of the chief executive officer of Health and no doubt a replacement to follow, holding whatever title it will be.  We also have the recent appointment of a new hospital director.  I believe all these changes will bode well.  If I am elected to this role, I want to be visible, I want a senior team to be visible, approachable and to engage.  It will take time to change a culture, but with the support of the top team, I will strive to change that culture.  It is also about engagement across wider fields.  Members who were here in the last term might remember a half-day debate we had on a new governance structure, which rather ran into the sand, but there are good ideas in that.  One was hearing the patient voice, because there is no formal way of patients giving feedback.  They need to contribute to shape the services they will be using.  We need to hear the clinical voice too, so I would encourage the establishment of a clinical forum to directly give professional views on a strategic direction.  We need to hear the voice for the voluntary sector.  The voluntary sector is a vital part of health care and that must be supported in the work it does.  Members will expect me to talk about the future hospital.  My overarching concern is that we urgently need a new facility.  I recognise there is an appetite for a review of the site selection.  I accept that and I will co-operate with a quick review, but it must be quick.  But Members, I believe, should not think that a review is going to land on our desk, we will open it and we will breathe a sigh of relief, seeing a wonderful solution to the dilemma, because unfortunately there will not be.  This is a technical assessment we are asking for and there is not one site that comes out.  We should not forget the increasing cost of maintaining the current hospital infrastructure as well, but I would commit to working with Members to restore public confidence and deliver a modern, safe, efficient hospital wherever, but we must make that decision soon.  The responsibilities of the Minister are so wide-ranging, I cannot cover all aspects in 10 minutes, but there will be questions.  Mental health services: I recognise there is a real challenge, there is so much to do that needs a priority given to it, which I would try to ensure is done.  Our adult social services are not statutory.  I would want to discuss making them a statutory provision, to be put on an equal footing with all other services.  For the last 3½ years as chair of the relevant Scrutiny Panel, I have closely observed the role of the Minister and the previous Minister ...

The Bailiff:

Thank you very much, Deputy.  [Approbation]  We come to question time and the first question is from Deputy Maçon.

5.2.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Can I congratulate the candidates for putting themselves forward?  Should Islanders have the right to die and what are the candidate’s views on assisted dying?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

This is a highly sensitive topic and deserves the most careful consideration, as I know all Members would give it.  I have to say I was surprised during the recent election campaign that so many candidates - not necessarily those eventually elected - quickly expressed a view that they would support assisted dying after hearing one submission.  We need to gather all views on this and we need to ask ourselves: why is it that the medical profession has consistently come out against such a proposal?  We need to understand that and factor that in.  We need to bring our own experiences too, and in that respect I can say, as a lawyer, looking after people and their affairs, I have sat at the bedside of people who are dying in extremely difficult circumstances and would want to go quickly, but I have also been involved with families who are resentful of the care costs that their parent is incurring and, quite frankly, would want their parents to go and they receive the inheritance.  It is so easy to pass that sense of frustration on to a parent.  We now are in full control of our faculties, we are in charge of our lives.  As we get older, that may not be the case.  Older people are vulnerable.  Even if we do not wish anything upon them, they will feel vulnerable, they might feel a burden.  We need to ensure there is adequate protection, that they do not feel there is a culture upon them that calls them a burden, so very careful consideration of such a matter is what I would say.

5.2.2The Deputy of Grouville:

I regret to inform the Deputy that the consultant’s report commissioned by the States Employment Board does identify worrying levels of bullying and harassment in the public sector.  I just rise because the Deputy mentioned it.  The report also leads us to believe that established procedures that the Deputy mentioned are failing.  In the light of that, would he like to reconsider his position on that?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The issue is: is this a cultural matter?  There are no doubt instances in any large organisation of overbearing, bullying and harassment.  Is this a culture throughout the department?  I do not know.  I have been an employer, not of anything like the workforce involved, but I want to ensure that we have a motivated workforce that is dedicated and enjoys their work.  I would commit to looking closely at staff engagement.  With a new top team, we must take that forward and do better.  We must clearly do better.  I am also keen to get the complaints process ... this may not relate to staff, though in part it would.  Complaints against the department, it seems so difficult to make.  There is not a visible complaints process.  All departments should not be afraid of complaints.  We should be ready to receive, investigate thoroughly and learn from complaints and I would like to see a more clear complaints procedure within the department.

5.2.3The Connétable of St. Brelade:

We have for many years suffered at the hospital with difficulties in recruiting nursing staff.  How would the candidate propose to address that issue?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Thank you for the question.  There is no magic bullet, just continued vigilance.  In all Western countries, I believe there are the same recruitment pressures.  I think there are things we can do better.  I have heard that when staff are engaged, they are rather left on their own to find their own accommodation or to learn about the complicated or different education system we have on the Island and sometimes that has left them in a state where they choose not to come.  In the same way that high-value residents are assisted to come to the Island and they are assisted, guided through the process of obtaining accommodation, education and so on, we can assist the nurses or the doctors that are coming here.  It is not just about a financial package, we should assist them to relocate here.  Obviously, the financial package is a vital part of the offer and we must work within the States Employment Board to try to enhance that offer.  It is continued vigilance and hard work.

5.2.4Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Would the candidate, if elected as Minister, support the continuing work to improve breastfeeding rates in the Island, if necessary allocating an increased budget to provide the necessary support to families in this area and also working towards the Unicef Baby Friendly Hospital Award?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I would seek to promote breastfeeding, because I believe the evidence is that this is a determinant of good health in later years, so the more we can encourage young mothers to do that.  That is not just about a hospital or a health service, that is about enabling young mothers to choose, if they wish, to stay at home, to care for their child and putting services in place around nurturing young children.

[12:00]

I would be very interested to hear from the Deputy about Unicef and learn more about that, but I have great respect for all that Unicef does.

5.2.5Deputy L.B. Ash of St. Clement:

Would the Deputy agree with the advice given by the public on the new hospital, which I have edited slightly, deleting one or 2 adjectives, but it is basically this: “Just get on with it”?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes.  We desperately need a new hospital.  There are concerns about the state of the building.  We do not want to be in a position where we are having to send people unnecessarily across to the U.K., but there is obviously a concern, even among Members, about the site selection.  We need some quick reassurance about that.  Both of the Chief Minister candidates wanted to do that, so that is surely going to come forward, but not to in any way interrupt the present progress towards a planning application, which it seems to me could go forward in tandem so that we have that ready, if we can see that the present option does deliver a safe, affordable, and efficient hospital.

5.2.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

In addition to a bullying culture, which has been illustrated by Deputy Labey, there is also a culture of cover-up and obstruction.  If I cite the case of Dr. Day, Mr. Alwitry and even my own experience of trying to get records from the hospital, 4 years trying to get records of people - I am talking about in the wider sense with Health and Social Services - with full consent and yet being prevented to get those records so you can help them, what will you do to stop that culture and improve getting remedies for patients?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I do not know the facts of the particular complaint you referred to, Deputy Higgins, but there is no doubt about it, that the administration must be transparent, respecting of course confidentiality issues, but it comes to what I have said about an open complaints process and being willing to learn from complaints findings, complaints that are investigated by an independent person.

5.2.7Deputy R. Ward:

Can I ask the Deputy, will you pledge to reducing the cost of seeing a G.P.?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I think we have to wait for the report that has been commissioned because there is a universal recognition that this is a problem.  Exactly how we do it: well, this is what the report will hopefully have investigated and give us some ideas because it is not just a case of using the income support system because we know that there are families that fall outside of income support but are still experiencing hardship and there are also the people who have not been here 5 years and are not accessing income support but will need access to health care.  So we need to find a sustainable way of doing that but I am not in a position at the moment, and I do not think anybody is, of putting forward any one solution.  We must wait for the studies that are being undertaken.

5.2.8Senator S.W. Pallett:

I am pleased that the candidate mentioned in his very opening remarks health and well-being.  Will Deputy Renouf support a new encompassing strategy for active and healthy living in the Island and - and I stress “and” - commit to providing sufficient funding to allow effective measures to be taken to reduce unacceptable levels of heart and liver disease and obesity, especially child obesity, among other issues that clearly need a culture change?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I would commit to that initiative to educate and encourage all of us to live healthier lives and so avoid the sort of problems we are seeing down the road when people present in hospital for necessary and expensive treatment.  The question of funding, that will be a matter for the Council of Ministers and the next M.T.F.P. but I will fight for better preventative medicine and promoting health and well-being.

5.2.9Deputy M. Tadier:

To misquote an American politician: “There are known knowns and unknown unknowns” et cetera, and in the area of mental health I think there is much agreement but will the candidate give a firm commitment to an independent review of mental health service provision in the Island and if not, why not?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

If elected I feel I would obviously want to go and speak to the service and speak to many people, including Mind Jersey and other voluntary groups, about how we ensure that our mental health services are the best they can be.  So I do not want, simply on my own, so far an uninformed figure, to commit to something that might detract from what is being done but we should not be afraid of opening our services up to independent inspection in the same way that Children’s Services are soon going to be inspected by the outside agency.  There is no reason why in due time all services, including mental health services, should not be open to inspection because did we not learn from the children’s inquiry that we did not recognise what is best and because we are an Island and we learn so much by receiving and learning of what is best from outside sources.

5.2.10The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

Should the ambulance service remain under Health and Social Services or be moved to the front line emergency services under Home Affairs?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

That is a most interesting question, can I say to the Connétable?  It is a detail and I would need to examine the case being made for it.  So I hope this does not sound like a cop-out but I am not in a position to assess a detailed issue like that but would want to work with Home Affairs of course, if elected, to ensure that we have the most appropriate service for the Island.

5.2.11Deputy K.F. Morel:

With a view to reducing hospital waiting lists, if elected, will the Deputy take any measures to ensure that the hospital consultants are contractually obliged to prioritise their public sector responsibilities over their private sector work?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The hospital consultants do work under contracts with the Health Department to offer a fixed number of hours per week to the public patients and after those hours are worked then their time can be made available to their private patients.  So it is something that I would always look at to see if there are problems arising, but I would hope that the department always ensures that the consultants do provide their contracted time.  I think there has been an issue around the use of the M.R.I. (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner for public and private patients but I believe that is being resolved with the co-operation of the consultants and indeed more staff are being engaged to operate the former M.R.I. scanner so that we will have in effect the facility to operate 2 M.R.I. scanners now.

5.2.12The Deputy of St. Peter:

I am led to believe our hospital consultants have a non-disclosure clause in their contracts which is effectively a gagging order.  Their open and frank input to the future hospital given they are our real experts in health must be heard openly and candidly.  What plans do you have, if any, to have this gagging order lifted?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I refer to what I said about supporting a clinical forum so that the consultants, the physicians, all the professionals, can give their views because their views, when they come to us, have been largely channelled through the department and there is no reason why they should not be able to contribute their views, even individually, but it would be most effective and helpful for us, as a Legislature and Government, to receive that through a properly established clinical forum.  I know professional people.  I also think if they would find ways of letting their voice be known, and I do not expect that professional people would defer to politicians or civil servants, so I would encourage professionals who are concerned about any strategic direction of the health service to make their voice known.  We need to hear from everybody who has an interest in Health and Social Services in this Island.

5.2.13Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Can the candidate please inform the Assembly what he plans to do to encourage and support locally born and fully qualified doctors in returning to the Island?  Does the candidate agree that by only offering locum positions it does not give any incentive for those doctors to move their families back to our beautiful Island?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, an excellent question.  Surely this applies across the board to bringing professionals back to our Island who have been trained to a degree level to come and work within our public service.  So let us incentivise that in some way.  Let us pay relocation costs, although I think that may already be part of the package.  I would want to examine ways.  I do not have a magic answer that will bring them all flooding back but I think we must look at incentivising people to return to the Island of their birth.

5.2.14Deputy R.J. Rondel of St. Helier:

Would the Deputy support the adoption or purchase of providing key worker accommodation for doctors and nurses, such as that at St. Helier House, instead of properties such as this being sold off to developers?  I have spoken to many doctors and nurses and their main issues are obtaining accommodation within easy access to the existing hospital.  Many of them come over from the U.K. without ... and are happy not to have cars.  They would like to walk in.  Their big problem is finding accommodation close to the hospital and subsidised.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, it should not just be about a financial return on buildings.  It should be about the best use of our buildings.  So a workforce strategy which identifies that.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

Would you invite, please, Senator Ferguson to return?  Thank you.  We will shortly be moving to a vote, which is an electronic vote, so I invite Members to return to their seats.

[12:15]

So it is an electronic vote for the appointment of the Minister for Health and Social Services.  Please press P if you wish to vote for Senator Ferguson.  Please press C if you wish to vote for the Deputy of St. Ouen and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

Senator S.C. Ferguson: 21

 

The Deputy of St. Ouen: 27

 

Abstain: 0

 

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondre

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mezec

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Deputy R.J. Rondel (H)

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

Deputy of St Ouen

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F.  Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I congratulate the Deputy of St. Ouen in being elected to the new post of Minister for Health and Social Services.  [Approbation]

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Might I just thank the Assembly for its support?  I will dedicate myself to this role and I would commit to working collaboratively with the Council of Ministers.  [Approbation]

 

6.The Minister for Social Security

Deputy J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Just to complete that, I commiserate with Senator Ferguson.  The next post is the Minister for Social Security.  I have great pleasure in nominating Deputy Judy Martin from St. Helier.  She is the senior Deputy of this Assembly, having served for, I believe, 18 years.  She is passionate in her role, having served both in the Executive and the non-Executive and in the old committee system.  She is independent, speaks her mind and will be a valued Member of the Council of Ministers.

The Bailiff:

Seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  Very well, Deputy Martin.

6.1Deputy J.A. Martin:

Before I start I would just like to make an apology to the new Deputy Guida and the Deputy of Trinity because I seem to have made the Deputy of St. Martin move because sometimes when I get a bit passionate I get a bit loud and I think I have made him go deaf over the years, but we are still friends.  We are still friends.  So where do I start?  I have wanted this job for a very long time and over the election period I stated it very many times.  In Senator Gorst’s speech, when he went for Chief Minister, he said he had not had time to speak to me about it and that was fair enough but the issues he had not time to speak to me about ... there was a lot of difficult decisions to be made so obviously after hearing that, and I was still going to go for the job but I needed to go in.  I was going to speak to the staff and I had a really good conversation with the senior management in there on Tuesday afternoon.  I will talk a bit more about that later but all the time I have had a vision about Social Security and it was really, were we having the same vision.  But I had to leave the Island because my mum had had a fall and I could only speak to one of the Members who was going for Chief Minister and asking me what would I want.  I spoke to both.  I spoke to Senator Gorst and I spoke to Deputy Le Fondré and the vision was very similar to mine and it is about: where do you go when you need help in this Island?  Where do you go when your marriage breaks down?  Where do you go when you lose your job?  To me it is about how you are treated and it is not about getting involved in operations.  It is about a culture of customer services and knowing your customer.  We do not even allow the staff in Social Security to give their name.  You go into any other bank, any customer service and your name is here.  Of course it is.  I do not know why this is, as I say.  But the questions I want asked to the woman who has turned up, a single mum or the man who has turned up and now a single father and he needs help; you can see on the application form that they have children.  Do you ask the question: “Have you informed the school?”  There might be a primary school and a secondary school aged child.  “Have you informed the school you have just gone through a marriage breakdown?  You have just lost your job?”  Things are going to change.  “Oh, well, why would you do that?”  Because then the school can keep an eye on them.  There are some excellent counsellors in our schools.  If they do not know that that child is just sitting there and their world has fallen apart... it might not have been a best world in the world.  It might have been some domestic violence or some arguments and when money is getting tight but to that child that was their world and it has just been destroyed and if you do not get in early, you do not ask the right questions, it makes mental health and not supporting the whole family ... you ask the person: “Are you getting enough support, practical support?”  There might be other places you can go and get it.  There is another question as well.  These come up at the hustings.  You have got a family turn up down there and it will probably be that the husband and the wife, because they were both earning, the husband has lost his quite well paid job, £40,000 to £45,000 a year, and the wife is earning about £10,000.  They had a very nice lifestyle.  Great.  Circumstances hit.  Now, the benefit system is never going to support that lifestyle.  So you have filled in all the forms.  You have had the little discussion.  Do you then say to man: “Well, obviously you have got ...” very nicely and not patronisingly, it is how you do these things.  “Well, obviously you are going to have some tax debt.  You have probably got some loans.  You have probably got credit cards because you have had a lifestyle to furnish this.”  If you listen to the Citizens Advice chair in the last few weeks when the elections were going on he still said: “People come down to their debt advisers much too late.”  It is often men.  They are not opening the envelopes.  They are not saying: “I need help.”  I have been saying for 5 years, under-40s, suicide is the biggest killer.  It was not until they put it on Coronation Street that anybody started believing me but it is and if you do not ask these questions you just carry on.  The elderly, when you are knocking doors, the elderly ... and this might be not in Social Security.  I would love to work with a team, the community team at St. Clement which are fantastic, to go out into the community.  I have heard so many times: “Well, yes, my pension went up by £4 and my rent went up by £3.50.”  “Are you sure you are getting enough?  Go and ask.”  “I do not want to go to Social Security”, but they will talk to a community team leader.  They will talk to someone in Good Companions.  If it can work in St. Clement it can work out there.  I want everyone who is entitled to get what ... they deserve to have it.  I do not want people sitting on their hands saying ... it might be £10 a week to them and that is a lot of money.  That is £40 a month they are not getting but everything is going up and we think we are helping them but we are not asking the right questions.  So when I did go in and speak to the officers ... and I gave them my vision and I thought that there could have been gasps but they were looking at me as if to say: “We have not heard this before”, or: “We have heard this before.”  They showed me this chart, One Government.  “Had I seen it?”  “Yes.”  What does it say at the top?  “Customer services.  Customer and local services” and they have a vision of doing this across all of the departments.  So if you are in Social Security and need help there it is so good, I think, what is coming and I would like everyone to be involved in it and I am sure as time goes on they will be.  But the problems are coming.  We had long-term care and we know ... I did have to remind the 2 officers that long-term care will cost more in the new M.T.F.P.  Well, excuse me, after New Directions in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, when we were promised the long-term care scheme, myself and Senator Breckon on Scrutiny went out and got Professor Julien Forder and we did a 6-month review.  There was no policy.  This was policymaking scrutiny if you like.  The recommendations were in 2008, in December.  They said: “We would like to see it in 2010.”  Social Security said: “Possibly 2012” and it came in in 2014.  So do not tell me that I do not know what long-term care is.  It was something I wanted to face early and we are there.  But it is a scheme that is going to keep costing money.  Then the other things, how do we pay for the elderly and that has already been published, it was published in March, how do you pay for pensions?  In the short, say hour and a bit I had to speak to the officers, the main sort of area coming back was, most people who replied said: “People should work longer.”  Now, I would like to know if it was the people who were saying “work longer” were already retired or it was the youngsters.  I do not know that answer but obviously people ... I did say in the department: “I started work at 16.”  A lot of the youngsters do not start until 21 so they are already 5 years behind me.  Do you want to make me work another 5 years?  I am already doing another 2 or 3.  I love work.  [Approbation]  I love work.  I love work, absolutely love it.  So we know that and then we discussed things that are coming through like the good things that are happening with the protection for the year’s leave where you ... alright, if you can afford it but your job will be protected.  There is incoming retirement.  There is a lovely graph they gave me, thinking ahead, living today and thinking ahead.  Income in retirement and I know this is very early days out in ... it is there now.  It is consultation about a work-based pension.  Be like the U.K., opt out, but it is very clever.  The employer has to start paying it and not a lot of people opt out.  Obviously they are taking the employers’ contribution.  One thing I missed is what would I like to talk about and work across departments is ... because I am looking at Deputy Maçon, we have had this vocational ... and I heard it from the, now, Minister for Education, vocational training.  I put it in my last manifesto.  I thought it was being done.  I want to know in schools which children are sitting there at 13 and 14 and the lights have turned out.  They are not naughty but they are not engaging.  I refuse to believe that any child has not got a passion about something ... and construction, we all were there, construction got 6,000 people in it with 156 apprenticeships.  We might need to look at a construction apprenticeship levy and we need to look at the children and construction need to put more in.  Why 156 apprenticeships because they do not do it.  The big firms do not do it.  So there is a lot I have said.  There is a lot I have said.  Well, if 156 for 6,000 will not build the hospital, the airport, the thousands of homes unless you keep dragging people in.  I think I have said enough.

The Bailiff:

I think you have.  I now start question time and I call on Senator Mézec.

6.1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I did not realise I was up first.  I would like to firstly congratulate the Deputy for the uncontested results.  I would like to ask her if she shares my view that the word “customer” should be banned from Social Security and instead they should use a word that is more humanising to people there who are there for help not as simply numbers on a spreadsheet.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

My personal view is as long as the person is treated ... now, are you a customer when you go into the bank and they want your services?  I want the people to be treated with respect.  You can call them a client but if the person delivering the service is not treating them with respect I do not think it will work.  So I absolutely get where the Senator is coming from.  What do I call the people at Social Security?  They are mainly people in need and they need to be treated with dignity.

6.1.2The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

Senator Mézec has almost stolen my question because my first point was I was going to congratulate Deputy Martin, who I think is a worthy Minister for Social Security, and I look forward to her [Approbation] ... we all know that she has wanted this for years and she will deliver and she will bring something completely different to that department.

[12:30]

I hope that one of the differences she will bring is a change of culture and to make people welcome and not afraid to set foot through the door in La Motte Street because we have all heard stories of people who do not want to go in there because of the way they are treated.  So how will she change that culture?  Secondly, how will she communicate to the public that in fact they are welcome?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Well, when I was talking to the officers I did say that I thought from personal experience and going down with people that the turnover on the front office staff was probably higher than most.  Now, they tell me in this survey that was done, it is not.  But is there a tick box?  Is it too little time?  Are we paying the staff enough?  Is there too much of a turnover?  I do not want that.  As I say, in my speech, I want people to be treated ... I want a little bit more privacy in there as well.  I mean when you are asking personal ... and I want to go a little bit further and say these questions.  I am concerned that people leave there when it could say to somebody who has got a lot of debt they are carrying: “Do you want me to make a phone call to Citizens Advice?  Let us get you an appointment.  Just discuss these things.  Tell them that you are not ashamed.”  They will show you the letters that you can write, you know, this is all your outgoings.  Some people do not even know how much they have got going out and down to pence on insurances and pence on ... you know, divide everything, petrol, everything, energy.  I absolutely thank the Constable of St. Lawrence for her words and I want to do this and I think with the elderly, it is what I said in my speech, we are going to have to go out to some of the Parishes because you are not going to ... and I know Senator Gorst discussed this with me as well.  You have got to go out because they still will not go down there.  They think it is a few pounds.  You will probably be surprised.  They are probably owed about £50 a month in some ... you know, so how do I communicate that?  Well, sorry, I have probably gone on a bit too long for that but I will just say one thing.  My first thing is, anybody who is getting even the G.S.T. or not getting the G.S.T.... we should be writing to people.  The department should be writing to people and saying: “Are you getting everything you need?  Did you know there was this benefit?  Did you know there was this?  Did you know there was that?”  Then open up the dialogue.  The budget is there.  Oh, absolutely work.  I mean I said to the Constable of St. Clement, because I know he has a fantastic community team already, and I know others are building on that.  So a trial there and obviously straight out with every single Parish over the next 4 years.

6.1.3Deputy M. Tadier:

There must be a storm brewing because I think a lot of thunder is being stolen.  I have got the words “culture change” written at the top of my piece of paper.  Two particular issues, and that is despite some very good staff at the department who do work very hard and treat people correctly, does the new Minister agree that people should not feel as if they have to call up a politician to attend relatively straightforward meetings with them just to be treated with respect and courtesy?  Secondly, should we consider having public toilets available at Social Security given that it is a public building and people have basic needs?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

To the second part of the question, absolutely.  I have been in there with some ... and they have got toddlers and we have run around trying to find them a public facility and the nearest one is Snow Hill and it is not great so obviously, yes.  I would like to meet all the staff with my Assistant Minister and if I had not mentioned my Assistant Minister is going to be Deputy Geoff Southern and I know a lot of you may think that Deputy Geoff Southern probably knows more about Social Security than me.  Like me, he has heard all the complaints over the years that he starts working with me and we change this culture and it is not about more money.  You do not need to put a name badge on your ... and tell people.  When I write I get from S.S. Administrator.  I do not know who I am talking to on the email.  S.S. Administrator.  No.

6.1.4Deputy J.M. Maçon:

There was good work started under Senator Le Gresley and Deputy Pinel looking at the Back to Work scheme.  We know that the unemployment rate has dropped but can the candidate tell me, or the successful Minister I should say, tell me her views on the self-employed and how we can help those within Social Security to do with the self-employed components?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Well, I think there was a lot put in different people’s manifestos about looking at how do we make contributions or how do we make people who maybe want to start a small business feel secure in that first year and you are not on them straightaway.  This is a piece of work.  From what the officers told me and that, as I say, just over an hour and a bit on Tuesday, not sure enough is being done but I definitely want that done.  The Back to Work, it is up and it is down.  We are going to get a big influx of children very shortly.  Now, do you deal with every child, and I want to?  I do not want to deal with just the children whose families are on income support that are going to cost ... or they know who they are.  This is: how do we get out there?  Everyone should be welcome in Social Security.  If you are offering a scheme to a young child with a family who are on income support, you offer it exactly the same to the other child from a family who are just above that level or might have a lot of money.  I am sorry, the child needs to be nurtured all the way through.

6.1.5The Connétable of St. Helier:

Deputy Martin will probably not have had time to read this month’s Parish magazine.  [Laughter]  Shameless promotion but my column this month is entitled The Loss of Welfare and in it I point to the 2 issues around income support about whether it is as targeted in its benefits as the former welfare system for all its problems but most importantly, is it as caring for members of the community as the former welfare system?  Is it picking up people in need or are people being left often sick and in some cases dying and not being picked up by the current system whereas the Parish system, if you did not come for your weekly money someone would be knocking on your door to find out why you had not?  I am already hearing from her encouraging signs that she would like income support to be more going out into the community but will she assure me and Members that income support under her will have that quality of Parish welfare, really going out into the community to find the people in greatest need?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Thank you to my Constable for that question.  I think it is a matter of going forward, especially St. Helier.  We will not know everybody, even under the old welfare system, but it is building on what the Parishes can offer and what income support can offer and building up the community teams in the Parishes.  I mean, as I say, I can only talk about the one, the really good one I know from St. Clement and the teams need building up.  It is about the respect.  I mean the post office, the knock system, and they notice if somebody is not there.  We need everybody to do that.  We made a decision to go to income support.  There were some Parishes who did it fantastic under the welfare and there were others you heard discrepancies and people ... I lived there in that St. Clement or I lived there and we are now in St. Martin.  They get £30 a week more than me and that was not fair either.  So, as I say, I think it is the culture.  I look forward to this customer service.  It is we are giving a service to the people in need when they need it.  The majority of their time they are working and contributing to it.

6.1.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Would the new Minister go a step further in terms of knowing the names of the people working in the department and instigate a named contact system whereby Islanders have the same person that they can ask for by name and they do not have to repeat their circumstances over and over again?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

I thank the Deputy for her question.  I think this is why because I have done it, we have been in there, I have been in there with people.  If you are speaking on the phone: “We are not really supposed to give our name.”  I need to understand this is why and then you phone back, you think you are going to get that extension and you do not get the same person and you start all over again.  Especially when I was in Children’s Services the contact for the Care Leaving Team we tried to build at least ... that team of 3 down at Social Security because the family worker supports who were moving these children around from the care to live-in and getting benefits ... at that point I think we got a couple of named people but probably not so good now because the people have left but that is the sort of thing we want.  It is either group names but why do you not ... and you have got your workload, you follow it through and you know that it is.  If that family turns up again you have successfully got them back into work but it does not work out.  If you are still there why would you not?  Do you not go to the bank, anyone here, and stand back and go: “No, I am going to wait for Mary”?  You know, we do it but if it is your contact and they know your history, why would you not?

6.1.7Deputy R. Ward:

May I ask the Deputy, will the Deputy support raising the cap on social security contributions to ensure high earners pay an equal rate to low and middle-income earners?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Well, this is a question that where do you raise and who does it hit and there has always got to be a lot of work done on this.  It is not just a straightforward answer.  Yes, it may well hit some of the higher earners but when do you start bringing more people who are in the middle.  I cannot say I would absolutely support ... well, I will not say I support because I need a proper in-depth review.  We have discussed this.  I have discussed this with other Deputies and people on the ... you know, before election.  It seems a very easy win but is it?

6.1.8Deputy G.P. Southern:

The decision has already been made to scrap the Social Security Advisory Board which consisted of fairly well-to-do people who advised on policy to the Minister.  Does she support my concept of replacing the Social Security Advisory Board with a benefit users group, people who use the services, who could advise the Minister how delivery is going?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Well, if one board is going out and there is ... as you say, who knows best about things than people who have been through it?  Who can advise other than people who have been through it?  I need to have this discussion behind closed doors, probably with my Assistant Minister. 

6.1.9Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier:

Would the Deputy support the extension of the Food Costs Bonus and the Cold Weather Bonus to include all disabled people?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Again, I fought for the reintroduction for level 2 when Senator Le Gresley ... which is the disablement for children.  Yes, it is something we need to look at and, of course, if you have got a disability you are in your place more and if it is cold you probably use your heating more.  You need to know the evidence.  I am not against that and probably ... you know, and I think I knew the amount of people with disabilities you need to see, as I say, where and why but I need to probably look into that more.  I am definitely not against anything that will help people to have a better standard of living, especially if they have a disability, children or adults.

6.1.10Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Firstly, I would like to congratulate my fellow Deputy on her position here.  Sometimes the longest journeys end in the most rewarding destinations.  Would the new Minister commit to continue to support the work I started in digitising the services supplied by Social Security Department to stop unnecessary visits to the department and work with whoever the new Chief Minister passes the responsibility of government digital transformation to?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

I thank my fellow Deputy - as my daughter calls him, my third son.  Look, we heard from the Minister for Education.  We know from the comments of Deputy Higgins, we know digital is the way forward.  It has got to be open.  It has got be out there.  I mean I put in my manifesto ... I know as well we bring in loads of experts and the banks do, I think, on very short-term contracts.  Where does that feed down to our older students?  It does not.  That could be things to do but absolutely support the Deputy from all accounts, and who I have been speaking to, when digital was really bringing that forward and I hope that is not lost under the new ... well, it will not be lost if I have anything to do with it.  It is a must.  It is the way forward.  It changes every day.  I cannot keep up with my 7 year-old grandson on some of the digital but he is showing me.

6.1.11Deputy J.H. Young:

In the exciting transformation that the new Minister has described will she find space in her work programme to look at the issue of pensions in the Island?

[12:45]

I think particularly where you have people of advanced years who are not getting full pensions, very small pensions, which is really quite astonishing, and will she be looking at that to provide greater flexibility in our inflexible rules that are there at the moment?  The other aspect: will she also be looking at young people to see what they can do to build up additional pensions so they do not end up in the same situation later in life?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Again, with the last part, there is already work going on at the workplace pension and, as I say, it is an opt-out in the U.K., it is an opt-out in Guernsey.  There will be legislation coming through in 2020 and it has got to be done.  It has absolutely got to be done.  As I say, I repeat this, from what I heard from the officers it is very acute because the employer employs me and he has to start paying my workplace-based pension day one and he takes my contribution.  Even when he explains to me: “Oh, well, that is for your pension.  You do not need it if you do not want to.”  The majority in the U.K., and it has been running for a few years now, do not opt out and these are young people.  Some probably over 60 might opt out.  They probably cannot see ... but it is working.  Guernsey is introducing it.  The pension inflexibility I think that goes back down to working with the Parishes.  If you have got a small pension there are benefits in Social Security that should be topping it up.  If people are not applying we need to get out with the Parishes, find out why, what is the stigma and obviously sometimes it is the location.  How do you get into La Motte Street if you have got a slight... well, there is no parking near but any sort of small ... you cannot walk that far so Parishes and that sort of thing working together.

6.1.12Deputy K.F. Morel:

Will the Deputy ensure that the very welcome change in culture that she is planning is extended to suppliers as well as customers?  Many of these suppliers deliver services to Social Security but are often hindered or find their work made more difficult by the prevailing culture?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Speaking to the new executive officer and talking to the officers in Social Security; the customer and local services, to me that is a 2-way street.  If you are expected to deal with somebody you expect them to deal with you and vice versa if you are supplying or buying-in a service.  So, to me, it seems really exciting that we are going to be dealing completely in a new culture where we put services and customers first.

6.1.13Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The previous Minister, from memory, withdrew income support from under-25s who were living at home and that has caused hardship in a number of families.  Does the Minister intend to revisit this and look at the damage it is doing?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Well, it is all about where is it kicking in?  There are lots and lots of families who probably do not need that but there are families who are just over and because they do not get any support ... their child does not get any support until they are 25.  So there is nothing I am ruling out not to look at but we must all remember this is a cost and the Minister for Social Security ... I am not sure if it was the last one or the one before who took this away, but I do not want that ...

The Bailiff:

We shall never know.  [Laughter]

 

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

The Bailiff:

The adjournment is proposed.  The States will now stand adjourned until 2.15 this afternoon.

[12:49]

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

[14:15]

7.The Minister for Infrastructure

The Bailiff:

Chief Minister, you wished to nominate to the Infrastructure Department.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am delighted to nominate Deputy Kevin Lewis.  He hopefully comes to D.f.I. (Department for Instructure) from the Corporate Scrutiny Panel.  However, he also comes with extensive experience of this role having served as Assistant Minister of the old T.T.S. (Transport and Technical Services) Department for 3 years and then Minister for 3 years.  I think one of his claims of fame he will say is that possibly in the company of the very former Minister for Transport and Technical Services, which is presently Constable of St. Brelade, Deputy Lewis was, I think, responsible for bringing double-decker buses back on to the Island.  I regard him as a safe pair of hands and I commend him to the Assembly.  I do just want to make one point.  We have talked about various restructurings and things what will happen in terms that the structure of the department will be reviewed and I would suspect at that point, because D.f.I. not only includes the old T.T.S. Department but also the Property Holdings Department and I suspect that we would want to be looking whether strategically Property Holdings would still continue to sit in there from a point of view of efficient management of resources and things from a political perspective.  I just mention that.  Anyway, I commend him to the Assembly and I make the nomination.

The Bailiff: 

Seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?

Senator K.L. Moore:

I would like to nominate Senator Pallett.

The Bailiff:

Is that seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  Very well, Senator Pallett, would you please go with the Usher who will conduct you to a room where you cannot hear what is going on?

7.1Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour:

I would like to thank the new Chief Minister for nominating me and indeed cutting my speech in half.  Having first been elected in 2005 I have completed 3 years on Scrutiny.  My next term of office was as Assistant Minister for Transport and Technical Services, now the Department for Infrastructure.  As Assistant Minister I was in charge of Community Safety Fund and I used this to fund the purchase of many speed indicator devices or “smiling Sids” as they were known and I gave one each to each Parish and they really caught on and many Parishes bought their own to supplement this.  We had a capacity at the time on the buses so we managed to get the loan of a double-decker bus from the U.K. as an experiment and this was a great success and very popular with the public but sadly the bus was on loan and had to go back.  But it was decided that this was the way ahead and the then company complained that it would take far too long to order the 2 buses required as there was a long delivery timetable.  So we suggested that as there was a recession on we could buy 2 demonstrators and they said: “They would never sell them”, so we said: “Well, there is a recession on believe me they will sell them”, which they did.  They were top of the range with leather seats and Wi-Fi which proved very popular with people coming into work.  Three years later I became Minister for Transport and Technical Services and the following 3 years were challenging.  A new sewerage plant was needed, the bus contract was going out to tender - the contract eventually going to LibertyBus, which proved very successful - and a new flood alleviation scheme under Phillips Street connecting with Bath Street to stop town flooding around the Minden Street area.  I was delighted that we finally sorted the incinerator fly ash problem.  This was ongoing for some time.  We were not able to export the fly ash to France for disposal as we are not part of the European Union.  So anything we exported to France went on the total exports of the United Kingdom and we could not do that without their permission.  After long negotiations with Defra, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, we eventually signed a deal to send the fly ash to the United Kingdom for treatment and disposal.  Other projects were the ongoing flood alleviation scheme at Beaumont.  This low-lying area of Jersey is susceptible to flooding and the second phase of seawall reinforcement will begin soon.  Regarding outsourcing I am certainly against that.  When I was last Minister at T.T.S. at that time we had an early morning breach of the seawall at Beaumont.  We had many of the team up to their waist literally in ice-cold seawater putting the sandbags back and keeping the sea water out of Beaumont.  That kind of loyalty and determination cannot be outsourced.  I will continue with my work in the Safer Routes to School project which is ongoing.  Fort Regent is a wonderful amenity for sport and leisure but it is tired and in desperate need of an upgrade.  I have taken issue with the people responsible at the Fort.  I complained that children still had access to the old cable car station which is full of asbestos and other nasties.  I was told that this was not the case.  I then produced photos that I had just taken half an hour before of myself at the cable car station and just a short time ago youths were seen at the station and planks of wood were being thrown down to Snow Hill Car Park below.  Luckily no one was injured but the cable car station must come down as a priority.  While previously Minister I was keen to reach agreement with our Guernsey colleagues for the possibility of taking their waste to burn in our incinerator.  Sadly an agreement could not be reached as I could not enter any agreement that would cost the people of Jersey money.  Looking forward, I am well aware of the alleged encroachments on the foreshore in St. Clement and I would seek a fair and equitable solution.  Also the proposed sale of land in St. Martin, which is located within a coastal national park will be reviewed.  [Approbation]  I will also be seeking to move forward with the eastern cycle track which has taken far too long to come to fruition.  The current major projects of course are the new hospital, which I understand will be brought back to the new Assembly, final parts of the sewage treatment works, which will be kept, to prevent much of the odour and improve the quality of life of many residents in the First Tower area; and of course Les Quennevais School project which is ongoing.  I am very keen to promote urban regeneration especially in St. Helier.  There are far too many buildings left empty such as the La Folie Inn, which has been empty and neglected far too long and could be put to good use.  I would also work closely with other Ministers to fast-track projects that are in the public interest and keep Jersey moving.  For instance, Savile Street in St. Helier has been closed for over a month because a chimney is unsafe so the road is closed and barred off to traffic and pedestrians.  This is a main artery through town and should be dealt with as a priority.  If elected I would speak immediately to the Minister for the Environment to see if this could be fast tracked.  I thank Members for listening and invite questions.  [Approbation]

7.1.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I heard in the candidate’s opening speech about his desire to address Safer Routes to School.  I absolutely support that.  As the candidate will know, it has taken us 20 years at Georgetown to get a crossing.  We now need one on Bagatelle Road near J.C.G. (Jersey College for Girls).  Can the candidate please tell me what type of priority he will give this and is it acceptable for a commuter to wait 20 years for a crossing?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I thank Deputy Maçon for the question.  The first one he was referring to I believe in Georgetown; there is only one crossing in the whole area, which is in Bagot Road.  Going east the next crossing you will come across is on the Grouville coast road near the old petrol station, which is ludicrous.  The one in Bagot runs between the pub and the betting office.  There are many housing estates on the road so there will be a priority in putting a crossing there.  The one at Miladi Farm I believe is scheduled for September, so I will be chasing that one up.  Bagatelle Road also bridges both of our personal districts and there are plans afoot possibly for a new sports field there and in the near future, or not so near future, possibly a new primary school.  So we will be looking at crossings in that area, definitely.

7.1.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

The last Strategic Plan echoes past projects by the States dating back to P.40 of 2004 highlighting the unfairness of the situation whereby St. Helier ratepayers uniquely pay for public facilities like toilets, parks, and gardens and so on whereas around the Island these facilities are provided by D.f.I. at the cost of the taxpayer.  This matter was supposed to have been resolved by the last Government but was not.  Will the Minister give his support to resolving this very old unfairness?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

More than happy to have talks with the Constable on that.  The Constable will recall when I was T.T.S. Assistant Minister with the former Minister, the present Constable of St. Brelade, I did have a meeting and we signed a deal which meant that the Parish would clean everything within the Ring Road and outside the Ring Road T.T.S. would handle, and that has proved very successful.  So I am more than happy to have talks with the Constable for ongoing projects such as this.

7.1.3Deputy M. Tadier:

Recent testing of air quality levels in the tunnel shows that it was unfit and unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists.  Will the candidate propose closing the tunnel to pedestrians and cyclists and if not, what will he do to mitigate the safety of those users?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, the Deputy raises an interesting point.  The tunnel does slope from east to west a considerable amount so there should be a natural airflow but in the busiest times, which I think is what the Deputy is referring to, the air quality is definitely very poor.  That is something I would need to take up with Environment regarding air quality, but more than happy to look into that.

7.1.4Deputy M.R. Higgins:

On the question of crossings and traffic: is the Deputy sympathetic to additional crossings being put on St. Aubin’s Inner Road and a reduction of the speed?  It is recognised as one of the most dangerous roads in the Island and it is a very heavily residential area for not only the elderly but also for young children as well?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes.  I believe the Deputy is referring to the First Tower area inner road ... yes, he is nodding.  Yes.  Well, there is a home there for senior citizens.  There are children’s schools.  It is a dangerous area.  More than happy to look into that and take it up with the Department for Infrastructure.  I know the emergency services are not in favour of any sleeping policemen or anything of that nature but a speed reduction would certainly be on the cards.

7.1.5The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I would be interested in the candidate’s views on user pays waste charges.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Very topical.  User payers: I am bit old-fashioned.  I am not into really all the user pays facilities.  I would like to take D.f.I. back to the old days where it is a service to the community.  [Approbation]  Everybody pays their taxes.  Everybody pays their rates.  If we bring in huge user pays for ... we are getting a little bit of fly-tipping at the moment, it is not too bad, but fly-tipping does happen.  It is very annoying and inconsiderate to other people.  I am looking at our colleagues in Guernsey.  If we bring in charges for dumping then we are going to get more and more fly-tipping and I think all the Constables will have their work cut out with people clearing up the mess.

7.1.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Would the candidate, if elected as Minister for this department, look at the provision of parks and green spaces around the Island, particularly in densely populated Parishes such as St. Saviour and seek to provide more of these to enhance Islanders’ well-being and quality of life?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Absolutely.  I love our parks.  I am very proud of the parks that came under D.f.I. and indeed the Parish parks.  We have our own parks within the Parish.  I would like to see them used more.  It is a shame that most of the park keepers have now gone.  I knew most of them by name but I cannot turn the clock back.  But parks are well kept; we have got a lovely Town Park.  We have got Howard Davis Park in St. Saviour.  We have got Patier Park.  If we can create more parks I would certainly be in favour of that.

7.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

What will the Deputy do to increase recycling rates which currently languish at just 31 per cent Island-wide?

[14:30]

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, I agree, a lot of Parishes are bringing in recycling now.  A lot of it is Parish run.  Obviously D.f.I. run it too.  I know that our own Parish of St. Saviour are negotiating with several contractors at the moment to increase recycling rates.  I think people are very recycling aware, people have seen The Blue Planet so people are very conscious of plastics going into the sea and being dumped generally.  People are more aware of what is happening in the world, which can only be a good thing.  I believe in education rather than punishing people but I am more than happy to promote that.

7.1.8Senator K.L. Moore:

What future does the Deputy see for the Sustainable Transport Policy?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

There is always room for improvement.  The transport policy is going well, the bus service is excellent.  We have an ever-increasing population which puts stresses on everything we do.  If you look in most Parish lanes you will see stones set in the wall guards, they were to stop wagon wheels hitting the wall and breaking them.  So everything we do basically we are retrospectively fitting so we need to reduce traffic as much as possible.  It would be great to have a free bus service, but I know that cannot happen, but we need to reduce traffic, reduce cars, make everything a little more pedestrian friendly.  I mentioned earlier about the eastern cycle track, we need to get that up and running again.

Senator K.L. Moore:

I was going to ask a supplementary, if I may.

The Bailiff:

I will come back to you.  You are the very first supplementary question if we get there.

7.1.9Deputy J.H. Young:

A similar question of traffic congestion.  What are the candidate’s thoughts on what options are available to deal with the extent of increasing traffic congestion due to the high number of vehicles on the road, particularly as we increase the amount of development taking place west of the Island, west of Beaumont roundabout and so on?  What are his thoughts on that?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

It is a major problem, especially as we just have … unlike the U.K. we cannot build bypasses around everything, we have to retrofit whatever we have.  There is something called wave refraction, kinetic wave refraction, where we have 2 lengths of traffic going west at 40 miles an hour and converging into one lane at 30 miles an hour, everybody braking so in rush hour you get a tailback coming back to the Grand Hotel.  This is something we cannot really avoid because of the narrowness of the road, without taking people’s gardens away, but then we would only push the problem further on.  I think what maybe would help is if people staggered their going home times, if somebody is retired, please do not come into town until maybe 10.00 a.m., 10.30 a.m. - avoid the rush.  Obviously, we have parents dropping their children off at school on their way to the office, if we could have more and more children on school buses that would help alleviate the traffic.  In St. Saviour alone I think we have 11 schools, so everything is very much under stress and town is really a bottleneck in the morning.  I am not sure what I can add to that but I am more than happy to go along with that.

7.1.10Connétable J. Le Bailly of St. Mary:

We in St. Mary have 2 sections of the Parish which receive constant complaints due to excessive speed.  These go back as long as 6 years.  Both are in tourist areas and pose a danger to pedestrians.  Would the Minister be able to revise limits on these areas, a.s.a.p. (as soon as possible)?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I am not quite sure which areas the Constable is referring to but all areas are open to revision and we do have regular input from all Constables regarding speed limits in their districts.  We work very closely with the Constables.  Speed was reduced in St. Mary, as the Constable is well aware, down to 20 miles an hour in certain areas.  The cobblestones were put in, which some people love, some people hate, and also the virtual pathways were put into slow traffic down and give people a safe space.  But everything is open to revision.

7.1.11Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Would the candidate commit to working with the Deputies of St. Helier District No. 1 and the Constable to create additional public parking down at La Collette to service the businesses and residents of Havre des Pas and around the area?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

More than happy to do that if space allows.  Also possibly expanding the bus service further in that area would be an advantage.  There are smaller buses that can be used.  More than happy to take that on board.  If we can find the space to put car parking down there, then excellent, more than happy to do that.  As I mentioned previously, I am very much into the regeneration of St. Helier.

7.1.12Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

Does the Deputy think it is fair that every taxpayer on this Island pays for large commercial and profitable businesses to have their waste disposed of?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I think the Deputy is referring to commercial waste disposal.  I think possibly for commercial waste there should be a fee involved. I was talking about domestic waste previously but I take the point.

7.1.13The Deputy of St. Mary:

Would the candidate seek the necessary funding to extend the present main drain services to those areas of the Island which are not presently so served?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Indeed, it is something that has been on the cards for many, many years.  There are obviously areas of St. Mary and St. John and all points north really that may be not on mains drains or people slightly inland away from the main road, and we need to put pipework into put people on mains drains.  There are 2 ways of doing it, either you take the road up all the way through to whichever hamlet appears to be needing the mainstream supply or you take it across the farmer’s field.  To take it across the farmer’s field sometimes a large fee is demanded.  If a lower fee could be negotiated I am sure that can be brought through.  I am all in favour of getting as many people as possible on to mains drains.

7.1.14The Deputy of St. Peter:

A speeding one.  While walking all the roads of St. Peter, the number one local issue was speeding.  I received about 25 separate requests for speeding controls on their individual roads.  This is unreasonable to deliver.  What does the Deputy think about a simple Island-wide speed limit reduction which is rigorously enforced?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

A bit of a tricky one.  A speed reduction, a lot of people love them, a lot of people hate them.  I do not know why people are in such a hurry, we are 9 miles by 5 miles but everybody seems to want to get home very, very quickly.  You usually find that when a speed reduction does take place, the first people to be prosecuted is someone who lives in the area.  We do need to keep speeds down.  As I mentioned, speed indicator devices act as an aide-memoire for a lot of people who do not realise they are speeding and the Honorary Police do a fantastic job of warning people and subsequently fining them if they are always speeding.  But as I mentioned previously, the emergency services do not like speed humps or anything of that nature, and chicanes are very unpopular.  It is more education, I think.  As I said, more power to the Honorary Police to be out there with their speed guns.

7.1.15The Deputy of Grouville:

Does the candidate believe that giving notice to a farmer producing food in fields in the national park zone to be in the public interest?  If not, what does he intend to do about the tender process that has been set in train?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, I believe the Deputy is referring to the St. Martin field?  Yes.  As I mentioned in my speech, that will be reviewed.  There is a policy at the moment which is being adhered to.  It is the policy that needs changing or reviewing.  I did say in my speech that the sale of land will be reviewed and that is what I intend to do.

7.1.16Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Is it true that the smiling S.I.D.s (Speed Indicator Device) have speed meters inside them?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

In the modern one, yes, it is.  The smiling S.I.D.s, or speed indicator devices, do have a memory which can be interrogated.  There is a plug-in computer and the Honorary Police have them.  They plug them in and if there is a persistent offender that passes at say 6.30 a.m. in the morning doing 49 miles an hour, they can be there the following day and, hey presto, there is a ticket issued.  I am not sure how often they are used but I know that the Honorary Police and possibly the States Police have access.

7.1.17Senator K.L. Moore:

Would the candidate commit to implementing an Island-wide recycling collection system?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I would not say I commit but I am more than happy to look at that.  As I mentioned, I am all for recycling.  Everybody is more recycling aware, we are all very conscious of plastics, so it can only be a good thing.

7.1.18The Connétable of St. Helier:

I do not think the candidate understood my first question so I will reiterate it.  Does the candidate feel that it is fair that every public toilet around the Island used by the public and by visitors is paid for out of taxation and administered by D.f.I., but the public toilets in St. Helier are paid for by the ratepayers of St. Helier?  Will he take steps to address this unfairness?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Indeed, it is a double-edged sword because toilets in town encourage people in town and they spend money in shops.  But, as a rule, yes, it should be a fair and equitable system and more than happy to look into it.

7.1.19Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat of St. Helier:

What will the Deputy do in relation to the Jersey Netball Association?  He mentioned Fort Regent.  This is a sport which is competed by the age groups 5 to 80 and they will lose their facility in 2 to 3 years’ time.  What will he ensure is done?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

As I mentioned in my speech, I think that Fort Regent is an excellent facility.  It does have the excellent sports facilities there which I have used myself.  It is also an excellent leisure facility, it has a wonderful theatre.  There is a perception that Fort Regent is not used much but if one did a head count at the door on a daily basis I think everybody would be really surprised exactly how much use Fort Regent does have.  One of the problems we have with Fort Regent is parts of it are ageing, the pool needs to come down, the cable car area needs to come down as matters of priority and we need to improve access to Fort Regent as quickly as we can.  The access of Fort Regent needs to be improved.  Fort Regent was built as a fort to keep people out so when we did away with the cable cars it did exactly that.  A lot of people in town would like to go up the Fort during a lunch break or whatever so we need quick and easy access from the Snow Hill area straight into Fort Regent.  Also, I think I have mentioned previously that the roof is leaking and needs seeing to.  It does need money spent and I will be speaking to the Chief Minister regarding that.

7.1.20Senator L.J. Farnham:

Will the candidate undertake to review the schedule of the beach-cleaning operations?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, I am more than happy to look at the beach-cleaning operation, also obviously we want to get rid of this awful green …

The Bailiff: 

Thank you, Deputy.  If you would like to withdraw, please.  The Usher will make arrangements for Senator Pallet to return.

[14:45]

The Bailiff: 

Senator, are you ready go?  All right, I call on you to speak.

7.2Senator S.W. Pallett:

Can I first congratulate all Members on either their election or re-election?  It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to try and persuade you that I am the candidate best placed to take the Department for Infrastructure forward in the interim until our Chief Minister and Chief Executive have determined the necessary operational changes going forward.  I was elected with a Senatorial mandate of over 12,000 votes based on a manifesto that was clear, and I was looking to play an active ministerial role in the Island’s next Government.  I believe that the wider electorate, and in particular those who voted for me, expect those with an all-Island mandate to seek ministerial office.  I feel therefore it is only right that I challenge for a seat on this Council of Ministers.  My manifesto is clear in that it proposed a new active Jersey strategy to encourage healthier living, a sustainable future for Fort Regent, improved green, walking and cycling infrastructure to reduce the reliance on cars and the delivery of a new hospital as a priority.  All of which, I believe, I can best achieve through being the next Minister for Infrastructure.  But why me and why now?  As my campaign slogan stated, I have the energy, leadership and experience to serve my Island.  For those new Members, and maybe some who are unaware, I was previously the Connétable of St. Brelade.  Through this role I am proud to have delivered various road improvements in the Parish, carried out the first Parish-wide review of speed limits, introduced the kerbside recycling scheme and worked with T.T.S. to deliver the refurbishment of St. Aubin.  During my first term in the States I served on 2 Scrutiny Panels as both chair and vice-chair and was part of several important reviews.  I seek ministerial office with the understanding of the need for strong and effective scrutiny.  I shall endeavour to be communicative and to consult with a new panel once it has been elected.  My second term saw me appointed as Assistant Minister at both Economic Development and the Environment Departments and I served 2 spells as Assistant Minister at Education.  During this period I had responsibility for sport, licensing and the R.N.L.I. (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeguards, but it is within sport that I have had the most success in delivering a new independent body for sport in Jersey Sport.  Delivery of the hugely successful Island Games here in 2015, which included improvements to a number of sport facilities that, as a legacy, have benefited Islanders.  The introduction of Jersey Sport has seen the development of a physical literacy programme in local primary schools and the introduction of the active referral scheme to assist all Islanders into healthier life choices.  I also formed the Fort Future 50 working party to oversee a realistic plan for refurbishing the Fort.  This has resulted in the necessity to prepare a long-term sports facility strategy, but I will touch on this a little bit later.  Under my political leadership, I want the Department for Infrastructure to be both ambitious and inspiring.  To achieve this I will need to review all 3 sections of the department, waste, transport, and property, to ensure a common vision can be agreed that both the Council of Ministers and the public understand and can endorse.  A good outcome in the past has been to set Guernsey as a benchmark and to aim to do slightly better than our sister Island.  I want us to achieve more and I think we can do that if we work together.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong in wanting each part of the department to be run professionally and commercially, and to generate sufficient income to reduce further reliance on the taxpayer.  Our aim must be to work in the best interests of Jersey and to work more closely with arm’s length bodies such as Ports of Jersey, Andium, States of Jersey Development Company and our utilities.  I forget where I was.  Changes driven by the Comprehensive Spending Review saw a 23 per cent budget cut at the department and the loss of over 150 posts.  It is important that the confidence and pride is re-established so that staff are reinvigorated and new recruits can be attracted.  We know that there are numerous challenges for our road infrastructure and traffic in the Island, it is important that we not fall behind the U.K. and other jurisdictions in road safety.  This is why I shall be championing a comprehensive review of the current Road Traffic Law.  This law served us well since 1956 but requires a major overhaul if it is to be fully fit for purpose in areas such as competence and fitness to drive, drink drive limits, rules relating to cycling and the level of fines for mobile phone offences.  Our road traffic law needs to be progressive and ready to adapt to deal with automation but not reflective of a bygone era. We currently also have a situation where only a minority Parishes have carried out a review of their speed limits in their respective Parishes.  I intend to work with all the remaining Parishes to achieve a level of consistency in speed limits through all Parishes as some limits on quiet country roads are often too high.  I have worked closely with the Constables on this issue and I would hope that this work could be completed in fairly short order.  I want to lead a department that sets the highest ambitions for environmental performance and will lead the charge to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and our levels of plastic waste.  We cannot accept our current travel behaviour.  Our roads network is difficult, if not impossible, to extend and its operational carrying capacity is at near to peak.  New environmentally friendly intelligent transport systems will eventually assist in changing our approach to travel in the Island, especially around St. Helier, but in the meantime, we will need to concentrate on changing behaviours by managing both public and private parking costs, to reduce commuting to work by car and congestion, thus improving our environment.  Currently 24 per cent of people who live and work in St. Helier still commute to work by car.  We need to improve walking and cycling routes through St. Helier so that we can meet the aim of a 15 per cent reduction in peak time travel as set out in the Sustainable Transport Plan.  To date only a 2 per cent reduction has been achieved.  In respect of waste disposal, I support the capital investment in ongoing projects including the new sewage treatment works and clinical waste incinerator.  Unfortunately the past 3 years have been dominated by a debate over waste charges, initially aimed at commercial businesses.  If further consideration is to be given to charging for waste disposal then a consultation process with Members, business and the wider public must take place to determine what waste is to be charged for and at what cost.  In regards to States property, delivery of the new hospital and a new secondary school will dominate the Property Holdings team.  While we have an Assembly-agreed site and funding mechanism, the public are still uneasy about the choice of hospital site and the second planning application is yet to be considered by the planning inspector.  I am supportive of the new Assembly being given the opportunity to confirm the decision through a new proposition, although I believe the time to decide is now, as a matter of urgency.  I have made it clear in my manifesto and to the Constable of St. Helier that I want to work closely with him to improve St. Helier, to invest in currently neglected areas and to finally make our capital the priority that was promised in the last Strategic Plan.  It will require further funding and a holistic masterplan of St. Helier if it is to be an attractive place to live, work and visit.  Working together with the Parish we can regain the confidence of parishioners and reconnect the Parish with the harbour and Waterfront.  Through providing better access for active lifestyles we can make St. Helier a better place to work and live.  Returning, though, to the sports facilities strategy, this strategy has been prepared by Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture in preparation for the need to refurbish Fort Regent.  As Minister for Infrastructure I would be well suited to lead on this and to work with colleagues to ensure the implementation of the strategy.  I consider that far more can be done to leverage better use of the sport facilities run by Property Holdings for the Department for Education and I look forward to working closely with our new Minister for Education to ensure that facilities such as Langford and Oakfield are used to their potential.  I am also keen to ensure that D.f.I. is integral to the delivery of the new Active Jersey strategy in ensuring that sufficient amenities are provided for the public around the Island to enjoy leisure pursuits outdoors.  Active travel will also be a key to improving Islanders’ health and D.f.I. must lead through a dedicated travel co-ordinator if we are to encourage Islanders to walk and cycle to work rather than use cars.  We must invest further in an e-bike scheme and create more safe cycling routes.  The States should be an example on this.  As an Island community we can effect significant culture change if, as a corporate body, the States of Jersey support and encourage a corporate commitment within its 6,500 employees to reduce car use in the workplace.  Colleagues, if elected I shall work collaboratively with Parishes in respect of their road traffic policies and deliver for St. Helier.  I shall support a more active and environmentally friendly Jersey by progressing the Sustainable Transport Plan.  I should be grateful if you will consider voting for me and I look forward to taking your questions.

7.2.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I am grateful that the candidate talked about pedestrian safety and how that falls into his active manifesto.  I note that in the audit paper there is a petition for a crossing at La Moye School.  The candidate will know that in Georgetown we waited 20 years for various crossings.  We now need one near J.C.G. at Bagatelle Road.  So can I ask the candidate what priority will he give to safer routes to school policy within the department?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

Having worked with La Moye School and Mont Nicolle School on safer walking routes during my 6 years as Constable I know how important it is to make sure that children can get to school safely.  Priority does need to be given to making sure that crossings are safe and that we deliver them in a timely manner.  I do not know too much about, obviously, other Parishes and your specific issues around St. Saviour but I think what I need to do as a priority, if I get into the department, is to look at the current issues that are being highlighted by yourself and other Members around their schools and ensure that we get on to it and deliver it as quick as we can.  In terms of the La Moye one, I know that is coming up to debate soon and I know there are a lot of parents that are very concerned about that particular crossing, especially during the afternoon at peak travel times.  So, yes, I am aware of it, it needs to be a priority and it will be raised as a priority, if that is what you mean by raise.

7.2.2Deputy M. Tadier:

The candidate talked about affecting behavioural change when it comes to car usage, does he accept that having been the Constable of St. Brelade there are already many carrots that exist in terms of carrot and stick approach, and there is a very good bus service in the No 15, there is a very good cycle path that exists from Red Houses right down to town but still too many commuters decide, and make the active choice, to sit in traffic which is not moving but still complain about speeding, it would seem.  What disincentives, what sticks are there that the candidate would use?  Would he increase car parking charges? Would he, as his predecessor wanted to do, pursue the policy of taxing private car parking spaces in St. Helier?  If so, how would he safeguard the poorer element in our society who rely on their car to get to work?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

I touched on it very briefly in the speech around car parking charges and I did not use the word “increase” on purpose because I did not want to frighten people to think that as a department we were going to go after private car park use.  But clearly if the stick is to be used then I would prefer to encourage businesses and encourage private car users to have that culture change to encourage them rather than enforce them to do it.  But if we are going to use the stick we have to try to keep cars out of St. Helier and to get cars into St. Helier they have to park, so if it means raising car parking charges that is one of the few sticks that we do have.  I do not want to go there to start with.  I would much prefer to see if we can encourage car share.  I know car share is a great comedy and it just shows what can be done with car shared use but realistically we do not do enough of that.  Our bus service is very good but the problem with the bus service is it only goes as quickly as the cars that are travelling on the road and if we had space - and I mention that again - we cannot widen our roads, there is no space for that but we do need to get more people on buses.  The biggest problem during school time is parents taking children to school.  I think there is an opportunity to work with the Department for Education to try to get … I know it is not every young child at 5, 6, 7, parents feel uncomfortable putting the children on buses, but I think when they get to the age of 9, 10, 11, 12 there is no reason most of those children could not go to school on buses, and I think we need to look at trying to encourage more parents to put their children on buses to school. 

[15:00]

Have more buses on road and less cars on roads, that way we would not have people getting into town purely to take their children to the J.C.G. or private schools, or a lot of the secondary schools that unfortunately the Constable of St. Saviour has to deal with in their own Parish.  I would prefer to encourage but you are right, the only stick really is through parking charges.  That is a consultation with, I think, private car park owners and I think it is a discussion we have to have as an Assembly if that is what we are going to use as a stick.

7.2.3Deputy J.H. Young:

A similar thing.  The Senator has given his views in response to previous questions about car parking charges to help achieve this modal shift in the Sustainable Transport Strategy.  Does he have any views on what other sticks we might thing about, for example vehicle tax?  Even a congestion charge at peak hours.  In fact the other way is lower bus fares to put some real meat behind the strategy.

Senator S.W. Pallett:

I will go to the last point first; I would like to have a conversation with our bus operator around the cost of bus travel.  Guernsey’s travel is cheaper than ours.  I am not sure about the figures but my guess is probably people are more likely to use their buses than they will ours so I would like to get that cost, but in saying that it has to be a viable service and that may mean the States being asked to subsidise that to some degree.  If it gets cars off the road and makes life better for people then maybe we need to do that.  What was the other part?

Deputy J.H. Young:

There was also congestion charges and vehicle tax, fixed vehicle tax.

Senator S.W. Pallett:

Sorry.  In terms of congestion charges, I have heard that mentioned by one or 2 people.  It is something that I think is another stick.  I do not think we are quite ready for that.  Vehicle tax is something we need to use very carefully, certainly in terms of the vehicles that we use, lower emission vehicles we use, for example, is something I am very supportive of.  I think the current system we have for lower vehicle emissions is not right.  I think we need to have another look at that and make it more attractive to people to buy electric cars.  At the moment the emission values are set too low.  I think we need to raise them a little bit to allow people to purchase those at a reasonable price.  You are right, we do need to have a look at other ways of preventing cars.  Congestion charge is going to be a difficult one to manage.  It is difficult to manage in London.  It is going to be very unpopular.  Do I want to do it?  If it will achieve what we need to achieve in improving the environment in and around town and improving air quality for people that live in and around town then I think we need to do that.  If we want to make town more attractive to people to come and live in we need to make sure that the air quality and their environment is better.  I would not rule that out but I would not rule it in without a pretty wide consultation.

7.2.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

Whether using carrots or sticks, if elected what will the Deputy do to increase recycling rates which currently languish in the Island of just 31 per cent?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

Recycling is something that we need to get our head around.  I think it has been good that the Parishes have taken on recycling and 6 Parishes now do recycle, 6 currently do not.  As I have just spoken around speed limits, I think I would like to go and see the Comité and really talk about whether we can achieve recycling in all 12 Parishes.  A lot of that comes down to their parishioners and whether they are prepared to pay the extra cost of it.  Now, we are down to carrot and stick again.  Do I talk to them?  Do I ask them if they can do it or do I impose or do something centrally in regards to a kerbside recycling scheme?  I think I am probably going to have to go back with officers in the department, set ourselves some targets - and I am talking single years - to say to Parishes: “Look, we need to introduce it.”  I know Deputy Tadier has talked about this a lot in the past.  There should be a period of time to try to get all the Constables on board.  I know the department has been hugely supportive and was hugely supportive of St. Brelade in bringing in their own kerbside recycling, and it did not cost a great deal more when we put our own normal rubbish tendering process out to tender.  We got a really good price for it, as the new Constable probably just found out.  It can work but there is going to come a point where I think we need to realise that 31 per cent is frankly not good enough and as an Island we need to recycle a lot better than that.  I want to talk to these ladies and gentlemen first before I again start getting the stick out.

The Bailiff:

Senator, if I may mention, there are 10 Members wishing to ask you questions and you have about 11 minutes left.

7.2.5Deputy R. Ward:

Does the Senator view the outsourcing of services as successful and does the Senator intend to extend this policy, or alternatively reverse this policy?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

How did I know that question was coming?  I think we have been through a very difficult time at T.T.S. and D.f.I. over the last 4 years.  I think your colleagues probably thought that might be the case.  I cannot see it being extended.  My own experience of it, within my own Parish, has not been particularly good.  I have to say that as much as I respect the companies that have taken on some of the outsourcing, I think the standard has dropped.  In some parts, not everywhere, I think some are better than others but I would not see it being extended.  They are quite big figures: 23 per cent cut in budget and 150 jobs is a lot of staff to lose out of a department.  I think the department has stabilised now and I want to get some pride back in that department.  I do not see it being extended.  Operational changes always happen within any business and I think you try to be more efficient but in terms of outsourcing, personally I think it has gone about as far as it can go.  I would not be looking to bring any more in.  I have not spoken to officers yet so I need to understand where the business model is going, certainly within this M.T.F.P.  As far as I know, I think they have done everything they need to do from an outsourcing point of view and it is not something that … I think there are elements of it through the C.S.R. (Comprehensive Spending Review) process, clearly every department had to play their part.  It was going to be painful.  It has been painful in every single department, it has been painful at E.D.D. (Economic Development Department), it has been painful within the Education Department but it was particularly painful with D.f.I. and some of the manual workers there.  I am not looking to extend that pain.  We have to get that pride back in the department and support those workers now, and build that department back to providing the sort of services that they provided prior to a lot of this outsourcing.  It may mean bringing some of it back in.  I have already challenged them over bringing some of it back in and it is something, if I was in there, I might be able to effect.

The Bailiff: 

Nine members, 9 minutes.  Deputy Higgins.

7.2.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The candidate has mentioned crossings around schools. In St. Helier, especially between First Tower and town we have a very highly densely occupied stretch of road with elderly people, schools, et cetera, and the traffic is causing major problems.  In fact it is a highly dangerous road, one of the most dangerous in the Island.  Would the candidate support additional crossings so the people can get across the road without getting halfway and risking their lives and also in reducing the speed limit?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

I have been through this process in St. Brelade where we have had some clear criteria around which road suits certain speeds and some of the roads within St. Brelade were ours and we have introduced traffic calming schemes where they have been heavily populated.  I agree with you.  I think some of the speeds along that section of road are too high.  It is very heavily populated.  I would like to see some data from the department and have a review about what the actual figures are but if speeds are too high … for me it is all about evidence, I think a lot of this needs to be done with good data but if the evidence is here that people are speeding, people are going too fast, there are ways to slow traffic down.  That does not always mean sticking traffic bumps in but there are ways to slow traffic down.  All residential areas within St. Brelade are down to 20 miles an hour.  Frankly, during most of the day on that road you cannot travel much more than 20 miles an hour because there is so much going on.  I think a lower speed limit in there might well assist.  It is a major route into town so there are a few things that need to be balanced up.  I take the Deputy’s point that we have to look at road safety above whether people want to get into town a little bit quicker.  I accept that and I am quite happy to do that work.  It is something I had an interest in in St. Brelade to make sure our roads are as safe as they can be and we do not get the speed limits wrong.

7.2.7The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

I did not think we would get to me. The former Minister for D.f.I., Deputy Noel, tackled many contentious issues that had previously been avoided and I cite taxis as an example.  What does the candidate consider would be the most contentious issue that he may face in short order, if elected?  Is he prepared to tackle it?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

The most contentious issue?  I am probably sitting next to them.  I have had a wonderful relationship with Parish Constables, I think the biggest opportunity for D.f.I. is to work with Parish Constables in regards to all the sorts of issues that we have brought up today.  That relationship between civic and central government is pivotal for making sure that we provide good services to the public.  I do not look at it is as a test, I look at it as an opportunity.  They are probably going to get sick of seeing me because I think they … I hope not.  I look at that as an opportunity.  Contentious issues will come and go but I think grabbing opportunities when they come around, and I think just coming off of the Comité gives me an opportunity to build on some of those relationships, not just with the current Constables - I almost said older Constables but I did not - but with some of the new Constables as well.

7.2.8The Connétable of St. Brelade:

There are suggestions that the States Property Department, Property Holdings, is not an ideal bedfellow with Infrastructure. I just want to know what the candidate’s views on that would be.

Senator S.W. Pallett:

I can understand why people say that.  I can understand why people think there may be a synergy with other arm’s length bodies that we oversee.  If Property Holdings has the correct oversight and we make best use of the property within it, and I do not think we have done that.  I think there is a lot of property that we own that we have left to go to rack and ruin and we have not looked after.  With the right management and the right oversight we can make a lot more of that department.  It is something I have a very close interest in in trying to make it more but it is a small department with a small number of staff and I understand that as part of the cost cutting exercise Property Holdings was cut back.  What that has meant is we have not spent enough time and effort looking at the property we have and making the most of it.  There are issues come up over the last few weeks about southern fields, for example, in St. Martin and whether that it is the right thing to do.  Every single property transaction needs to be looked at carefully and we seem to get it wrong almost every time.  There are things we go to sell and we should not and there are things that we do not sell that we should.  I want to have a look at that department and see what properties … there are over 500 properties in that portfolio.  Again, a lot of opportunity.  I wish I had it as a private enterprise because I think we could make some money out of it.  But that does not mean it needs to be run totally commercially.  There are things that we can do with third sector organisations, for example, to get best use of buildings but we have things we have to deal with.  The big white building on the hill is going to close if Property Holdings and the States do not deal with it.  That is something I have made as a priority so I think we need to make more of that department.  I will probably bring somebody on board within Property Holdings that had that particular interest to drive that forward because other interests might take up some of my time.  It is a 2-person job, D.f.I., it is not a single person as Deputy Rondel would say.

7.2.9The Constable of St. Helier:

The candidate will be familiar with the fine gardens at St. Brelade’s Bay and the Winston Churchill Park behind.  He will be aware of course that those are paid for out of general taxation and managed by D.f.I.  If elected, will he agree that the equally fine gardens and Parade gardens should be funded by D.f.I. or, alternatively, he should ask his former constituents to pay for the parks in St. Brelade?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

I do not think I would be very popular with the latter, having just given up the role, but I take the Constable’s point.  There needs to be a level of fairness here.  St. Helier do take on a lot of central administration.  You are the town, you are our capital and there are undoubtedly costs that you bear for all of us.  I am prepared to review that.  I have said quite openly both on record and off record that I need to work more closely with St. Helier and certainly with you as the Constable.

[15:15]

There are issues, I think, in St. Helier that we need to address, everything from travel issues around the town but also how areas link up.  That is, again, one of the opportunities that I think I have got over the next 4 years, if elected, is the opportunity to do that.  But, again, I think it is good to talk and I think there are opportunities there.  I do not think I would be going cap in hand to St. Brelade just yet.

7.2.10Senator J.A.N Le Fondré:

There is a view that commercial waste charges will just be the precursor to introducing domestic waste charges, which I take the view is effectively a double tax, therefore could the candidate expand on his views on the introduction of domestic waste charges and whether we should be bringing them in or not?

Senator S.W. Pallett:

The first round of waste charges was around commercial waste charges.  Clearly at the current time States Members, the public and especially …

The Bailiff:

That brings questions to the candidate to an end.  Would you please invite Deputy Lewis to return to the Chamber?  Well, we shall now go to the vote on the Minister for Infrastructure.  You vote P if you wish to vote for Deputy Lewis, you vote C if you wish to vote for Senator Pallett.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour: 25

 

Senator S.W. Pallett: 23

 

Abstain: 0

 

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondre

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mezec

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Deputy R.J. Rondel (H)

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

Deputy of St Ouen

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

Deputy K.F.  Morel (L)

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

 

8.The Minister for the Environment

The Bailiff:

We now come to the Minister for Economic Development. Chief Minister?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sir, I can change the order, can I not, if I wish to?

The Bailiff:

Yes, you can.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Except that the candidate has just left, so that is not helpful.  Could we have Deputy Young back in the room, please?  I would like to nominate Deputy Young for the position of Minster for the Environment.  He comes to the role with extensive experience and I am pleased to nominate him for this position.

The Bailiff:

Is that seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations for Minister for the Environment?

The Constable of Grouville:

Yes, Sir.  I would like to propose the Deputy of St. Martin for the role of Minister for the Environment.  He is an experienced politician and has fulfilled the role in the last 3½ years extremely well.  He has a wonderful record of working with the farming community to improve water quality and he is keen to carry on with that work.  The planning side of the portfolio has in the past been a bit of a graveyard but since his time in that office he had avoided controversy and I am pleased to make this nomination.

The Bailiff:

Is it seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  Then Deputy of St. Martin will you please withdraw to a place of safety with the usher.  Deputy Young, are you ready now to address the Assembly?

8.1Deputy J.H. Young:

I was caught by surprise.  I am honoured to be proposed for the vital job of stewardship of Jersey’s environment and ensure it remains so.  In accepting the nomination I want to inform Members about the skills and knowledge that I can bring to the role and the main environment policy priorities, with the likely direction of travel if I am elected.  Let me say, I am pleased to have an election that requires a mandate.  My past record demonstrates that I am tenacious, diligent, and hardworking and have a passion for whatever I take on.  I have been both a civil servant and a politician in government finance, health planning, property management, a private sector law firm, trust company, Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney and I have qualifications in accountancy and compliance and basically what you see is what you get.  No frills, open style.  After coming to Jersey to work in the Treasury and Health sectors nearly 40 years ago I headed up the then I.D.C. (Island Development Committee) and that was my role for 13 years, when there were big concerns about population and big concerns about the need to conserve the coast, heritage, and countryside.  While reforming the old I.D.C. I expanded its role into environment.  In 2002 I formed the Environment Department proper, absorbing scientific functions from public works, Met Office, regulatory from agriculture, setting out and programming environmental legislation, even the Met Office.  Then in 2004 I stood down to make efficiency savings for machinery of government.  There are those who will say that that past experience, that is just too close for me to be the Minister.  But that was 14 years ago and the department has since gone through great change and I have also had many other roles outside the States.  I have worked with Guernsey Planning Appeals Tribunal, I managed a Jersey law firm and dealing with client planning matters and I oversaw the development of a new planning building law in the Island Plan 2002.  It was the crucial problem of the brutal design of Port of St. Helier development that got me into politics.  I stood for Deputy to change things, successfully bring in a proposition to replace the Royal Court Planning Appeal and also amending the Island Plan to protect neighbours from damaging overdevelopment.  Then I served for 3 years as the chairman of the Environment Scrutiny Panel and I praise the work that the Deputy of St. Martin and I worked on, and the energy policy is still 100 per cent valid and it is hugely disappointing to me that nothing has been done to progress our opportunity to exploit renewable energy.  Similarly with the management of health risk from radon.  Now, after my unsuccessful 2014 election I was invited to go and work for Alderney to work as their planning officer.  Three years of weekly commuting I am an expert on inter-island flying, probably about 250 flights.  That is a story for another day.  In the 3 years I produced them a 2017 land use plan working with their political members, working with an outside practice, community, heritage, and environment groups, and all these required many changes to their law, and I worked alongside with the Guernsey law officers for several years.  I took the work through 2 planning inquiries and what I have left behind in that period - I have learnt loads - I have left behind a modern and robust framework of law and policy to help that Island manage the multi-million renewable energy projects that are on their doorsteps.  I know that the chairman of the Guernsey Development Authority, Deputy John Gollop, showed a lot of interest in that work and I have had the privilege of presenting it to the Overseas Territories.  Now, during that time I still assisted Jersey planning appellants, dealing with several planning appeals and representing one case through a complaints board.  I made promises to those people and I made promises to my constituents that I would seek to return as a Deputy and challenge for the role that I am now stood here today.  So today for me is about fulfilling the promise.  I am delighted that I have the nomination of the Chief Minister, which I did not expect, but that is my promise.  Now, environment.  The regulatory work: I am generally very content with the work done by the Deputy of St. Martin on environmental regulation but I think there needs … apart from the fact that I still think we have to improve agricultural practices to reduce groundwater pollution from nitrates and other chemicals and reduce soil erosion.  We cannot tolerate exceeding 50 milligrams a litre which is the E.U. limit on drinking water.  We are one of the worst.  But also we need new policies and research investment into alternative crops, field trials and scientific research.  Of course all that was stripped-out years ago to save money in 2004 when we were getting rid of agriculture.  We need it.  Of course, with Brexit risks, and the Bay of Granville Fishing Agreement requiring renewal now, important work has to be done on fisheries conservation.  But, of course, environment and planning are 2 sides of the same policy coin and, I would argue, together with transport planning and the allocation of States land and property assets which are part of the big strategic picture.  That should include the assets managed by S.o.J.D.C. (States of Jersey Development Company) and other quangos with a policy setting.  Without it there will be limited progress on urban improvement.  Longstanding promises made by town to town residents must be delivered.  The town includes the Waterfront, it needs public investment and an integrated development plan so that people want to live in town.  I want us to plan so that we include more green spaces, parks and play areas, community centres, better pedestrian crossings, tree-lined streets, a hoppa bus and cycle paths.  So we have to have joined-up policies across the ministries to make sure that our residential communities, especially in town, can have those vital improvements.  Environment will be a key player in cross-ministry strategic policy groups planned by the Chief Minister.  That will have to be worked out in the next few months and we will also have to reflect the Civil Service organisational change in the political oversight.  We have to get it right.  I want to see working groups formed on the Island Plan with Parishes and community.  We have to adopt that plan, complete that by 2021 and that has to include, in my view, an interim review of housing, especially affordable housing policies by the end of this year.  That will include producing village plans for future sustainable communities where the Constables identify and evaluate brownfield and infield sites.  I would not, myself, rule out limited expansions of village envelopes if this can be accommodated with the communities.  That will need resources and money in order to get the rigour into that plan.  The draft plan: of course it will not be my plan, it will be your plan because the States have to approve it after a public inquiry. I want to policies to stop out-of-scale buildings being imposed on communities, I want to halt the damage to our townscape by overscaled buildings.  Our green zone is under threat still and we should not encourage schemes that breach policy.  We have Locate Jersey with wealthy residents, seemingly as a bypass for normal planning restrictions allowing mega large mansions which impose on neighbours.  Now they have the resources but ordinary people have to jump through hoops on endless bureaucratic procedures and cannot afford to challenge those decisions.  I want to see our next Island Plan include a policy restriction on the size of such replacement dwellings.  My job will be the midwife of those.  The policy decisions will be yours because the Island Plan policies are set by this Assembly.  My job is to produce it.  Shorelines are increasingly vulnerable from damaging overdevelopment.  The law requires we connect our coast and countryside but many of the Island Plan policies are ambiguous and contradictory and in the process of the Island Plan review we have to sort those policies out.  Strong policy protection and legal powers that designate conservation areas that we have lacked for 2 decades.  That means whether they are landscape, coastal biodiversity or whatever.  Planning law needs amendment to stronger agreements that require developers to provide affordable housing and deal with developers land banking because housing crises cannot be solved by planning permissions, you need intervention.  So we want a system, I want to see the system to be more robust but no more bureaucracy than needed proportionate to development.  Unfortunately, the system bites on the small householder.  Now, we are going to see a new regulatory structure in the new Civil Service structure and I think that is what I would certainly plan to work with so that we can get that right.  One thing I certainly see is that I am beginning to be concerned over the roles of the single planning inspector system for appeals.  I think the system relies too heavily on subjective judgments and we saw a decision yesterday where there was a Royal Court decision on such a matter.  I sat in these inquiries and I think it is about ambiguous policies, which means inspectors sitting on their own have to make judgments, judgments which I think should be made, as I argued at the time, by a tribunal of 3; planning inspector plus 2 others.  That is the system in Guernsey, far more robust.  That is the flavour of the sort of issues I would be bringing forward to you as an Assembly.  I want to be clear, all the policy issues in the Island Plan are yours.  They have to go through production of those policies, consultation with the community, a planning inquiry and the decisions come here.  What I have explained is those matters that I think should be in there.  That is a very quick rush through and the flavour of the issues that, if I am elected, I will seek to progress.  Again, I acknowledge all the work done by Deputy Lewis; he and I get on well together, we work together.  [Approbation] 

[15:30]

The Bailiff:

Thank you very much.  We now come to question time and the first questioner will be Deputy Tadier. 

8.1.1Deputy M. Tadier:

First of all, congratulations on the candidate for putting a good speech together.  Could he comment on what he would do in order to encourage more organic farming in the Island and particularly allotment usages in areas which are perhaps urbanised and where people do not have gardens or patios even to be able to benefit from the knowledge and practice of growing their own fruit and vegetables? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

I think I would like to separate the issue of allotments from commercial organic farming.  I think we absolutely have not done enough to encourage and make it possible for communities that have access to allotments.  I think people have done sterling work in Jersey.  There is an outfit called J.A.L.G.A. (Jersey Allotment and Leisure Gardening Association) I think, the Allotments Association, they have achieved several but we need more.  I know that people are resistant; they do not like it in residential areas, there is planning opposition but I think nonetheless in the Island Plan we have to have policies to make that easier.  On commercial, I think this is an area that requires great study on how we use our agricultural subsidies.  I listened to commitments given by Members in the 2014 Senatorial elections: “We are going to help organic farming.”  I am not hearing it is happening and I think we have got real problems with food determination but that is a subject for study I think. 

8.1.2The Connétable of Grouville:

The candidate mentioned nitrates in water.  Is he aware that the nitrate levels have now fallen below 50 milligrams and would he agree that the policies under the rural economy strategy are working? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Yes.  I mean I did look at the Jersey Water Company figures.  I think they have produced some useful information on the nitrate trends.  I think my criticism of where we are now is that I think there is an element of complacency because when you look at the nitrate levels throughout Europe we are pretty well the worst.  So, yes, it is coming down.  Yes, those measures are working.  But are we doing enough?  I think we have got the issue as well that some of the contamination of course is coming from other potential sources.  So, again, I think this is not an area for complacency.  Did I pick up all the elements of that question? 

8.1.3The Connétable of St. Helier:

Can I start by congratulating the candidate on the brevity of his replies?  Does the candidate support the loss of good agricultural land for development while there are still large brownfield sites capable of providing the much-needed affordable housing in a more environmentally sustainable way? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

The use of greenfields, in my view, is a last resort.  I do not consider we have done enough to identify brownfield sites and worn out commercial sites and I think the reason why they are not coming is from a land value issue and it is because we have had policies where the States are no longer prepared to do what they did in the 1990s, go out and buy these sites and intervene them and develop them for housing.  So I expect that work to go on as part of the interim housing review and I think it needs to cover the whole Island and look at all the opportunities in those villages; I believe there are lots of pockets of land.  We do not have to have very large developments on greenfields, I do not think, but that is the story for the work that I am outlining. 

8.1.4Deputy R. Labey:

Continuing on from that, where it is proposed that greenfields are built on for much needed housing, with a view to food security in the future, should the starting point be the least productive fields and the most productive fields be completely either out of order or a really last resort? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, yes, I mean the principle is right.  Years ago we used to have studies of all the quality of the agricultural land in Jersey and it was all graded and we could work out what was good land, what was bad land, what was suitable for those things.  So, yes, as a principle, that is all part of that work.  I would certainly not be happy ... as I said I see the use of greenfields as a last resort but I do not think we can rule it out, particularly in village envelopes; that is a job for the Island Plan.  But if we have to take those fields they should be limited small scale and proportionate.  There is the issue of whether or not this zoning land helps farmers because at the moment we have a policy that says we can provide limited development to support an agricultural unit; that policy is there and it has been used for small scale schemes but I do not think that sits comfortably with very large-scale schemes frankly. 

8.1.5Deputy R. Ward:

Can I ask the Deputy how you will work with the J.E.C. (Jersey Electric Company) to support investment in renewable energy technologies? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Thank you, I am delighted to try and answer that question; I recall the Scrutiny Panel report.  The key thing in the discussions we had, which was the barrier to us doing things on renewable energy, was the fact that we do not have an energy regulator.  If we have an energy regulator then what we can do, we can have tonnage structures that enables micro-renewables and we can have structures which will enable utility scale but there was an attitude that no, everything is we do it this way, the power comes over the pipe from France, lowest price and I think that whole agenda.  Also is this issue of fuel poverty.  If you want to deal with fuel poverty we need energy regulation.  I have to say if you read that report C.I.C.R.A. (Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities) was strongly in favour of it, it was our Minister for Treasury and Resources of the day who opposed that. 

8.1.6Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Can I ask the candidate what his views are about the building of the international finance centre on the Waterfront in my constituency, please? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Could you repeat that; what on the Waterfront? 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

The building of the international finance centre on the Waterfront. 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, I was not very keen and in fact objected to what I call the wall-to-wall Harcourt plan where the whole site was divided up into multiple office blocks.  I was concerned about 2 things: it was a single use which is going to be a very bad hostile area at night because it is town.  You want to see activity going on at ground floor level, you do not get that with office blocks like that.  But we need some offices so I wanted to see mixed use and in fact what happens is of course so it has proven to be is that there is no market, so it seems, for all those offices and what we have now got, and this was a good process going on, is that masterplan is being reviewed to provide mixed use; no more offices and public uses and probably some housing as well.  Now, that is being done.  That will come back as a new masterplan and, again, that will be a matter for discussing with the Council of Ministers and colleagues and see where we go when we get that work done.  That is ongoing at the moment.  So, no, I do not like that masterplan and objected to it strongly. 

8.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

I apologise, it is a similar question to Deputy Ward’s.  Does the candidate consider domestic scale decentralised renewable energy to be desirable and, if so, what will he do to encourage its uptake and remove barriers to its development on the Island? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, absolutely.  I mean with micro-renewables, photovoltaics, geothermals and so on, you know they are not going to happen unless the householder ... there are 2 ways of doing it.  Either the States pay people money when you give them subsidies to do these things or you have tariff structures that means they can get the benefit of it.  To get the tariff structures than means we need an energy regulator because our electricity provider is not prepared to have feeding tariffs that pretty well operate everywhere else, and having seen it in other places how successful it can be I am immensely frustrated that we do not have it.  It could build up a great new industry.  This Island could become a centre of excellence in international renewable energies.  Utility scale, because we have not asked questions about that, but there are great opportunities there for offshore wind, for example.  But photovoltaics and micro-renewables, it is a great opportunity because we need engineers and people to set, install and run those things. 

8.1.8Senator S.C. Ferguson:

How does the Deputy intend to prevent fuel poverty when encouraging renewable energy, particularly if he installs a subsidy system? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, I think the Senator asks a very sensible question.  It is not an easy matter, that is why we have got people like C.I.C.R.A. to do the studies and give us advice on the way in which you would structure those tariffs.  But obviously it is true that at the moment some types of renewable energies, the costs are very high and require major capital subsidies, but equally I think there is plenty of evidence that, for example, photovoltaics - look at the amount of sunlight Jersey gets - are very much justifiable and viable economically.  I do not want to keep citing it inordinately but I have seen they have got them all over the place.  It really does work but unless we have got tariffs that will enable people to demonstrate they can make a saving I cannot see how it is going to happen.  Sorry, the fuel poverty, I forgot.  Yes, obviously then I think we can structure those tariffs to look at people in co-operation probably with Social Security and the authorities trying to identify those people that need preferential tariffs, yes. 

8.1.9The Deputy of St. Mary:

The previous Minister sought to introduce an infrastructure levy whereby part of the gain attributable to any development was paid over to the States.  That motion was defeated.  Does the candidate have similar views on that and, if not, would he propose any alternative means of achieving, again, for the benefit of the States

Deputy J.H. Young:

Another excellent question.  The principle that I do agree with is that when developers develop land and make major windfall profits, particularly if the land is zoned for housing as a result of public decision, there should be some claw-back money-wise to the public for that gift, if you like, of planning consent and that can take place in lots of forms.  It can take place on having some affordable housing; that is one thing.  It can take place on having planning agreements where they pay us money on infrastructure.  There are lots of different ... now, I do not know the details of this infrastructure levy and how that was intended to work but if the principle ... I think the problem with it, it was the blanket thing whereas I think one needed a much more selective thing so there is a relationship between the amounts paid and the activities that people do planning-wise.  I would have to look at it in more detail. 

8.1.10Deputy J.H. Perchard:

I absolutely agree with the need to improve water quality and reduce chemical usage; however, we also know that without chemicals our potatoes, our Jersey Royals in particular, are particularly prone to blight, without chemical use I mean.  What reassurance can the candidate give to the small growers, the few of them that are left, that if we are to move to more eco-friendly methods that they will be appropriately supported through the transition to ensure that they are able to continue without threat to their livelihood?  Thank you.

Deputy J.H. Young:

Yes, I think during the run-up to these elections I have heard lots of presentations for all sorts of alternative farming methods and, you know, I am a London boy really very much more up to speed with built environment issues, but I have listened to the arguments.  I think there is a case for trials.  When people are coming forward and saying, look, they have got all this evidence they are arguing for this method or that method, at the moment we just have to take pot luck.  What we have lost since we lost the agriculture department is scientific resources, scientific people that can advise and guide us.  So I know what the risks are.  Some of these methods have got potential gains but equally if you get blight you are wiped out.  So just pumping money into losses ... it is going to take time, we have got to look at that and scientific studies and come to a mixed policy.  It is not a one size fits all. 

8.1.11The Connétable of St. Brelade:

It has been suggested that the department in the past had insufficient resource and funding to manage its large work programme.  How does the candidate propose to address that? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, at the end of the day I think all the Ministers are all in the same boat.  You know, the Island is ... we are in a real problem trying to get a quart out of a pint pot, as far as our spending is concerned.  I think we have to agree priorities; it is as simple as that.  If the new thing for me is to work with the Council of Ministers, I am looking forward, if I get the chance, to do it. 

[15:45]

Working to work up budgets and priorities.  I think, for me, the subjects that I have touched upon should be given higher priority.  I think they have not received the priority they should and if you look at the evidence for that I think, what was it, Imagine Jersey or something, the study that has just been done, what have people put right at the top of the list as their priorities?  The environment.  Do they take it for granted?  Yes, and so I think there does need to be backing for that and more resources going in.  But obviously efficiency, you know, we must be efficient and hopefully with the… if I can call it the Charlie Parker scheme, we will get some efficiencies across departments which will help unlock some of those efficiencies. 

8.1.12The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

Ancient parish churches, [Members: Oh!] decisions by church and Parish or Planning?  [Approbation] [Laughter]

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, I can tell you that I had similar complaints as the Deputy in St. Brelade when there was a planning issue, same thing, no toilets, disabled access.  I am pleased to say I managed to resolve that one by bringing the parties together and ended up with a solution that the Parish church at St. Aubin on the Hill are absolutely happy with, and incidentally, that is not one of the Parish-funded churches.  In St. Brelade the Parish-funded church is obviously the one down in St. Brelade’s Bay.  Of course I have heard from the Methodists and the others, is it fair?  Is it fair that the church authorities of the… if I can call them the proper church - sorry about that, it has got its own freedom to decide things but the Methodist church and others do not, I do not think it is.  So I am hoping this needs a review.  It is a thing in Planning Law we could look at.  So, all those proposals I can assure the Constable will come here and you will be able to have a field day with that one. 

8.1.13The Connétable of St. Helier:

Does the candidate support reviving the Percentage for Art scheme? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, we did see some rather strange examples of art and of course I do not stand here as a Philistine - I would like to think I am not, the rest of you might think I do - because I was treasurer of the Art Centre for, I think, 4 years.  I was the chairman for a number of years and so, you know, some people call me a bit creative, others do not.  No, I am in favour of the principle but I felt that the parameters of that scheme were too narrow and I wanted to see a broadening out just, say, art.  We ended up with some daft things and so I wanted the parameters broadened out.  It is a good principle that you try and get an investment in the public realm in developments and it does lift people but it does not have to be some fancy sculpture. 

8.1.14Deputy M. Tadier:

The Deputy has not been struck down here, which is a good sign, although we had some thunder earlier.  On the doorstep the Deputy will agree, because I know he spoke to lots of parishioners anyway, that population growth and population management was one of the key issues, if not the main issue, of the election.  Does he agree that the last 2 iterations of the Council of Ministers failed to get to grips with a proper population policy and that at times economic growth, especially when it is based on population growth, will not always be compatible with the environment and the environmental pursuits and when this is the case which one would he go to protect first; economic growth based on population increase or protecting the environment? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

I can answer on the last point straight away.  I am an environmentalist but I am a pragmatic one.  Some environmentalists think - and I do not want to be unkind - that people do not matter.  I am one of those ones in the middle ground that consider that people live in the environment, but equally I do not sign up to economic growth that exceeds the ability of our Island and the small square area to live within its means.  So for me, I would like to find a formula where we can live within our means.  In the 2014 Senatorial election I did campaign, I thought we were not controlling population properly, I was very worried about the building-up shortfall of housing.  I did not take part in the Senatorial elections.  All I can say, from what I have observed, is those problems have got worse in the last 3 years and we have now got an acute housing shortage.  Jersey has always identified housing sites and land and made them available after the shortfall has happened; we have always done that.  We have never anticipated demand.  We are now in a serious crisis, it is the worst that I can recall for decades. 

8.1.15The Deputy of Grouville:

We have got 2 excellent candidates here, I feel.  So I would like to ask the candidate: does the Deputy believe that the portfolio is too big for one Minister?  I mean he has planning, the public realm, the Island Plan to review, agriculture, fisheries, the environment in all its forms and energy.  Is it too big for one Minister? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

It has always been a challenge and I think it has been a challenge to everybody who has done it.  I praise the current Minister for the work he has done on the environment side but I do think there is a huge body of work to do on the planning side, and particularly on the urban side because our policies are thrusting all of our housing resources in town.  We are in danger of creating very unfriendly environments and Jersey will pay the price for that with social problems if we do not put that right.  So, yes, I am an environmentalist, I put that first.  Do I think it is too big and should it be separated?  I know this debate has come up time and time again.  For me, they are 2 sides of the same coin: environment and planning, because what it is, is people live in the environment, people shape their environment and the environment shapes them.  That is how it is, it is a 2-way street and if you separate it I feel it is an artificial thing.  My perfect vision would have been to have one Minister for Planning and 2 Assistant Ministers because I think it then can be divided up.  But we are in this situation, we are under the Troy Rule, we do not have enough Planning Assistant Ministers to go around to do the job properly anyway so we have to make compromises and people have to double up.  I think that is the root problem not really trying to split the 2. 

8.1.16The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

Do we build high and if we do, how high? 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Well, it is the right question.  Was the hospital scheme ...

The Bailiff:

Saved.  There is the relief.  Right, Deputy Young, would you please withdraw?  Would you invite the Deputy of St. Martin to come back, please?  Can I ask the Deputy of St. Mary to lean over and turn the light off?  Deputy Ward.  Thank you.  Ready to go?  Deputy of St. Martin. 

8.2The Deputy of St. Martin:

Improving our environment, whether on land or sea, is vital but trying to list everything I would wish to do during the next 4 years in 10 minutes is impossible but I will do my best.  Living in, working in, enjoying, protecting and enhancing our environment has never been more important.  Keeping those brown cows in green fields is as essential now as it ever was.  The new Island Plan 2021, it will be a massively important document.  We need to make it simpler, shorter, easier and, more importantly, that it is vital we can understand it better.  I want to find and deliver more housing sites but also increase protection of the green zone; not an easy compromise but one I aim to achieve.  Our new planning online system is almost ready for its public launch.  It has been tested and those applicants that have trialled it so far are all delighted.  I want to keep working on what we can allow Islanders to do without permission.  I have already made changes but I want to do more and simplicity for the customer will be my watchwords.  I want to refocus on design.  I feel that lately we have missed some opportunities to enhance design and we can do better.  After the success of planning online the next step will be building control online.  With much of the software work already done this will save yet more time and paper.  After the terrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower and the Hackitt review, I want to make sure that our building control regime remains of the highest quality and I will particularly focus on fire safety.  Our Energy Plan 2050 has set us targets for carbon emissions.  Our new houses are now using much less energy so in the near future we must concentrate on transport and I want to prioritise electric vehicles.  Government must do more to facilitate a revolution of E.V.s (electric vehicles) here in Jersey.  Written in 1937 it is clear to me the Electricity Law is seriously outdated; we need a new energy law.  Jersey has not yet embraced sustainable energy production and this must change.  We must have more solar power generation.  I will do whatever I can to encourage this.  We will also start a proper commercial experiment looking at groundsource heat.  Lagoon tidal power needs to be seriously looked at.  Climate change mitigation work will continue.  As sea levels slowly rise it is vital that we plan for the future.  We will need to commit to bold long-term plans in order to safeguard our wonderful Island.  The Wildlife Law is coming under review.  This work must be completed in this next term of government.  Our new access strategy needs to start delivering.  Just maintaining our footpath network is not good enough.  Part of the new rural economy strategy is the use of buffer strips; these could double as footpaths so we have the ability to reduce inorganic inputs, add to footpaths and increase the biodiversity needed by pollinators all in one move.  Rewriting the Pesticide Law is one of my priorities for the next 4 years.  There is little more to say; we need legislation that will enforce even tighter chemical safeguards for our countryside.  The competitive world of weather forecasting becomes ever more challenging day by day.  There are always challenges but we must resolve them and find ways not just to continue but enhance our very popular service.  Our new rural economy strategy concentrates on environmental benefits.  By the end of next year every farmer that receives financial help from Government will have signed up to L.E.A.F (Linking Environment and Farming).  We will be the first jurisdiction to have 100 per cent of their farmers signed up.  We will and must continue to trial and encourage new crops.  We have had great success with hemp and tea in the last 3 years but we must continue to diversify the countryside.  The introduction of the new Water Law will happen in the next few months and through the Action for Cleaner Water Group we have achieved much.  Nitrate levels are lower than they have been for decades but we cannot be complacent, we need to keep improving.  Brexit is probably the most important issue we face in the next 2 years and neither agriculture nor fisheries will be immune.  One of those challenges is agriculture and fisheries workers, work permits have previously worked well in Jersey and we must be using them again.  Disease spread as a consequence of climate change is an ever-increasing threat.  Maintaining border controls will be essential; we must remain ever vigilant.  We will very soon have a new Animal Welfare Law; after developing this over the last few months we will be ready in the next few weeks.  Climate change is also hastening the arrival of certain non-native invasive species, most recently the Asian Hornet.  More invasives will follow and we must be ready.  We must continue to do everything we can to deter fly-tipping it is socially and environmentally unacceptable.  Those caught can expect to be prosecuted and I will continue to prioritise this.  Drone technology has progressed immensely in the recent months combined with the Internet of Things.  We will use drone technology to make Jersey a better place.  Since moving into the Environment Department Environmental Health have made great strides, not least with the Rented Dwellings Law.  We have had real success with Eat Safe and now Rent Safe but the new law on rented dwellings will allow us to really start to improve rented accommodation for all tenants.  We will also surely implement a new food law.  Currently our laws are out of date and it is essential we have better legislation.  All master planning should come to the Planning Department whether that is Waterfront masterplans, St. Helier masterplan, Island plans. 

[16:00]

All plans must be co-ordinated and the same goes for public transport, traffic, and parking.  These issues all link to air quality and congestion.  We must have all these subjects under the control of a single entity.  I will continue to develop a policy for our public realm.  I commit to improving our capital and the quality of the public amenities inside it.  Future St. Helier is a long-term project, I always said that, and I want to continue working with the Constable on this strategic priority.  I also commit to enhancing our green zone policies.  While some compromises will always have to be made, we reduce the protection of the green zone at our peril.  My efforts regarding fishing will be working towards a sustainable fishery for future generations.  Whelks, brown crab and even lobster are coming under threat and I will continue to prioritise long-term sustainability over short-term profit.  In all decision making accurate data is the key.  I have insisted that data collection is now an absolute priority for the Marine Resources Department.  In the same vein I am actively investigating the possibility of working with major universities to provide marine resources and degree courses for those in marine related matters.  On land, as in the sea, we must guard against non-native invasives in our waters, but while we may not be in a position to stop them we must have the best plans ready to mitigate the effects.  Fishing is a hugely complicated subject.  Balancing the demands of Brexit discussions, fisheries management agreements with the U.K., Channel Islands licensing issues and the current Granville Bay Treaty make this a very serious issue indeed.  I commit to doing whatever I can to support the very best long-term outcome for the local fishing fleet.  Every one of our States-owned companies needs to be aligned with government policies.  We can no longer have States-owned utilities making decisions that do not deliver the Government’s strategic aims.  Similarly, everything we do in our States-owned property must be in line with our strategic priorities.  I want to continue to say do not waste resources, that is why we have recently signed up to the Plastic Free Coastline campaign.  But it is not just plastic, it is food waste, water waste; let us make sure that we do not waste any of our resources.  Let us make best use of all our structures and buildings as well.  Let us not build new unnecessarily, let us strive to be a genuine waste-free Island.  Finally, housing.  I know that we need more housing and that is across every sector: social housing, affordable housing, sheltered housing, key worker accommodation.  We need more of every type.  But first we need data and that work is being done now and housing will become a complete priority for me.  So there are numerous priorities that I want to continue to work on and it is a big ask but they are all vital.  The new Island Plan, sustainable energy, electric vehicles, traffic in public realm, waste, housing are crucial for the future of Jersey and I want very much to carry on the progress I have already made.  There is new legislation: Pesticide Law, Water Law, Rented Dwellings Law, Wildlife Law, Animal Welfare Law, Food Law; the list goes on and finally, with Brexit, a process that is going to affect Jersey in so many ways.  I have already done much work on all these issues.  Over the last 4 years I have championed the environment and have helped Jersey take those important first steps towards sustainability.  I am passionate about every one of these subjects so I ask the Assembly to support me to continue with this vital work that will ensure the Island remains a beautiful home and the environment we all love and appreciate.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

Question time opens now and I call on the Connétable of St. Lawrence. 

8.2.1The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

The candidate mentioned animal welfare and, as he is aware, there are a few breeds of dog which are banned from importation into the Island.  Members may well remember the name of Mr. Bronx.  The dogs, when they are imported, are identified to be potentially a banned breed by officers of the Environment Department.  If the Deputy was elected as Minister, would he agree that animals seized, having been identified by his officers, should be the responsibility of his department and not, as currently, the responsibility of Customs and Immigration? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

It does seem a bit strange to me that the department that identifies the breed and helps with veterinary services then relinquishes responsibility to Home Affairs for quarantine and other regulations.  So I do not see any reason why the Environment Department should not take on that responsibility.  But I do say to the Constable, as she already knows, that the costs involved in these seizures are considerable and be under no illusions that the legislation will be changed as necessary to put those cost implications on to the owner and importer of the dog.  It is not right that the State picks up the cost of this.  Many of these people know exactly what they are doing and if the animal cannot be exported off the Island in quick order it has to stay here for a considerably long period of time before it can be identified.  Many of these breeds have to grow to many months old before vets have the physical stature to measure and decide on. 

8.2.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

Given that Andium Homes is a wholly owned States entity and the Minister, in his opening remarks, said solar power should be encouraged and there are over 1,000 homes either being refurbished or built by Andium in the next few years needed, will he sign up to at least having one-third of these homes with solar panels for the energy?  Thank you. 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

We already have building control rules in place for large commercial buildings which state that there is a large percentage of the energy used in that has to come from sustainable energy and I quite agree with the Deputy, we need to do more.  I am very disappointed that we do not do more with our roofs especially in town.  Every roof structure, if it was made flat, could be an amenity space, a green space, a space for people to relax or a space to harvest solar energy.  It is disappointing that when we have a wholly owned company like Andium Homes that they are not doing more, but I have to say to the Deputy it is disappointing that we have not been able to do more as a government to encourage sustainable energy and solar, in particular.  We are about to have a review, as the Deputy of Grouville knows, the outcome of a review with the Jersey Electricity Company about standby and buy-back charges and I am sure and I hope very much when that comes through that we will be able to make some great strides forward in encouraging solar energy production. 

8.2.3Senator S.C. Ferguson:

How would the Deputy prevent fuel poverty when encouraging renewable energy, particularly if there is a subsidy system? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I would like to think that the answer was contained in my speech about the building control measures which we now put in place for new buildings.  Those also, of course, roll out into the redevelopment that Andium might be doing where new buildings and rejuvenated buildings have much greater insulation now and the idea of that is twofold: one to cost considerably less to heat in the winter and one to cost considerably less to keep cool in the summer.  So I take the Senator’s point on board but our target for the future must be carbon neutral homes, ones that cost nothing to heat at all and I would hope very much, in those circumstances, that those people in fuel poverty would not be in fuel poverty anymore.  The Senator will know, of course, that as a department we have spent millions of pounds in the last 3 years for people who were financially challenged going into their homes, insulating their lofts, insulating their walls, putting in new boilers, all to save carbon.  We are now moving into the sector of old people’s homes and community buildings and trying to do exactly the same there, so those structures owned by charitable organisations are also being insulated to reduce the costs of heating. 

8.2.4The Connétable of St. Helier:

The Minister will know that Planning sits on a valuable housing site at South Hill.  Does he plan to move Planning out of that site so it can be developed in the next 4 years and would he consider a town location might make the whole planning process more accessible to the public? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

When I became the Minister for Planning and Environment back in those days, 3½ years ago, I did say to my staff in the first week that they needed to prepare for a move because we were going to be moving out of South Hill into other premises, and most of them chuckled in front of me and said: “Yes, and every Minister we have had since we worked here has told us exactly the same thing in their first week of office.”  But I do feel that with the arrival of our new Chief Executive we are closer to that.  South Hill is a long way away for many people to walk, it is not as publicly accessible as it might be, especially being on the 3rd floor of a tall building out of town.  So I would welcome the opportunity to be closer to the community, make it more accessible to commercial and private individuals to get into the building and I think we can say that we hope we are much closer to a move than we were 3½ years ago. 

8.2.5The Connétable of St. Peter:

I ask the Deputy, you recently rejected a scheme for affordable homes for first-time buyers.  The scheme was 3 times over-subscribed and had proved there was a significant demand for that type of housing.  The scheme also had the benefit of ensuring the survival of one of Jersey’s remaining farming units.  At the same time you went on to approve the development of a luxury high cost apartment at St. Brelade’s Bay which benefit relatively few home owners and have significant environmental impact.  Both schemes were in areas restricted by the Island Plan.  Can you explain the rationale for your decisions? 

The Bailiff:

Will the Deputy explain the rationale? 

The Connétable of St. Peter:

Will the Deputy please explain the rationale for his decisions? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I am not aware that I have got time to do that this afternoon but what I will say to the Constable is this: the greenfield that is proposed to be built alongside an existing dairy farm is exactly the sort of brown cows and green fields that I am trying to save.  It is a large flat field full of grass immediately adjacent to a milking dairy farm.  As an ex-dairy farmer I cannot imagine a field that I would want to sell less if I was that dairy farmer.  [Approbation]  Notwithstanding that, the scheme was very large and it did not tick very many boxes in the Island Plan, if any at all.  If the Constable has read the inspector’s report he will find that there were very few things to commend it.  Other things need to be taken into account and I accept that a lot of people turned up at the meeting at St. Peter and raised their hands but is there a Constable on the benches who would organise a meeting and ask their parishioners to turn up and raise their hands if they were being offered houses for two-thirds of their market value.  As far as I am aware, we do not know if any of those people who turned up had their names on other lists in other Parishes.  This is why we have asked for the data to be properly evaluated.  It is not, unfortunately, good enough for a single Parish to work independently, we need to have this done on an Island-wide basis so people are not duplicated.  We need to identify exactly which are first-time buyer requirements, retired home, we need affordable homes, key worker accommodations.  There is a lot of information we need to accumulate and then we need to decide the best sites to build on.  I have said all along, and this is very much an aside but a very important aside, if - and it is a very big “if” - if a scheme ever comes forward in that location we cannot afford to lose the centre of that scheme to traffic and tarmac.  This is a once in a lifetime, once for every opportunity to build a proper green heart to the village of St. Peter’s that cannot be lost.  But that is an aside.  There were so many major policies in the Island Plan that this application breached that will have to be overcome before we get to that.  There is not very much and I would ask the Constable to review the inspector’s report again. 

The Connétable of St. Peter:

You have not answered the question about the high cost apartments at St. Brelade’s Bay which had a significant environmental impact but you were able to approve those. 

The Bailiff:

Through the Chair, please. 

The Connétable of St. Peter:

Sorry, Sir. 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

Could the Constable specify exactly which application he is talking about, please? 

The Connétable of St. Peter:

It was the application that was in the Evening Post on the same night that you rejected those houses. 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I am not sure which application the Constable is referring to. 

The Bailiff:

Very well, we will go on.  The Deputy of Grouville. 

8.2.6The Deputy of Grouville:

The Deputy has in the past been supportive of the Renewable Energy Law update from the 1933 Jersey Electricity Law.  So I guess my question is on the lines of Deputy Martin’s about solar panels and solar panels being made a condition on the likes of Andium Homes, and what have you.  But to be frank I am horrified to learn about the solar panels being planted, if that is the correct term, in fields.  I would be really interested to hear his views on this. 

[16:15]

The Deputy of St. Martin:

Firstly, can I say that during my 3½ years as Minister I have increased the percentage of roof spaces that can have solar panels put on them without permission to 90 per cent.  I have increased the amount of solar panels that can be put into gardens without permission.  So I have done what I can.  I appreciate there is a lot more to do and, as I said previously, the review that we are currently very close to completing will help us make policy decisions and government strategic direction for solar panels.  As regards the planting of solar panels in fields, I have said publicly for some time now that I was waiting for farmers to come forward with applications to grow electricity in their fields because we have not had a case yet.  We have not used it as a test case, it will be important but it must be the case that if a farmer, for example, can come forward with an application which allows him, not only to create energy and electricity but grass in the same field, that that was something we should look at.  If it is a way for farmers to increase their productivity out of a field it is something we should look at.  I appreciate that fields might not be the best and I have also said publicly that of course greenhouses used previously for tomatoes or indoor production are steel structures covered in glass, and solar panels, in many ways, are steel structures covered in glass.  It is encouraging that I think we may have an application very soon for the replacement of a derelict greenhouse with a solar panel scheme.  But we have, at the moment, an application in for a field in St. Martin to be converted and I look forward to the outcome of that application.  It is yet to be determined so I cannot say too much about it but it will be very interesting to see if farmers have odd corners of fields which are of no use that they could still create some solar panel while creating some grass to be grazed; I would be very interested to see how that would go. 

8.2.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

I would like to ask how would the Deputy encourage Island citizens and Parish participation in the Island Plan? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I mentioned the Island Plan right at the outset of my speech, it is due to come into force some time in 2021.  But officers at the Environment Department are starting this year with the scoping and the high-level outline of it.  Every section, every serious policy will need to go out to consultation and every States Member and every member of the public will have an opportunity to input to that.  As I said also, there are lots and lots of policies in the Island Plan some of those policies are used every day by development control officers and some policies, I fear, are hardly ever used at all.  The Island Plan is a massive document, quite often contradictory in itself.  It is so big that every application can find some bits to support and some bits to reject and I want to make it a simpler and easier document to use.  But the short answer to the Deputy is this: States Members and everybody will have an opportunity to contribute to every part, every policy when it comes up for review. 

8.2.8Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Can I ask the candidate what their views are on building of the international finance centre in my constituency on the Waterfront?

The Deputy of St. Martin:

Members will know that following an appeal on building number 5, as it was then, the inspector recommended that we review the Waterfront masterplan and I have to say I was only too happy to do that.  I think I am on record publicly somewhere saying that I found the plans that we had, the masterplan in place, was rather unexciting and boring and if Members can imagine a rectangular square divided into much smaller rectangular squares that is what we had.  There was very little imagination, very little ability for architects to do exciting development down there.  I very much hope that in the next month when the review of that masterplan is completed, after consultation with the steering group and other people, that we will have the opportunity to do some very much more exciting design down there.  But a design that puts pedestrians and cyclists ahead of buildings, one that decides the desired routes that people will need to take across the site and then puts the buildings around the desired routes and not the other way around.  We were going to end up with a development on the Waterfront which would very much be a barrier to people moving through it on bikes or on foot and my hope in the future is that we will end up with something far better which is much more friendly to the residents and users of the area. 

8.2.9The Deputy of St. Peter:

I would like to raise the PFOS (perfluorooctane sulphonate) pollution issue from the airport but do not want to dwell on the financial arrangement between Ports and the residents.  If re-elected as Minister for the Environment, what measures will he put in place to ensure the well water for the residents is returned to safe levels and the groundwater is safe for the environment? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I have not had very much to do with this issue because it has been initially under Property Holdings, I believe, but more recently it has been under Ports because Ports took on responsibility for the PFOS issue when they became incorporated.  However, I am aware, through the work of my Environmental Protection Team, that water is sampled.  I know that Jersey Water sampled the water, of course, on a regular basis.  Having said that, I have to say that I am also aware that there are ongoing issues, legal issues over some of the samples and I cannot say very much about it.  But all I can say to the Deputy is it is not really in my gift to grant many things in that direction but certainly we, in the Environment Department, would never be in a position to allow people to use water which was polluted.  I am aware that the pollution still exists, I am aware that there are individual private issues with Ports over some boreholes and wells and access to data and I cannot say very much more than that. 

8.2.10The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

The Deputy has spoken a lot about the Island Plan, so a similar question for him as for the previous candidate: would he encourage building high to save the greenfields that he has mentioned and, if so, how high? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

That is a very interesting question and one I would like to answer by saying this.  I did say in my speech that I wanted to do 2 things: I wanted to find housing sites and I also wanted to increase the protection of the green zone and I know those 2 getting together and being compatible was very difficult.  But what I say to the Deputy is I am aware - and I have already given this answer - that every Parish on this Island is going to want to come up with schemes in the future.  I think there is no reason why that cannot happen but we are going to need to be very careful about how we do that and where we put these schemes.  I am aware, certainly during my lifetime, that many views in the countryside as you walk, cycle or drive past have been lost because we are building on the sides of roads.  There are ways to find sites for housing for young families, for older people, for everyone, that are more tucked away, that are less visible so we can build some sites in the countryside where the effects will be reduced.  I accept that young families will want to stay in their Parishes and we will have to encourage that.  I see the potential in the future for the village envelopes, as they have been described in the past, maybe being enlarged ever so slightly or brought into a better circle around the heart of the village.  So I can see a certain amount of relaxation in the countryside in areas where they are adjacent to existing buildings, but at the same time I would want to increase the protection for those proper greenfield sites so they do not get built on.  As regards height, there is no reason why we cannot go higher in St. Helier but the task at hand is to do that in conjunction with increasing amenity green open play space around those buildings in conjunction with the Parish, with the police and others.  It can be done and with proper design we can go higher, it can look fantastic and people can have a much better experience from it. 

8.2.11The Connétable of St. Helier:

Will the Minister be bringing back the Jersey Infrastructure Levy? 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I have said publicly that if I am re-elected I will look at it again.  I think it is only correct that developers who make vast amounts of profit from some of these developments contribute a very small amount of that to the benefit of St. Helier parishioners, those people who live and work and visit. 

The Bailiff:

I invite Members to return to their seats.  Would you please go and collect Deputy Young?  Very well we will shortly be voting.  If you wish to vote for Deputy Young as Minister for the Environment vote P, if you wish to vote for the Deputy of St. Martin as the Minister for the Environment vote C.  I will ask the Greffier to open the voting.

Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade: 24

 

Deputy of St. Martin: 23

 

Abstain: 1

 

 

 

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

Senator K.L. Moore

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondre

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mezec

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Deputy R.J. Rondel (H)

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Deputy of St Ouen

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

Deputy K.F.  Morel (L)

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young:

Sir, can I thank the Assembly for that confidence? 

The Bailiff:

Certainly, Deputy.  [Approbation] 

 

9.The Minister for Economic Development, Sport and Culture

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

If we can go back to the Minister for Economic Development, I am pleased to nominate Senator Farnham.  He is the present Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture.  I am delighted to nominate him again for this role.  Thank you. 

The Bailiff:

Seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  No.  Very well, Senator Farnham. 

9.1Senator L.J. Farnham:

Can I, too, start by thanking Senator Le Fondré for his confidence in asking me to stay at Economic Development?  Can I also add my congratulations to all the new Members and those recently re-elected to the Assembly?  I look forward to the next 4 years and working with the new Assembly.  I know that we have had 14 or 15 new Members, I cannot remember how many it is, but I think it is important that we get a fresh intake.  I remember when I was first elected in 1999.  If my memory serves me correct there were 19 new Members and it was quite daunting but we settled in and worked well.  That was back in the days of the committee system.  I did 2 terms as a Deputy and worked as a president and vice-president of a number of committees.  So, the point I am trying to make is that new Members, I think, will quickly settle in and get to grips with the large amount of work we have to do.  In relation to the economy, the development, the continued development of our economy requires experience to build upon the progress made.  If I can be so bold as to say the progress made with my ministerial team during the previous term of the Assembly.  Working to develop Jersey’s economy is always going to be a work in progress and it is vital that effective leadership is maintained, not just in the department but with other Ministers and States Members, with the Treasury, working together to develop fiscal policy, and with the Chief Minister’s Department to work together with financial services, for example, and with the Minister for Education and the Assistant Minister for Education working for schools together. 

[16:30]

We need that experience and leadership to continue the progress and build upon the foundations laid over the last few years.  During the last 4 years I have worked collaboratively with this Assembly, both on the areas I held direct responsibility for as well as ensuring the requirements of the economy are taken into account on a wider policy-making basis to ensure that the economy, upon which the prosperity and quality of life of all Islanders depends, remains at the forefront of decision making in government.  This is something I commit to continue to do, to work collaboratively and to drive productivity improvements across all sectors, and to help build further confidence in the economy.  My track record of delivering an environment for economic growth and stability can, I hope, be evidenced by the following actions: the establishment of Visit Jersey and the renaissance of tourism that we are seeing today returning the sector to growth and providing renewed confidence, greatly improved visitor numbers, increased route destinations, world-class marketing campaigns and better data with which to develop our future plans.  Just to share some of the latest information of the tourism figures with Members: 2017 saw a 16 per cent increase in leisure visitors over 2016.  Those visitors spent £250 million from which G.S.T. of £12.5 million was derived.  The sector creates 6,500 jobs.  We are seeing increased occupancy and improved revenues across the accommodation sectors and we are developing new air and sea links.  The introduction of Events Jersey with the Jersey Festival of Words 3 years ago and the Jersey Style Awards and, of course, the Super League Triathlon last year, which is putting Jersey on a new global stage in proving to the world that we can host top tier events and we can do it well.  The publication of the rural economy strategy, safeguarding the economic and environmental future of agriculture by decoupling financial support and linking it to productivity and improved stewardship of our precious environment.  The creation of Farm Jersey is important because it is providing enhanced promotion of our agriculture sector both at home and, importantly, to new export markets.  The formation of Jersey Sport, which was the work of Senator Pallett in its entirety, a literal game changer in the development and management of sports development enabling participation in sport for all, and I would like to thank Senator Pallett for his work in achieving that.  I personally would like to see a separate ministry for the development of sport and well-being and I hope that is a discussion we can have either around the Council of Minister’s table or in this Assembly in the not too distant future.  Presenting the Financial Services Ombudsman (Jersey) Law to the Assembly was also rewarding, creating the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman to independently resolve complaints about financial services providers in the Channel Islands. We also brought in the Consumer Protection (Unfair Practices) Law providing greatly increased protection for all consumers in our society.  I pay tribute again to Senator Pallett with the Fort Regent Steering Group of which many of us have participated and it is still in its early days but it is absolutely essential that we do something with Fort Regent.  My plea to the new Minister for the Department for Infrastructure and wherever the Property Holdings portfolio ends up, we simply have to do something quickly it is unacceptable and quite frankly embarrassing that we have not done anything with the Fort.  We have to be bold and we have to find the money and I hope this Assembly will get behind the relevant ministerial team that ends up with the responsibility.  We have also seen establishment of an enhanced inter-island ferry service to improve social and economic links between the Channel Islands.  That service is up and running and I encourage Members to give it a try - £32.50 return to Guernsey, very good.  Rejuvenation of the Channel Islands Lottery with growth in the vital proceeds to Jersey of good causes, up from £685,000 in 2013 to £1.4 million in 2017, and again I would like to record my thanks to Deputy Norton, who was the Assistant Minister with responsibility for that.  The lottery proceeds make a difference to the lives of Islanders every single day.  There is of course some unfinished business and some work in progress.  I inherited an agreement with Condor and I have held them to account during the previous Assembly as much as possible under the terms of that agreement.  During the lifetime of this Assembly I will secure a more resilient and robust service.  This work is already underway and making progress and I look forward to sharing that progress with Members at the earliest opportunity.  That is something that the Chief Minister and I worked together on and as he is going to be at the Council of Minister’s table I might call for his assistance further if necessary, but I hope it will not be.  I also believe now is the time to reintegrate a number of key areas, principally digital policy and oversight of competition policy back under the political stewardship of economic development, under the control of one ministerial team, responsible for and accountable to the Council of Ministers and of course this Assembly.  I will continue to focus on improving productivity in all areas of the economy.  Increased productivity is key to our economic future and is important to ensuring that all Islanders have access to employment while reducing reliability on imported labour and easing pressure on long-term population issues.  I will also work collectively to ensure that Jersey’s economic interests are protected and improved throughout the Brexit negotiations and will be on hand to be of assistance to the relevant Ministers whenever required to do so.  In summing up, I would like to share some key priorities for the department moving forward.  I would like to strengthen air and sea links between the Channel Islands.  I would like to support Jersey’s retail offering and continued growth of the retail sector by ensuring it has the environment to innovate and remain competitive and viable, to support our traditional industries embrace new technologies and greatly improve productivity, secure funding and support, increase productivity and investment especially in the hospitality sector, and we are working to establish a new tourism development fund with Visit Jersey, ensure Jersey’s competition framework is fit for purpose.  Competition is not working in all markets and we need to do something because it is essential; strong competition is essential in helping in the battle to drive down the cost of living.  Finally, I would just like to finish by extending an invitation of co-operation and partnership to all Members of the Assembly and I look forward to working with them all.  Thank you.  [Approbation] 

The Bailiff:

Very well, we now come to questions and the first question is from Senator Mézec. 

9.1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Given the deterioration of relations between the United Kingdom and Russia, does the candidate agree that no applications from Russian citizens with ties to the Kremlin should be accepted for high-value resident status in Jersey? 

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Well, as I have explained before to similar questions, when we look at diligence for citizens making applications to come to Jersey under the relevant regulations we do not necessarily judge people by their race, colour, creed or religion, we simply look for the best possible standards.  Having said that, I do think it would be unwise to proceed with any such applications in the current political climate. 

9.1.2Deputy M. Tadier:

I am sure the Minister will join with me in congratulating the arts organisations in Jersey who punch above their weight in so many areas.  But does he agree with me that also funding for the arts, in particular, has fallen behind over the last few years and will he commit to making more funds available for those organisations and also look at giving their money to them in one lump sum at the beginning of the year rather than in tranches which hinders some organisations from planning their schedules for the year? 

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Yes, and I think the arts, and especially some of their infrastructure, has suffered because of some of the failings of Property Holdings.  We have neglected, again, our premises, including the Opera House and the art centres.  We have not increased the budgets in line with cost of living or even really communicated properly.  Something my department has recently tried to get to grips with; we inherited this.  I do not have enough money in the budget to significantly increase the money available to the arts but I do agree that it should be increased and that is ultimately going to be a decision for the Council of Ministers or this Assembly and I think we need to give that very serious consideration and I would support the appropriate amount of increase if we are serious about our arts and heritage.  Recently, I have found that civil servants have been extraordinarily extra careful with distributing money.  Recent events have meant that many people are running scared and they are ticking every single box that can be imagined and that has led to unacceptable delays in organisations getting funds, and that is something I undertake to work with Members to address to ensure that we keep the cash flow healthy to these organisations. 

9.1.3The Connétable of St. Peter:

I would like to ask the Senator a question about the Aircraft Registry.  There are only 2 aircraft currently on the register - I believe there are still 2.  The last one was registered 2 years ago.  Are you going to revisit the need to keep this in existence given that there must be cost in continuing to run it? 

Senator L.J. Farnham:

There is only one aircraft and if there were 2 we have had a 50 per cent increase in the figures which would be excellent, but there is only one.  [Laughter]  The operation of the Aircraft Registry is now in the hands of the Ports of Jersey where it should have been some time ago, in my opinion.  Again, that was something I inherited but I am not looking to pass the buck; I understand the buck sits squarely with the Minister.  As soon as we found out that the model that we had inherited was not working, within about a year of its operation, we stopped putting money into it only providing very small amounts of money for insurance and so forth to keep it active.  But like I say, we are looking at this as a long-term investment and I am very optimistic that the Ports of Jersey, and they are working with new partners and experts in this field, will come up with a really good solution and it will prove to be a good investment in the long-term. 

9.1.4The Connétable of St. Brelade:

There seems to be questions over the continued existence of the J.C.R.A. (Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority).  What are the candidate’s views on this? 

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Well, the J.C.R.A. competition was transferred from Economic Development to the Chief Minister’s Department at the beginning of my tenure so it is fair to say that I have not had a lot of involvement, that was operated under delegated authority to the then Senator Ozouf.  But as I alluded to in my speech, I do not think competition is working in a number of markets within our small Island and it does need a complete review. 

9.1.5Deputy R. Labey:

We are targeting visitor markets whose residents have become accustomed to somewhat higher standards than are to be found here, a point made in the destination report commissioned by Visit Jersey, who compared St. Helier unfavourably with similarly sized towns in Holland, for example.  We know that the hotels that have survived the departure of the bucket and spade brigade are the ones that have reinvested in their business.  Is it not time Government reinvested in St. Helier after decades of neglect?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Yes, it is and I think we need to explore the idea of creating a Minister for St. Helier and putting some executive responsibility into the Government to help bring that to a reality.  I think that our infrastructure, if we look at Fort Regent as an example, if you went to any other town or city in the world and offered them a Napoleonic fort overlooking their capital they would probably be absolutely delighted.  There are so many opportunities that exist, not just with Fort Regent but with St. Helier as well, and it is not just leisure facilities or sporting facilities.  I think we have underinvested in our infrastructure. 

[16:45]

I think the Island is not looking shabby, I think it looks beautiful but if we do not get to grips with our infrastructure and our public realm it is going to start deteriorating to a point where it is going to be almost too expensive to replace it.  So, yes, I do agree, and I hope this Assembly in the next couple of months has the nerve and the willingness to go ahead and work on our capital with the Constable.

9.1.6Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Given that the Senator was in fact a Member of the previous Government and in the position, which he is now holding, how does he explain that he was not able to achieve the expenditure on the infrastructure that he has been complaining about?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Also because the infrastructure budget lies within the Department for the Infrastructure and I would have loved to get my hands on it, I could have made far better use of it I think, but that is the main reason.

9.1.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

With the upcoming apparent divestment of Condor Ferries by the European Infrastructure Fund, does the Senator see a future for commercial ferry operations from the Channel Islands to both the U.K. and France or does he believe that the future would hold some sort of underwriting or subsidising of the service?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I think there is a very strong future for a private ferry company.  Condor is a very successful and profitable company but the majority of the profit is made on the shipping of freight.  Part of the agreement we have with them puts the responsibility on the shipping company for the right to carry freight to provide passenger services, so as long as they are combined then there is a very good future.  The problem we have had is that when the new agreement was created in 2014, and it is a 10-year agreement with break clauses, is that the structure of the fleet was changed. So, when everything is working - and I am touching wood with every limb - when everything is working it works well, but when there is a problem there is not the backup, there is not the resilience in the fleet and inconvenience is caused.  Now the challenge is that I have been having and the current Chief Minister has been having with Macquarie and Condor is about what we can do to help with the investment.  The investment in another ship is tens of millions, about £50 million for another ship, and Macquarie have announced publicly that the company is for sale, they are in discussions with buyers, and there are opportunities for further investment.  I can say no more than that at the moment but I thank the Deputy for his question and say I am optimistic about the future.

9.1.8The Deputy of St. Mary:

Almost by way of compensating for the problems, which beset the Aircraft Registry, would the Minister reconsider the extension of the shipping register to Category One status to enable that register to take on more successful business?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Can I just be allowed to deal with one registry at a time?  We have done a lot of work into that and there is a possible potential there, but there is also quite a lot of investment required, probably, if I remember rightly, not a dissimilar amount to the amount invested in the Aircraft Registry.  The Shipping Registry does sit within the Ports of Jersey and it is in the right place and I know they are considering future options.  But I would be reluctant to commit to investing another 6-figure sum into a registry before we have seen the Aircraft Registry take off, if you will excuse the pun.

9.1.9Deputy J.M. Maçon:

We know that many years have gone into the Liquor Licensing Law.  I wonder if the Senator can tell us whether that under his tenure, given that the previous Assistant Minister, despite all the work, was arguing that a Scrutiny report was awaited for before lodging and debating that Law.  Can the Minister tell us whether we will be debating the Licensing Law before Christmas this year?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I have to declare an interest; I have an involvement with a local hotel and licensed premises so I have not really been involved and have excused myself from any such discussions, so I am not really able to answer that question, if the Deputy will excuse me for those reasons.

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I totally understand.

9.1.10The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

The Minister - and congratulations on his re-election - is known for making his own decisions.  Will he choose his own Assistant Minister or will he accept having one foisted upon him?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Well I hope, if necessary, there would have to be a compromise, but I very much hope that, as the Chief Minister Elect and I think alike most of the time, it will not come to that.  But, as I understand it, it is up to the Ministers to recommend their Assistant Ministers and for the Chief Minister to approve them, so I am sure we will come to a satisfactory arrangement.

9.1.11Deputy J.H. Perchard:

The guidance policy on the Control of Housing and Work Law allows high-net-worth individuals to be granted entitled status on “social or economic grounds and as being judged as in the best interests of the community”.  However, these terms are not further defined.  In fact the only criteria that is legally enforced is the contribution of tax set out in the corresponding tax legislation.  Would the Minister commit to improving this policy to more precisely define and monitor the impact of said social and economic grounds in order to provide the public with greater evidence of the social and economic value of such high-net-worth individuals?  [Approbation]

Senator L.J. Farnham:

A very, very good question, thank you.  Of course that policy, the law does not sit within my department, my department operates with Locate Jersey; we are the sales division of the Government and we market Jersey as a place for inward investment and high-net-worth individuals.  I have no doubt, having worked with many high-net-worths and seen first-hand the huge benefits they bring, that there is a really valuable contribution from them.  But perhaps it does need to be made more clear.  Locate Jersey does produce some figures and infograms but it is certainly a discussion I would be prepared to have.  I am not able to commit to anything at the moment but I certainly think we need to find a way that does demonstrate and shares the good work that the programme does deliver to the Island so other Islanders are aware of it.

9.1.12Deputy R. Ward:

May I ask what measures will this Senator take to diversify the economy?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I would like to continue to do what we have been doing.  I think the best way that the States and politicians can help businesses is to keep out of the way, produce a framework, a legislative framework, that enables businesses to operate, reduce red tape as much as we possibly can.  For example, in the retail sector, my department provided funding for the retail sector set up of their own independent organisation, which is affiliated to the British Retail Association, and because of that they are now coming up with some very innovative programmes to develop the retail sector, and I think that is a good example.  If that works we can repeat it with other sectors of the economy.  Of course Jersey Business are doing first-class work and providing excellent services and advisory services free of charge to all new businesses and existing businesses.  So I think we need to keep doing what we are doing.  Also, with our existing and traditional industries, the most important thing is improving the productivity in those areas, which is why I am keen to work more closely with digital because I think there is great opportunity there to use technology; not just in agriculture, but in tourism as well.  I understand that the new Premier Inn have deployed self-service check-ins and that is just one example of how we can grow the contribution of tourism to the economy without having to import staff.

9.1.13Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

I would just like to ask the new Minister - and congratulate him on the role - I still am not quite sure what is going to be going on for the digital sector.  Would the Minister be looking to bring that portfolio back into his department?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Yes, I would.  I was against it being taken out in the first place and, if I can be so bold as to say, the Chief Minister and the Chief Minister’s Department will have enough on its plate, and the areas that are related to the economy should sit in the Economic Development Department.  I would like to reassure Members and the Chief Minister that myself and my Assistant Minister and my department are looking forward to taking some of the strain and sharing some of the responsibility.  In addition to that, as I have just said, I think there are great opportunities to engage with the digital sector, and this is quite important, we need to do this quickly.  When we look at the figures I am surprised Deputy Southern had not asked me about the G.V.A. (gross value added) per head, we are struggling with that.  If you strip out the reduction in the value of banking, the G.V.A. per head per capita has increased very slightly over the last 20 years, about 2 per cent, and that is where we need to put all of our efforts if we are going to have any chance of growing the value of the economy, but getting people doing more, not, more people doing more.

9.1.14Deputy G.P. Southern:

I think the candidate has pre-empted my question, which was exactly… having failed to grow productivity for the past decade, what new measures does the candidate have in order to do exactly that; to grow productivity?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I think it is embracing new technology, I really do.  It is not going to be easy but we need to get our small businesses, areas of commerce, traditional industries, embracing technology, and we should be pioneering in it.  I look forward to working with Education to develop skills and the Minister for the Environment to work to deliver some ground-breaking environmental issues.  Let us be bold.  If we can think it we can do it.  Let us be the first Island, perhaps the first place in the world, to have all public transport electric or run by clean energy.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

The question was: what action will he take, not in general terms what is going to happen, but what will he take?  Will he sponsor all-Island electric vehicles, for example?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Under the new rules of the Government, we are no longer corporation soles; we are one corporation.  Our budgets are pretty tightly tied-up, but we need to look at our budgets across departmental budgets and see where we can find funds to make these sort of things happen, and I am committed to trying to achieve that.

The Bailiff:

The Connétable of St. Ouen, a very quick question, you may have time for an answer.

9.1.15The Connétable of St. Ouen:

Yes, it is going to be very quick.  Would the Minister consider relaxing the criteria for allowing banks into the Island, which would certainly help productivity?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

It is not my call but I think it is a discussion worth having.

The Bailiff:

Following that entertaining question and answer session, we will now move on to the next item,

 

10.The Minister for Housing

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Yes, just in saying it would be quite nice, if you could anticipate, to get them all finished tonight because we are on a bit of a roll I think.  So first congratulations to the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, I cannot remember if I have congratulated Deputy Young or not, but, if not, congratulations again.  I now take great pleasure in nominating Senator Mézec, he is our youngest nomination for Council of Ministers, and comes with an extensive passion for helping others.  He has served on Scrutiny and is the present chairman of the Care of Children in Jersey Review Panel.  It is my intention that he will eventually become Minister for Children and Housing.

The Bailiff:

Is that seconded?  [Seconded]  The nomination is seconded.  Are there any other nominations?  No. 

[17:00]

10.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I have no idea if she will be watching and I certainly do not blame her if she is not, but could I just start my remarks by paying tribute to the former Minister for Housing, Anne Pryke, for her work over the last few years.  [Approbation]  She took over this position just after the formation of Andium Homes and would have overseen many of their important projects as well as paid a crucial role in introducing the minimum standards legislation for residential properties alongside the Environment Department, which will have a tangible effect on improving the lives of people who currently live in substandard accommodation.  Like all Members of this Assembly, I got into politics and stood for election because I wanted to make a difference and I wanted to work to try to make life easier for the people that I am privileged to represent.  We live on an amazing Island with hardworking and generous people, yet we face so many problems, many of which we should find unacceptable in a small and wealthy community like ours.  It is our job as representatives, elected by the public, to find the solutions to those problems.  We know that poverty levels here are shocking.  We know that many young families feel like home ownership is completely out of reach for them and we know that 35 per cent of people are in rental stress paying over a third of their income in rent, many of them paying over half of their income.  The Income Distribution Survey published in 2015 showed us that it is the cost of housing that is the biggest contributory factor of causing poverty here.  This new Council of Ministers will have the task of trying to fix this and I hope to play my part as Minister for Housing.  Now the Chief Minister has just alluded to this and it is, despite my party’s best efforts, that I am still the youngest Member of this Assembly and some might consider my relatively young age, 27 years old, to be insufficient to hold such a title and to take on such responsibility.  But I just want to assure Members that this is a defect that I am working on correcting every single day.  [Laughter]  I have been a Member of this Assembly for 4 years now and I think that I have shown in my time that I am not afraid to ask tough questions.  I challenge things when I think they are wrong and I am capable of working with people with different political perspectives to me.  I have worked hard on Scrutiny chairing the Care of Children in Jersey Review Panel and leading several reviews, which have had their recommendations adopted by this Assembly and I hope that that shows my work ethic and my desire to be constructive.  I am ready to step up as a Minister and make a positive contribution in this new and exciting era for Jersey politics, and I am very grateful for the open and inclusive way that Senator Le Fondré has shown that he will lead.  Now housing was one of the big subjects of the recent election and I said several times throughout the campaign that I felt like our housing market is broken because it seems to work too often in the interests of investors and not in the interests of ordinary Jersey people who just want to find somewhere special that they can call a home.  So my general philosophy, which would underpin everything I would do as Minister, would be one that says that it is our job to address this most basic need, which everybody has, and aim to have every single person in Jersey living in decent accommodation, which they can afford to live a decent and happy life in.  This is not unreasonable and it is not an aspiration that we as a community should shy away from.  During the election some suggested that the solution to all of our housing problems was simply to increase supply and I am afraid that I think this view is too simplistic.  Yes, of course supply is part of the solution and I am sure that I will have some good discussions with my friends on the Constables benches on helping deliver some of their exciting Parish schemes.  But we also need to better manage the housing stock we already have and make sure that the regulation is working properly and there is a lot to do in this area.  There is ongoing work, which was started by the previous Minister, which needs to be followed up on.  There has been an assessment on housing need for 2021 to 2030 been conducted recently and the report is going to be made available to the Minister for Housing at the end of the month.  This is covering need across all sectors and will provide a helpful picture of what is happening in the Island, what we are going to have to be considering soon, and what we have to do to make sure we are providing the right number and the right type of homes.  There has also been a review into the Housing Gateway system.  Now every single States Member who does constituency work will know that there are problems with the Housing Gateway.  I know the new Minister for Social Security, in particular, will be aware of this.  There are a lot of people who are left waiting a long time when they are in desperate need of accommodation and a lot of people are clearly in need but do not fit the criteria properly to get allocated into the bands which they ought to be in.  So work is going to have to be done to reform this system to improve it.  In terms of my election commitments, which I would try to seek to fulfil in office, we said that the rule that sets social housing rents at 90 per cent of the market rate was flawed and it was causing hardship and we must change it.  It has an inflationary effect on the private sector and for too many people it simply is not affordable.  I believe that Andium rents ought to be frozen while we sort this out so that we do not exacerbate the problem in the meantime.  But of course we must make sure that this is done in a way that will not impact on the important renovation and building work that Andium is carrying out.  My discussions so far with the Strategic Housing Unit and the new Chief Minister make me believe that this is possible.  It might take time to achieve it and it might require other departments to play their part in it too, but it must be done because it is so fundamental to many people’s well-being here.  Another issue we pledged to tackle was vacant properties.  There was an excellent Scrutiny report in 2015, which looked at this issue, and revealed that, if we reduced Jersey’s vacant property rate by just 2 per cent, it would provide access to 900 extra homes, which is 2 years’ worth of supply aimed for under the current Island Plan.  I just ask Members to consider and imagine the impact that would have for families who are struggling to find affordable accommodation.  In my discussions with the Chief Minister, we have agreed that there is a need to examine what is really going on here, how many properties are empty, how many are empty for no good reason, what exactly is the scale of the problem, and what reasonable incentives can we introduce to encourage them back on the market.  The next point I am going to cover is one that was not in Reform Jersey’s manifesto, but the Chief Minister and other successful Senatorial candidates spoke about it throughout their campaigns, and that is the issue of looking at loans for first-time buyers.  So obviously looking into this it has to happen; I think it is something that many people desire.  I am advised by the Strategic Housing Unit that this is possible but we would need to identify the funding to make it happen, so that is obviously a further discussion that has to be had.  We would also have to make sure that the maximum number of people could benefit from such a scheme and that it would not have an inflationary effect, which would put out those who would not be able to access such a scheme.  I am sure there is going to be more issues raised in questions but I am incredibly excited about the work that would lie ahead of me as Minister for Housing.  The Chief Minister has made it clear to Members that, when he is able to, he wishes to nominate me to become Minister for Children.  I want to make it clear that the work to continue with the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry will not be put off until this appointment is made, it carries on immediately from now as a matter of top priority with no delay whatsoever and I commend the work of the outgoing Chief Minister who started this process.  [Approbation]  It is because of the way that many brave victims and survivors spoke out about their experiences in care, we are now clearly aware of the history, which we must never let be repeated in Jersey and we have been forced to consider the important improvements to Children’s Services and the wider culture change that is necessary in our Island.  Housing is going to be an important part of this and I believe that I am helped by my experience in the last term as chair of the Care of Children in Jersey Review Panel, whose job it was to hold Ministers’ feet to the fire on this issue.  Following a recent trip to Edinburgh with the previous Chief Minister to witness how the Scottish Government approaches the concept of the corporate parent, I understand now that the Minister for Housing, like all Ministers, must always have the well-being of children at the forefront of their mind.  Work will have to be done in addressing our housing regulations to ensure that they are helping to provide the best conditions for children.  The States has already made the decision to ban discrimination against families with young children in the private rental market and as we seek to comply with the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child more will need to be done.  Recommendation 4 of the Care Inquiry Report focused on building a sustainable workforce.  We know that we struggle to obtain key workers because of the difficulties they face finding a decent standard of living because of housing and work restrictions they and their families face, so this must be looked at as part of the work of the Minister for Housing and eventually Minister for Children too.  There is much more that could be said and I hope Members understand where I am coming from and I thank those who so far have indicated they want an inclusive approach for Jersey’s Government moving forward.  Thank you.  [Approbation]

The Bailiff:

We start question time.  The first Member is Deputy Higgins.

10.1.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The Senator mentioned in his speech investors in property and the effect they have on the housing market.  Will he commit to organising a review to see how many properties have been bought by people outside the Island because every person who buys a property from outside the Island and cannot live in it is depriving an existing Islander buying it and, secondly, is adding to the growth in rents?  So would he commit to doing a study to find out who owns the property, whether it is in the Island or out, and that also applies to our very wealthy people who, according to a recent article in the Jersey Evening Post, seem to be getting special benefits that way.  So would he please investigate this and report back and let us deal with that problem, if it exists?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  It is a very good one and I am slightly regretting not mentioning that in my speech because it was in my notes of things that I wanted to mention.  This is a discussion that I have had with the Chief Minister and it was something that was brought up quite a bit during the recent election campaign.  The concern that many of us in this community have that properties, which are obviously a very important asset to whoever owns them, a disproportionate amount of them being bought by people or companies that are not based in the Island and the effect of that is to essentially funnel rent paid in wages to the people who live in these properties and then pay the rent out of the Island with no wider benefit to the rest of us.  When it is a small community that has limited land on which properties can be built, it strikes me as entirely reasonable that we want to make sure that the levels of properties, which are being bought by people outside the Island, is limited.  As I have said, I have spoken to the Chief Minister about this; this is something that I absolutely want to look at because we have to make sure, as I said in my opening speech, that the market in Jersey exists to benefit those people who need somewhere to live.  That is the primary focus of what we ought to be doing.  That is what is at the forefront of what I want to achieve so I give him my guarantee that absolutely is something I want to investigate.

10.1.2Deputy J.H. Perchard:

This is pro-development rather than a completely new question.  The aforementioned guidance on the Control of Housing and Work Law states that the final decision regarding the entrance of high-net-worth persons to Jersey lies in the hands of the Assistant Chief Minister as delegated by the Chief Minister.  The guidance also states that high-net-worth persons may, having first registered as a company, purchase any residential property they like before selling on to entitled individuals, which I believe seems to have the effect of pushing prices up.  Would the Senator review the clause that allows this rather easy bulk purchase of properties and would he consider changing the policy to ensure the final decision on each high-net-worth person is formally made by a group such as H.A.W.A.G. (Housing and Work Advisory Group)?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy; she has asked a couple of questions around high-value residents and it sounds like she is coming from a similar place to my views on this subject.  I certainly think that is something to look at; I think it ties-in to what Deputy Higgins was saying about people outside the Island, Deputy Perchard’s question about people in the Island.  It of course is wrong I think for people to come to the Island and be able to snap up properties when there are so many people based in the Island who are desperately looking for somewhere to call their own place that they can live in.  It certainly is something I would be considering looking at.  In terms of who makes the final decision on whether a high-value resident application should be accepted, the honest answer to that is I do not know if what she is suggesting is the better option, but again happy to look at it, perhaps it is.  So, yes, good suggestion I think.

10.1.3Senator K.L. Moore:

It is my assertion that children grow up in families and it is generally the lot of the family that has the key influence on the well-being and life chances of that child.  Would the Minister consider requesting that the Chief Minister creates the role of a Minister for Families rather than a Minister for Children?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Ultimately that is the prerogative of the Chief Minister; it is not for me to tell him what ministries he wants.  But there is inevitably going to be a discussion at some point in the future when the changes to ministerial government go through where we look at different portfolios and work out where the natural synergies are best and what ministerial roles should come together or what should be split off.  So I am not going to give her a guarantee that I would definitely say a Minister for Families is more appropriate than a Minister for Children, but I think these discussions are naturally going to happen anyway but it will be the Chief Minister who will lead on that rather than myself.

10.1.4Deputy R. Ward:

May I ask what the Senator intends to do to crack down on abusive practices by landlords as Minister?

[17:15]

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy for his question; I know it is a cliché in this Assembly to say there are good landlords and there are bad landlords.  When you are a constituency representative you tend to only hear the stories about the bad landlords of course, nobody rings up their local representative to say: “I have a really good landlord by the way.”  So I have heard some stories of what I think are blatantly abusive practices, whether that is charges that are put on at the last minute for tenants who are desperate to leave the property, often single parents with a child who is not doing too well in that property, so desperate to move, last minute charges, coming up with all sorts of excuses not to give a deposit back when it would be reasonable to expect it back.  So I am sure that there are abusive practices that go on there and what the solutions to those practices are must be subject to debate, where can regulation fix something, where can better information being made available to tenants fix something?  What I would be keen to do as Minister is relatively early on I would want to hold some sort of public drop-in centre at a convenient time and a convenient location to ask people that have had bad experiences with letting agents or with tenants to come in and just explain what those problems were like, not for us to necessarily immediately help those people and find solutions, but to learn about the sort of things that go on so we have a better picture about what we know has to be done to fix those problems in the future.  That is something I am quite keen to do and more generally I think it is good for Ministers to be open with the public and say: “Come and tell me about the problems you are facing”, because we have to be aware of what they are so that we know how to fix them.

10.1.5Deputy G.P. Southern:

May I ask the Senator the extent to which he believes that the absence of a population policy is making the housing situation far worse and, since he campaigned on sticking to a definite population policy, what numbers he would be seeking to look to put on that?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  I suppose I should get used to this, receiving questions from members of my party who are, I think, showing themselves to be very astute in the questions they ask.  The lack of a population policy is of course something that affects, not just the housing market in Jersey, but everything, whether it is the number of schools we have to build, whether it is the size of the hospital we have to build.  That I think has been a dark cloud hanging over the Island’s Government for far too long.  It is something that we must get to grips with.  I know that it is something that the new Chief Minister will be very keen to look at and, as the Deputy suggested, it should surely go without needing to be said that, if you are setting limits, you must stick to them.  Now of course there is always going to be a little bit of leeway for exceptional circumstances but the fact is we simply will not know how many homes we have to build if we do not have accurate projections about what the growth in population is going to be over the next few years.  We will not be able to, when we are building new properties, account for adequate green space, adequate parking, adequate access, all of those things.  So I think that when the population policy comes through absolutely the limits have to be stuck to and that should be a cross-departmental thing.  All Ministers need to have a say in that so that we make sure we get the right balance for the standard of living for people who are already in the Island and for bringing in new people in the Island when there is a shortage of skills so that we do not damage the economy.

Senator S.C. Ferguson:

My question has been asked.

10.1.6Deputy K.F. Morel:

I would like to ask the Senator, if work permits were introduced as part of the Island’s immigration population policy, does the Senator then see scope for opening up the rental sector to all Islanders instead of maintaining the segregation that we see at the moment, to all Islanders regardless of how long they have been here with a view to reducing rents and improving the condition of rental accommodation?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy for that question.  That is something I have given a lot of consideration to because I do again as a constituency representative over the last 4 years, I have seen the unfairness that has been inflicted on people who are hardworking, trying to make their way in life, and having to put up with restrictions in what they can and cannot rent.  That has caused hardship, not just for them, but for their children as well, which I found very difficult to deal with because I think there is an intrinsic unfairness there.  The question of opening up the market if there is a work permit system in sounds like a good idea but if we are going to make a drastic decision like that we have to have the information available to us to know what impact it will have so we know if there is any point of we might have to phase this part in or that, so we would have to have I think all the details to make sure we are not inadvertently causing a problem and taking one people out of hardship and putting another group of people in hardship, all of these things have to be looked at in the round, but I have a lot of sympathy with the point underlying the question he made.

10.1.7Senator L.J. Farnham:

Can I firstly congratulate Senator Mézec on his appointment as Minister?  I understand that I think it might have been a manifesto pledge in relation to housing is perhaps the introduction of some form of rent control and I wondered how the Senator would see that working?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

The manifesto itself did not specifically talk about rent control and the Senator will be aware that there are obviously all sorts of difficulties associated with that as a concept.  What the manifesto did say was that we needed to look at the rental market and see what could be done because, let us be frank about this, there are people out there who are paying extortionate rents that they probably ought not to be paying and something should be done there.  We accepted in our manifesto that this is not an overnight piece of work that could be done; this is a substantial piece of work, which would take a while to do, and you would have to make sure that whatever form of regulation you brought in was not going to have unintended consequences in that market.  I have had examples put to me where rent control is imposed that if a landlord happened to be paying less than that well they just put it up to what the limit prescribed is anyway and there are difficulties there.  So we did not specifically commit to implementing rent control; what we committed to doing was having a review into how rents are operated in the Island and seeing if there is anything that can be done to address some of the unfairness that some tenants have to put up with.

10.1.8Deputy J.H. Young:

As the majority now I think of new developments for housing involve flats rather than houses, would the Minister think there is any mileage in him using his new powers to work to produce a standard specification, not just of the accommodation so we have minimum standards as part of those development companies, but also set the rules out for the occupancy and tenure and so on so that then there is a template.  Does the Minister see any potential for doing that?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy for his question.  Since I moved out of my parents’ home I have been renting at various different flats, some in Jersey, some in London when I lived there, of various different qualities and various different rent prices.  I look at many people my age who are desperate to get out of their family homes and live independently or with friends and I look at the quality of some of the properties they live in, in terms of the specifications, and they are not very homely.  An example I use is that kitchens appear to have been abolished.  There are a lot of properties that do not have kitchens anymore; they have a corner in the living room.  Now you try watching TV when your dishwasher is going or your washing machine, the people who design these are clearly not people who live in these properties.  So I do think that it is worth looking at; I think the home you live in must be nice, it must feel like a home, and there are all sorts of difficulties with light coming through the windows, getting fresh air and everything that goes along with that that has a wider impact on the quality of life rather than just the size of the property.  I do think that we do need to be looking at having properties that feel like a home and not just see how much money you can make for the small amount of space, you have to build as much as you can on it, I think we need a different approach.

10.1.9Deputy M. Tadier:

Obviously Andium are not the only providers of social housing that can access the Gateway but does the Minister think there is any scope for allowing private landlords to access the Gateway provided of course that they meet certain criteria, including cost and the minimum standards?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I thank the Deputy for that question.  This is something I have discussed with landlords who have purchased properties, sometimes for their pension as an investment to help them get by in their later years, who they do not really want the bother of being a landlord, they just prefer the income, and since they have that property would it not make sense for Andium to use the Housing Gateway to say to those pensioners that: “You will have a guaranteed income from this because we will be the ones who will find you a tenant for that.”  That sort of idea I think makes sense for people in that situation who would want to be there.  I have spoken to the Strategic Housing Unit about this and they thought that there may be some difficulties with take up there, and part of that is to do with culture, it is to do with some people not liking the idea of it being connected to social housing in that way.  I think that is quite sad, to be honest, and I think that is a cultural thing we have to get over and say: “No, everybody is entitled to a decent home, whether it is social, private or whatever.”  But I think that there should surely be people out there who would like the security as investors and also be doing something good for the community at the same time, so I do very much like the idea.

10.1.10The Connétable of St. Ouen:

The Minister Elect has alluded to the fact that he is going to have a review of the rental market, which to some extent I applaud, but would the Minister give an undertaking that he will consult with the industry bodies in that respect because past reviews and legislation have not taken that into account?  Would the Minister also undertake to review the deposit protection scheme because the generally-held view is that does not work and does need some work doing on it?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Just on the point of the deposit protection scheme, he is speaking to somebody who I suspect is the only person in the room who previously sued a landlord under the U.K. deposit protection scheme and won.  So I have seen schemes that do not work so well and as a constituency representative I have had people approach me who have had problems with their deposits that they simply, under the framework that currently exists, have not been able to get a resolution over it.  One silly example is that you are technically not a customer of MyDeposits if your landlord has not protected your deposit, so they have found it difficult to know: “Who do we complain to?”  The problem is that it is not protected in the first place.  So, yes, I think that there is scope for looking at that and reviewing how successful it has been and making any necessary changes to make sure that it is working properly.  In terms of the broader review of regulation in the market and consulting with all stakeholders, yes, I absolutely agree with consulting with everyone.  When I was working on Scrutiny we had to make sure that, if we were going to produce a decent report, we could claim it was objective and evidence-based.  We could not pick and choose who we went to speak to, to get a one-sided view on something, we did have to speak to everyone.  That was the approach I adopted in Scrutiny and it is what I would want to do as a Minister as well.

10.1.11The Deputy of St. Peter:

I think Senator Mézec has answered this question; however I have already declared an interest as a committee member of the Jersey Landlord Association.  Would the Senator be happy to accept an invitation to meet with the committee as part of his research into the private rental sector?  I hope the answer is a one-word one.

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Any invitation from the Deputy of St. Peter is certainly one worthy of accepting.

10.1.12Senator K.L. Moore:

In his speech, the Minister referred to the idea that rents in Andium Homes could be frozen and this would not affect the development work and the increasing building work of Andium Homes.  Could the Senator give the Assembly some more information about how he intends to achieve this?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I do not think I necessarily said that in exactly those terms; I did not say that we could freeze rents and it most definitely would not have an impact.  I said we would have to work hard to make sure that it would not have an impact.  There are, I think, things that can be looked at in terms of essentially what is States money through the social security system is going into Andium Homes and how some of the money that Andium is making then goes back to the States.  I think there is stuff that can be looked at there to make sure that there is not any undue financial hardship caused on it as an entity that damages its work programme.  I did not say that was going to be easy but I said it is worth looking at because, and here is the simple fact of the matter, the 90 per cent market rate rule is putting people through hardship; it must change.

Senator K.L. Moore:

May I have a supplementary?  Would the Senator in that ...

Deputy M. Tadier:

A point of order, are we having supplementaries now?  I thought we were just having one question.

The Bailiff:

You have had several, Deputy.  [Laughter]  You will have another one in a minute if you are ready.  Senator Moore got in before you.  I shall put you down for the next supplementary question.  Senator Moore.

10.1.13Senator K.L. Moore:

I think Deputy Southern was indicating a circular motion, which I thought might refer to the money-go-round that is the return Andium has to make every year to the Treasury, £28 million currently.  Is that something that the Senator intends to look at?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Yes, we intend to look at everything.  There is I think scope for looking at things broadly.  You do not necessarily do things up front, you can phase things in, you can do things over a longer period of time to make sure everything is viable.  We look at everything.  You do not just make a decision like that out of thin air; you start with your principle of what you want to achieve and then you work towards it in a constructive way by engaging with everyone.

Deputy M. Tadier:

I do not have a supplementary.  [Laughter]  As Deputy Southern pointed out, that is not a supplementary, that was a second question, I do not have one.

The Bailiff:

We have now come to the 20 minutes.  So, Greffier, you could ping the bell again.

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Can I just thank the Chief Minister and thank Members of this Assembly and I promise to work hard over the next 4 years and not let you down?  [Approbation]

[17:30]

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Could I propose that we do go to the election of the final Minister this afternoon?  I think it is the right approach to take if Members would agree.

The Bailiff:

I hope Members agree?  Very well.

 

11.The Minister for Home Affairs

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

We have come to the final nomination.  As per previous statements, congratulations to Senator Mézec for being elected to Minister for Housing.  So we come to the final nomination, but certainly not the least.  I have known the Connétable of St. Clement since he first served in the States with my father in the early 1980s and if I have matters correct I believe that in 10 days’ time approximately he will have completed 35 years of service.  [Approbation]  He is one of the few Members to have held all 3 positions of Deputy, Senator and Constable.  I am delighted he agreed to be nominated to the position and I make the nomination.

The Bailiff:

Seconded?  [Seconded]  Are there any other nominations?  Deputy Morel, are you nominating anybody?  Turn your light off then please.  No other nominations?  Very well, Connétable.

11.1Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement:

Some Members, I suspect, will be surprised to see me standing for this role.  But I can tell those who are surprised that they are not as surprised as I am.  [Laughter]  It is something that never crossed my mind until about 10 o’clock on Tuesday evening.  But I do thank the Chief Minister designate for inviting me to stand as Minister for Home Affairs, particularly as I did not even vote for him.  But it is an honour and it is a privilege even to be nominated for this post and, if appointed - well I suppose now it is inevitable I will be appointed - I look forward to continuing and building on the excellent work done by the previous Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy and now Senator Kristina Moore.  [Approbation]  When and if I am appointed to this post, I will see myself as the champion for the services for which I will have political responsibility.  I will be champion for the States of Jersey Police; I will be champion for the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service; champion for Her Majesty’s Prison La Moye; champion for the Jersey Field Squadron; and if she does not mind I will also be champion for the Superintendent Registrar.  All of those will have my support and to the best of my ability will ensure that they will be properly resourced.  But that does not mean that I will automatically support all of their requests, desires or wish lists, because, besides being a champion for them, I will also be a challenger to ensure that we provide the level of service that Jersey demands; that Jersey needs; and that Jersey deserves at a price, which is right and proportionate.  We have learned something I think from the recent Future Jersey consultation.  That consultation process identified an overarching ambition that all Islanders are safe and protected at home, work and in public.  In addition to low levels of recorded crime, perceptions of safety are influenced by antisocial behaviour, road traffic accidents and the number of fires in the Island.  Preventing crime, while difficult to quantify and measure, must remain the main priority in order to maintain high levels of community safety and perception.  Similarly, Island fires are a major disruption to both families and communities and prevention is also key in this area.  A continued focus on children remains a high priority.  In addition though, there are other groups of vulnerable people that need support, for example victims of sexual assault and those suffering mental health illness.  There is also a growing recognition that, as our population ages, different pressures will be placed on all the emergency services as new forms of vulnerability and crime emerge.  Cyber crime and internet-enabled crime is undoubtedly going to continue to increase alongside complex financial crime investigations.  It is vital that we ensure the Financial Crime Unit is fully and properly resourced to meet this increasing problem.  Prioritising our development and investment in community safety, security and justice policy is important to maintain and modernise the law, build trust and confidence and ensure Jersey remains as an attractive place to live, visit and do business.  A continuing priority will be the reform of the justice system.  There are also particular priorities in respect of improving outcomes for children and modernising legislation.  We cannot fail.  The consequences of failing to maintain and improve community safety and security on an ongoing basis includes risks to individual Islanders, includes risks to villages, risks to our community, risks to our economy and risks to our reputation.  This we must not allow to happen.  Thank you.  [Approbation]

The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

May I ask for a point of clarification on the speech?

The Bailiff:

You can ask a question because we are about to have questions.

11.1.1The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

I will ask a question in that case.  First of all, may I congratulate the new Minister for Home Affairs and my question is, but I reserve the right to ask another one later if there is time, did he mention the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service when he spoke about the services under the Home Affairs remit, because I do not recall hearing that?  If so, will he agree to champion their cause as well, as I have done over the past 3 years?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Absolutely; that was an error of omission because they are a vital front line service in protecting our shores, protecting immigration, and assisting amazingly with the Brexit situation.  I apologise to that service for not mentioning them but I will be their champion also.

11.1.2Deputy M.R. Higgins:

In the last parliamentary term, with the release of the in-camera debate regarding suspension of the former Chief of Police Graham Power, it was revealed that the reasons that were put forward to the States were not as was stated, in other words it was said that he was suspended because of the Metropolitan Police report, which showed failings on his part.  We know now that the Minister at the time did not have a copy of the report, had not seen it, and had misled the House.  The Jersey Care Inquiry also reported from things that the former Chief of Police had been badly treated.  To try to right some of the wrong that has been done, at the present time on the Home Affairs website it shows the case against the former Chief of Police from Wiltshire, et cetera, but does not show his response to those questions.  Would the Constable agree to put up on the website Mr Power’s response to the allegations made against him so there has been total equality of arms and everyone can see, if they wish to read it, what went on?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I cannot give such an assurance because I am not aware of the website or the contents of it, but I am quite happy to give an assurance to the Deputy that I will look at it.

11.1.3The Deputy of Grouville:

The title Constitution, Community and Home Affairs, is what describes his department now.  What work does he envisage for the constitution, for our constitution, and how does he see it working with External Relations and the challenges we are going to face in the coming years?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I think the Deputy is confusing the administration with the political responsibilities.  The administration is responsible for the constitutional, et cetera, but the political responsibility of the Minister is simply for the Home Affairs, for the departments that I have described in my note, in my first remarks, including Customs and Immigration, which I promise I have not forgotten.  But the administration department is totally separate from the political responsibility of the Minister for Home Affairs, as I understand it.

11.1.4The Connétable of St. Brelade:

The Parish Honorary Police have for many years worked in concert with the States of Jersey Police and, particularly, the Community Police Officers.  Of late they seem to have been withdrawn.  Would the Minister Elect please confirm that he will ensure that this area is adequately funded so that Community Police can come back to the forefront of parish policing?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I have to be careful about crossing the line of operational decisions made by the States of Jersey Police and the political will of the Minister to have certain facilities available.  However, as a Constable, I am certainly well aware of the great value that the Community Police Officers have provided over recent years.  They have provided great value to the Parishes because the Parishes have had someone in the States of Jersey Police to connect with and to go to when they have an issue.  They have been of great value to the Honorary Police for the same reasons and a great value to the parishioners because the parishioners become familiar with the Community States Police Officer in their neck of the woods, as it were, and would know where to go when they have an issue.  I have not been told that the Community Police Officer system has been withdrawn, although I have heard certain rumours to the fact.  I will not and I cannot and I should not interfere with operational matters but I would always challenge operational decisions if I feel that they need to be.  At the end of the day the operation will be down to, in this case, the Chief of Police, but it is something we need to discuss.  But if it is a matter of resource and the Chief of Police and I agree that it is a valuable resource to have these Community Police Officers then we have to find the funds from either within the budget of Home Affairs or make a case to the Treasury for additional funds.  That is the sort of action I see being taken.  As I have said, I will be a champion for the cause of the States of Jersey Police and the other departments, including Customs and Immigration, and we will fight for the funds that we need to ensure that Jersey is properly policed, fairly policed, and policed with the consent, if you like, of the population.  So I support what the Constable is implying and that is something I will work on with the Chief of Police.

11.1.5Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Firstly, can I congratulate the Constable on his appointment as Minister?  Very recently I found out that up at the prison, to keep costs low, they do not provide fresh milk or fresh fish.  These people that are often there because of life mistakes and they have lost their civil liberties in that way where they cannot see their friends and family, should we add the torture of having powdered milk when you want things, even if it is to look at letting the prisoners themselves, with the money that they receive from their friends and family, to purchase their own milk and other food items that would be better for them?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

This is a matter of detail, which I am totally unaware, but if it is an issue then no doubt it is something I will discuss with the prison governor at the appropriate time.  But it does not seem to me that it is going to be a huge cost saving, powdered milk against fresh milk, although I must admit that I do not like milk, I prefer powdered milk myself, but that is beside the point.  But that is the sort of issue that I would expect to discuss when it is brought to my attention.

11.1.6Senator S.Y. Mézec:

In paying tribute to the outgoing Minister for Home Affairs, I think she had a good relationship with the Scrutiny Panel and was always very proactive in briefing the panel and showing ongoing pieces of work to make sure they were well aware and were able to contribute at an early stage.  Would the newly elected Minister pledge to continue in that spirit and be proactive and engage with his scrutiny panel in a similar way?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Absolutely, yes.  I learned a few years ago when I was Assistant Minister for Economic Development, it is so valuable to take your Scrutiny Panel with you, to discuss the issues with them.  The Minister and his team are not the fountain of all knowledge, there are other people who have ideas and thoughts that can improve on the policies that the Minister might be bringing forward.  So I think it is absolutely vital that all Ministers, not just this Minister, all Ministers engage positively with their Scrutiny Panel because, if they do that, the Scrutiny Panels, in return, will engage positively with the Ministers and the Council of Ministers.  That can only be in the best interests of the Island for that to happen.  [Approbation]

11.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

Despite promises from the former Minister for Health and Social Services over one year ago to introduce medicinal cannabis into the Island, it has still not happened, and one of the reasons cited by the Health Department is a problem to do with Customs relations with the U.K. and getting the products into Jersey.

[17:45]

What is the candidate’s knowledge or the Minister’s knowledge of this issue and if he is not fully up to speed would he look to regulate this as soon as possible so that those suffering from very serious ailments in Jersey can have the products that they require without any further delay?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I am not up to speed with that particular issue but I would say this, if the Minister for Health and Social Services has a policy, has an ambition to achieve something, and my department, in this case Customs and Immigration, can assist in achieving that policy, and it is a States policy, then he will get full co-operation from me.

11.1.8Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I am a great fan of event-led tourism and also lots of local events, which happen in the park, big music events, et cetera.  The Honorary Police do an absolutely fantastic job but quite often the States Police presence is required.  Some of the smaller events and most of the big ones operate on very narrow margins.  Would the Minister ensure that any fees charged are measured fair and proportionate?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Yes.

11.1.9Deputy K.F. Morel:

I was wondering whether the Constable had a view on how best to operate the Honorary Police, whether they should remain as Parish police forces or whether there is a view to having one single Island-wide Honorary Police Force?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

The Honorary Police in Jersey is probably the oldest police force in the world and the strength, in my view, of the Honorary Police is that they are community-based officers.  They are elected and they are elected to serve their Parish and their community.  They are not elected to be a cheap resource for the States and the States of Jersey Police.  [Approbation]  They will support the States of Jersey Police where appropriate but their first priority must always be to serve their parishioners and to serve the community that elects them.  Now that does not mean that the Honorary Police is in aspic, it can change, develop and improve, and they certainly have.  In my younger days you very rarely saw an Honorary Policeman in uniform, he might have had the red and white flap on it, but things have changed and their training is so much better these days and that is important.  But, having said that, there are discussions to be had, there is going to be a workshop next month where members of the community, members of the Connétables and the States of Jersey Police will be having a workshop to discuss various options, discuss ways forward, discuss ways of improving the relationship between the States of Jersey Police and the Honorary Police, not that it is bad I must say, it used to be bad, but the Police Chiefs have been very positive in their dealings with the Honorary Police, which have been very welcome.  But, as far as I am concerned, at this present stage, the Honorary Police are community-based to serve their Parish and that is the way it should stay until someone convinces me differently.  [Approbation]

11.1.10Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Recently I took a parishioner to meet with the Jersey Police Complaints Authority and he was advised that he should co-operate with the police inquiry that was going to come forward, the investigating officer would contact him and to produce all the evidence that he had shown to the Police Complaints Authority.  As it turned out, the investigating officer did not contact the person, did not see the evidence, and the Police Complaints Authority signed it off as a satisfactory investigation.  Would the Constable be prepared to form an independent Police Complaints Authority where they investigate, they have their own investigators?  I might add our current Deputy Chief Officer was formerly with the Independent Police Complaints Authority in the U.K. and was involved with the Hillsborough investigations.  Would he agree to try to establish an independent Police Complaints Authority so we can once again have confidence in this particular body?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

As far as I am aware, I do have confidence in the current body, and I think it is always a mistake to change legislation, change policies, change rules, on the basis of one particular case, of which I have no details whatsoever.  So I cannot give the Deputy any assurance in that area.  If there are problems with the authority, tell me about them, I will find out about them and we will try to sort them.  But, except for this case, which the Deputy has been very vague… then give me some details, I will look at it and see what the situation is.  But certainly not changing the composition of the Complaints Authority based on that question.

11.1.11The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

The Jersey Fire and Rescue Service have been providing first response for some time now for callouts for ambulance and I wonder whether the new Minister thinks that the Ambulance Service should be in fact incorporated into the front line emergency services under the remit of Home Affairs, and maybe he can address that please?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

There is a prima facie case for that but it is something that would have to be discussed and agreed between the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Health and Social Services under whom the Ambulance Service currently comes.  But it does seem to me that control rooms, for example, it seems much more logical to have one control room for the 3 services, or the 4 services if you include the Coastguard, makes economic sense and much better liaison and co-operation between the 4 services.  So I am sure there is some work to be done there to improve the service to the community.

11.1.12Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

It has taken a long time to ask a question, but ironically the question has been all jumbled up with the last 3 or 4 questions.  The one thing I would put to you is that the third sector is very much an important part of the Island and it is an unusual question to put to a Minister for Home Affairs, but if you take the whole sector being very much the volunteer organisations across the Island, whether it be St. John Ambulance, Honorary Police or whatever, I am just hoping that the front line services get a sufficient amount of money because it would be silly of me not to say that it is becoming more and more difficult to get volunteers to join up in whatever services we are doing.  I hope that you will look at the situation of making sure that both the States Police do not just use the Honorary Police as a fallback situation and that money will be available to make sure that we are looked after.  I would also add to that that I would ask you to look into the situation with regards to what happened in St. Saviour with regard to their Centenier.  I think there should be some wider avenue that we can take rather than putting pressure on the Constables, and you being one, I am sure that you would probably agree with that.  I just wanted an overview of what you thought, how important, and how we justify making sure that the third sector is very much looked after, especially in terms of, as I say, even the volunteer fire service as well.

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I am not sure if there is a direct correlation between ensuring that the emergency services are properly funded and the volunteers in the third sector.  I strongly believe that the emergency services, all of them, have to be funded properly and fully, but fairly and proportionately.  We know that there have been budget difficulties over the last few years, every department has taken hits, and as a Constable, and my colleague Constables will know, we have had to be very vigilant and very wary of States departments trying to utilise some of the Parish service to make up for shortfalls in their budgets.  I remember our community support team and Health wanted to start using those and we are very wary of what the States of Jersey Police want to do with the Honorary Police, as I was implying before.  These are all discussions to be had.  But if the question is: do I want to make sure the emergency services are properly resourced, the answer is an emphatic yes, but fairly, properly and proportionately.  I am not quite sure what the Deputy meant regarding the St. Saviour situation.  I know a year or 2 ago they were fined because they could not find a Centenier, but certainly there have been discussions between myself and the chairman of the Connétables, the chairman of the Comité des Chefs, the Attorney General, and the Bailiff to try to ease that situation and to give the Parishes a little more time to find, not just a person to be a Centenier, but to find the right person to be a Centenier.  It is all very well just getting someone to stand in so you avoid a fine, but it is more important you spend a little more time and get the right person.

11.1.13Senator L.J. Farnham:

There is concern in the hospitality sector that the rules concerning the conditions for bringing in staff, for example skilled and qualified chefs from outside of the E.U., are too high and that they are about 50 per cent above the average packages offered in the sector.  Will the Minister undertake to look at that?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

If this is a matter that is affecting the tourism and hospitality sector, I would expect my colleague Minister to come and talk to me to discuss it to see how we could help him improve the situation, because that is what we want to do; we want to make life better and easier for all the community.

The Bailiff:

Thank you, Connétable.  [Approbation]  We now have all the ministerial posts filled and under Article 19 of the States of Jersey Law, paragraph 7, on the States making the last selection under paragraph 5 required to complete the constitution of the Council of Ministers, the Chief Minister designate and the persons selected are appointed to office and from then Chair I congratulate them all.  [Approbation]  Now I am able to call on the Chief Minister.

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Thank you.  Very, very briefly; it has been a long day, it has been a long week, and I thank everybody who has agreed to serve and I also thank my new colleagues on the Council of Ministers and can I thank the former Chief Minister for his service to the Island and for his continued service as Minister for External Relations.  Thank you.  [Approbation]

Senator I.J. Gorst:

As we said on Monday, it is my role to now seek the adjournment.  I thought I would say a few words as well.  A week is a long time in politics.  Never did I ever think I would stand to my feet and quote a Labour British Prime Minister.  Members might be interested to know that of course he served 2 terms as well as a Labour Prime Minister.  I am extremely grateful, as I said on Monday, for all Members of this Assembly and the previous 2 who have supported me throughout those 6½ years and I am extremely touched by all of those who have thanked me, even though they might have criticised me during the course of those years, but they thanked me for serving.  We have without doubt navigated some extremely turbulent times.  I, for one, think that Jersey is in great shape but of course there are further changes and improvements that we need to make and are required.  Forming a Government is really difficult and I know that Members find it difficult.  But I hope that we, from this evening, can move forward as an Assembly together; that we can focus on policy; that we can focus on serving Jersey and serving Islanders and come together to do so.  So I say to all those Members who voted for me on Monday, let us come together with those who voted for the Chief Minister and let us put that difference behind us and let us serve Islanders.  I wish the Chief Minister the very greatest best wishes and I look forward, for one, to working with him to serve Jersey for the next 4 years.  Thank you.  [Approbation]  I call for the adjournment.

The Bailiff:

The adjournment is proposed.  The States will now stand adjourned until 9.30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

ADJOURNMENT

[17:59]

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