Hansard 28th November 2019

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

THURSDAY, 28th NOVEMBER 2019

PUBLIC BUSINESS – resumption

1.Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): twenty-third Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(23)) - resumption

1.1Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

1.1.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

1.1.2Deputy R. Labey:

1.1.3Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement:

1.1.4Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

1.1.5Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

1.1.6Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

1.1.7Senator S.Y. Mézec:

1.1.8Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

STATEMENTS ON A MATTER OF OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITY

2.The President of the Jersey Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie will make a statement regarding French Teacher Day

2.1Deputy M. Tadier (President of the Jersey Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie):

2.1.1Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

2.1.2Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

2.1.3Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

2.1.4Senator K.L. Moore:

2.1.5Senator T.A. Vallois:

2.1.6Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption

3.Government Plan 2020-2023(P.71/2019): fourteenth Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(14)

3.1.The Connétable of St. Helier:

3.1.1Deputy J.H. Young:

3.1.2Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

3.1.3Deputy D. Johnson of St. Mary:

3.1.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.1.5Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

3.1.6Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

3.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

3.1.8The Connétable of St. Helier:

3.2Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): twelfth Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(12))

3.2.1Senator K.L. Moore:

3.3Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): eleventh Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(11))

3.3.1The Connétable of St. Brelade (Chairman, Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel):

3.3.2Senator I.J. Gorst:

3.3.3Senator S.Y. Mézec:

3.3.4Deputy M. Tadier:

3.3.5The Connétable of St. Helier:

3.3.6Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:

3.3.7Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

3.3.8Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

3.3.9The Deputy of St. Martin:

3.3.10Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.3.11Deputy G.C. Guida of St. Lawrence:

3.3.12Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

3.3.13Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

3.3.14The Deputy of Trinity:

3.3.15Deputy J.H. Young:

3.3.16Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement:

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

3.3.17Senator L.J. Farnham:

3.3.18Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.3.19The Connétable of St. Brelade:

3.4Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): nineteenth Amendment (P.71/2019. Amd.(19))

3.4.1Senator K.L. Moore (Chairman, Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel):

3.4.2Senator S.Y. Mézec:

3.4.3Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.4.4Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

3.4.5Deputy M. Tadier:

3.4.6Deputy G.J. Truscott:

3.4.7Deputy J.H. Young:

3.4.8Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

3.4.9Connétable D.W. Mezbourian of St. Lawrence:

3.4.10Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.4.11Deputy G.C. Guida:

3.4.12Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

3.4.13Connétable J. Le Bailly of St. Mary:

3.4.14The Deputy of Trinity:

3.4.15Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.4.16Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

3.4.17Deputy K.C. Lewis:

3.4.18Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

3.4.19Senator K.L. Moore:

3.5Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.)

3.5.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.5.2The Deputy of St. Ouen:

3.5.3Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.5.4Deputy M. Tadier:

3.5.5Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

3.5.6Deputy J.H. Young:

3.5.7Senator S.Y. Mézec:

3.5.8Deputy G.J. Truscott:

3.5.9Senator S.W. Pallett:

ADJOURNMENT


[9:30]

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

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS resumption

1.Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): twenty-third Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(23)) - resumption

The Bailiff:

We continue now with the debate on the Government Plan and resume consideration of Amendment 23.  Does any Member wish to speak on the Amendment?

1.1Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

I am very grateful that last night we were able to call time on this debate and have a much fuller discussion.  We were all in, between 8.30 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. this morning, with the Head of Health, the new D.G. (Director General), there.  Overnight, the Minister for Health and Social Services forwarded this report that was, according to Senator Pallett last night, being completely ignored by this Assembly.  They set up a group, they make recommendations and we ignore.  Well, I have got 4 sides of A4.  There is no recommendation.  I am absolutely supportive of Deputy Doublet.  I absolutely said to Senator Pallett that she should have this job as breastfeeding champion along with Senator Moore.  Deputy Doublet supported me so much in family friendly, in the time off.  Again, the new D.G. at Health this morning said, overall, midwifery, new leaf starting on 6th December and they are going to assess everything and this will be put in the mix.  Part 4 of these minutes of the breastfeeding, I will just say L.D. because I do not want to identify anybody else, they are officers: “There is an ongoing interest in peer support, someone to help L.D. [which is Deputy Doublet] with a business case for peer support workers.  L.D. to attempt to secure funding.”  Then there are issues about who employs this person.  Is it Family Nursing, because States workers get ... these are all in here and: “L.D. to speak Children’s Minister regarding these issues.”  I look forward to hearing from the Minister for Children and HousingWell, to the conversation that went on and what is going on, I think this is absolutely premature.  I, of this Assembly, am never going to go up against U.N.I.C.E.F. (United Nations Children’s Fund) in saying breast is best and how long it can be done and it is better for everyone.  I am not going to go up there, but health is the biggest budget we have.  They have secured a new head of midwifery, who is going to shine a torch: is there money, are we doing enough of this?  This is on 6th December.  The business case was one paragraph and this is why we could not support it.  It was a mystery, all this research that was going on.  I asked last night, Deputy Pamplin, who is the Scrutiny Panel that would normally look at health issues in a bigger size, would not normally look at a backbencher’s Proposition.  They have researched this, they have looked into it.  I asked for comment to support this, because I think he did say he would support on balance, and nothing.  I got nothing.  Look, it is one of those if it is needed it will be found.  If it is needed?  It needs to be found from the new person who is going to organise all of the maternity that goes on in the Island, or the staff.  There is something in the report that it is even hard to recruit the sort of people that the Deputy is looking for.  So, are we arguing against ourselves?  It is one of those.  Deputy Doublet has said to me just a few moments ago: “I hope you are going to support me” and I said: “I support you in principle.”  I cannot support no business case being made, this being the right way and it is a bit like when we get to another argument we have a new model of care coming in, but we want to do this on the side.  No.  I really support Deputy Doublet in a role, in a joint role on the Panel with Senator Pallett and Senator Moore, but there is no business case and if the Minister for Health and Social Services, or the Council of Ministers, brought something like this, you would blast it out of the Assembly, because there is no business case and we are just there to get somebody in who can, if they need it ... the D.G. said: “If we need 2, we will find it.  If we need 5, we will.”  No case has been made.  So, I am very sorry, Deputy, I support the work of U.N.I.C.E.F., I support breastfeeding absolutely, and we are not here ... there is not a business case, there is not a total recommendation from the steering group and if I have missed something in these 3 sides of A4, somebody who has not spoken already can tell me, but the Deputy will be able to sum up.

Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

Can I seek a point of clarification from the last speaker?  I am completely confused as to what the document is that the Minister is referring to.  Are these minutes?  Is this a Scrutiny report?  Is it something I should have read?  Is it something I can read?  I just do not know what it is, this document.

The Bailiff:

Could you clarify that, please?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

I can clarify, Sir.  There is a steering group set up with politicians on it.  It is a U.N.I.C.E.F. Steering Group and it is the minutes of the meeting date of Thursday, 10th October, and it was from 11.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.  They were circulated last night to the Council of Ministers.  I am not sure how far the Group would want them to go.  Oh, they went to all States Members?  OK, I apologise.  So, sorry, Deputy, look in your inbox.

1.1.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Just to really re-emphasise and it is very much one of those difficult debates that the Assembly faces.  It has been a tough discussion at the Council of Ministers, so let us be really clear.  A lot of the speeches, I think, yesterday were around the absolute merits of breastfeeding, which I hope we all support in this Assembly.  There is no question about that; I would say all of us support in this Assembly.  However, what it is: what are we doing now versus do we want to spend more money on that area now?  It is very much if there is a political decision and a rational decision, the 2 do not always go hand in hand.  That is why we are saying, let us see where the Assembly wants to go.  In relation to the case of Deputy Doublet - who we know is passionate and we all absolutely admire her on this subject - we had some slightly mixed signals coming through and this is why we have not been as clear, perhaps, as you might expect from the Council of Ministers on this particular issue.  The minutes that have been referred to, for the benefit of Deputy Labey, I will just read.  It is under Any other business and it just says: “This led on to discussion about the skillset on the Island.  Currently no midwives, or health visitors, have a specialist breastfeeding qualification other than [and some initials].  That person felt it would be good to have additionally qualified staff in H.V. (health visitors), maternity and S.C.B.U. (specialist care baby unit).  This may be something absorbed in terms of cost by the Commissioner.”  That is basically it.  To be fair to Deputy Martin, Deputy Pamplin made some reference to, as I understood, a Scrutiny report.  I am not sure if that was misunderstood by me yesterday, but my understanding is that Scrutiny have not particularly looked at this area in that regard.  So, essentially, what we are saying is that the Assembly ...

Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

Will the Chief Minister just give way for clarification?  We have not done that, in comparison to our mental health review, but it is a subject matter that we have looked at and what I was quoting from was early research of people in the arena, who can qualify what was being passed around in the minutes last night as something that will most likely be coming forward in the future.  Therefore, what I was trying to help the debate with, was the information that was relayed to me by professionals to help Members come to their own decision making.  It could be very possible that the new person, the lead that Deputy Martin referred to, could look at these plans when they come forward and say: “We do need this, but we are trying to frame the argument for Members to make up their own individual minds.  But if this is something that will come down in the future, why not get ahead of the steer and put it in this Budget, as it is something that we could be likely debating in the end?  That was what I was trying to refer to, that it was not exactly a Scrutiny review, but it was a piece of ongoing Scrutiny work.

[9:45]

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I think the point was that there has not been a concluding Scrutiny piece of work.  Then, a couple of us did put our former Scrutiny hats on and say: “Surely Scrutiny would be taking us to pieces if we came along and said we would like to spend £91,000 on certain posts, without having that backup.”  But, as I said, in the quantum this is not the end of the world at all and, secondly, there sometimes are political priorities that the Assembly wishes to state: “That is what we want to do.”  That is when we then have a discussion with the health professionals and that is when we turn round and say it is all about timing, as we know, do not forget the Assembly has another bite of the cherry - if that is the right expression - in the next Government Plan, which will be lodged in June-ish of next year.  So there is flexibility built in to get recurring costs in the future, if that is needed.  The issue is that the new head of midwifery is starting, I believe, on 9th December.  Roughly speaking, under previous Councils of Ministers, in 2018 an extra £200,000 was put into this area, as I understand matters and we spend roughly, I think it is slightly more, £4 million a year on maternity, as a whole.  So, it then comes back to - I have said to one or 2 Members in passing and being in Treasury and also sometimes being on the end of the discussions in Health - it can get quite hard.  That is why do you want to spend £90,000 here when we believe we are doing things in this area already, versus if we had that money and we do not believe we have a problem, we would rather spend it on - and this is my example - an oncology nurse.  That is about the priorities.  What they are trying to do is look at the outcomes and where the money is best spent.  At the moment, the message from the professionals is that bearing in mind a slight hiatus has been with the new permanent head of midwifery coming in in about 2 weeks, there is a slight hiatus in having all that information together and the first job on that person’s agenda will be to look at this whole area and look at in terms of outcomes and are there resources we need to put in.  But at the moment, the Proposition is quite specific about the kind of post that should be generated, or produced, in the report, so it is a decision for the Assembly.  The message at this stage from the health professionals is: “We do not really see the need.  We would always like money” but - and this is my analogy, it is not theirs - basically, if I ask my children do they want some more money for more sweets, they are probably going to say yes, but actually: “Do you need them?” they would probably say: “We are OK at the moment, because we are looking at it.”  If there is a desire and a need, we are very clear, we absolutely support the principles of what we are talking about.  We are very clear, if it needs to be done, the resources can be put on a referring basis for the next Plan and that gives the time then for Deputy Doublet to come back and say: “By the way, this is what I said to you.  You have not done it” et cetera, versus having the right business case in place and then looking at the outcomes.  It might be that it is not quite at that level.  It might be once we look at the outcomes we might be better off with more healthcare workers, or whatever it is, which then assists and will bring in other resources, as well.  I am talking well outside my comfort zone in that territory, but I am trying to give some very simplistic analogies to the kind of discussions that have been going on.  So, it is very much Members will be absolutely passionate about the subject, no question.  We all support the subject, no question.  It is better it is the best use of funds at this stage when we do not have a clear target to say: “Yes, we desperately need it.”  So, that is why, at this stage, the Council of Ministers is saying: “We do not think it is required.”  That is why we are not supportive of it.  It is a matter for the Assembly if they want to turn round and say: “It is our objective, it is our fiscal priority and we want to put the resources there.”  That is absolutely a matter for the Assembly, but from our perspective, on the basis of the advice we receive, we did not think it was the best use of the funds that were being discussed at this point in time, given the changes that are going through.  There will be other Members who will absolutely disagree with what I have just said.  I am just giving the messaging and the messages we have had from the Health Department officials on the basis of where we are at this stage.  If we had, perhaps, more substance in terms of the reporting, it might be a different story, but at the moment, as I said, because new people are coming in, because they are going to be looking at the Department over the next few months, we felt it was too early to say, yes, we can get behind this.  That is where we are.  It is a matter for Members.  At present, I certainly will not be - and I do not think the Council of Ministers will be - supporting this Amendment, but, obviously, we are in the hands of the Assembly.

1.1.2Deputy R. Labey:

I do feel that Members are being placed unwittingly in a slightly invidious position here.  I cannot conceive of myself voting against Deputy Doublet on any initiative she brings to this Assembly on this issue, or many of the others in her specialised area, but there is a difficulty here for us, because there is a question of it is operational, as Deputy Wickenden said in his speech yesterday.  If it was something that we knew was being blocked by a Minister, or blocked by the administration and Deputy Doublet had uncovered it and wanted to unblock, then I would, in that scenario, go with her.  I am finding it difficult, because of what is being said about the identification of the need from the professionals to do that today and I am also worried about the Assembly recording a negative vote on this issue if it goes against the proposer.  I really hate to do this to Deputy Doublet, because I hate it when people do it to me.  You bring Amendments and Propositions, because you believe in them, but I would ask her to consider the benefit of withdrawing this for the time being over the Assembly being forced, against our natural instinct, to vote against one of her very important initiatives.

1.1.3Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement:

I will not repeat what other people have said, but the Council of Ministers is wholeheartedly behind the principle and motives of Deputy Doublet in promoting and supporting mothers breastfeeding and will ensure that the right investment is made in the right services.  You heard the Chief Minister say that the newly appointed head of midwifery is in post on 10th December and once she has undertaken a review of the service and the investment is required, we shall make the funds available.  I can assure Members that funds will be made available in 2020 and included within the Government Plan for 2021.  I would urge Members to await the outcome of that work, before deciding now specifically how best to support further investment in the services.

1.1.4Deputy H.C. Raymond of Trinity:

Two interesting conversations have just taken place.  I must admit, I concur with Deputy Labey that I think that it would be for all of us to step back and perhaps discuss this when all the information is in, both on the professional basis and on the financial basis.  I do not think there is anybody in this room that does not want to support Deputy Doublet in the Proposition that she has put forward.  The problem I have is that I sit, as the Assistant Minister for Finance and modernisation reform, which in effect is I affect the other Assistant Ministers.  I do not affect them, but I look at all of their budgets to make sure of what they are asking for and they are staying within budget.  The biggest problem I have now is that ... and I have to say they are all staying in budget, but you then get the other side where you have one of the Assistant Ministers, who is very supportive of mental health and we are supporting him to the hilt.  There are probably 9 or 10 different positions within Health that you could argue are important, that we should do today and that is the problem I have and I think that is the problem with the Finance Department.  I would love Deputy Doublet to withdraw it and would give her total support with regards to helping her to bring something forward.  We are talking, with all due respect, of about 14, 21 days.  As the Minister for Treasury and Resources said, the lady is being appointed, we are supporting the lady and we need to look at the issue of breastfeeding.  I will have to vote against it purely on the basis of my other side, as sitting there as the finance overseer of one of the biggest budgets that this States has.  I would ask you to just think before voting.  We are not voting against Deputy Doublet, we just need a little time to make that decision and so could I ask you all to just consider that, because I think it is vitally important.

1.1.5Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

I was not planning to speak, but I certainly empathise with the last 2 speakers very strongly.  I think that what worries me is the effect on backbenchers of the processes that we are running here.  Backbenchers have very little impact, or access through, under our new corporate structure and when we have proposals that are really thought out and we have committed Members, it is really important that we make sure our responses to those are proper and we do not send signals that are the ones we do not intend, that we are against Deputy Doublet, we are against breastfeeding as an important thing in society.  We must not do that, but somehow we have got locked into this.  We are stuck in 2 sides.  We have got this rigid corporate structure and my concern is that the structure has got even more rigid under this Government Plan process.  When we used to have budgets and, as a backbencher, I remember bringing proposals - what used to happen is you brought your proposal during a debate like this and a number of things could happen.  The Ministers could give you an undertaking in the Assembly that they would meet the task that you asked of them, that they would make sure it happened.  They would do that and then they would invite you to withdraw and those sorts of things went on.  We seem to have lost that flexibility where Ministers can respond, because there is a corporate structure in the background that stops us.  I listened to the Minister for Treasury and Resources, because I think this important.  We have just heard from the Assistant Minister and I absolutely agree with everything he said.  Deputy Doublet only has to wait for a couple of weeks, because this really important new appointment is coming and they are going to be doing it.  The Minister for Treasury and Resources said then that - I think she did refer and I hope I did not mishear - we could put it in the Government Plan next year, which would mean the spending would not happen until 2021.  Now, I would like to hear if there was a commitment from the Minister for Health and Social Services that, say: “We will find a way of funding this in 2020 and then we can put it in the Plan for 2021”, I think that gives us, as an Assembly, a productive way forward.  But, to be in a situation where nothing comes of this debate, I really would be reluctant to push my button against in this, because I think this is a small amount of money, it is significant to quite a very strong body of people in the Island and just because our processes are far from ideal as a Government ...

The Bailiff:

Deputy, there is a request to give way for a point of clarification.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

It is just to correct what the Deputy said. We said we would put it in the Government Plan for 2021, but if it was required before, funding would be found in 2020.

The Bailiff:

That was clarification of your previous speech, was it?  Very well.  Please do carry on.

Deputy J.H. Young:

What I heard there, I think - I just wanted to emphasise it - the Minister for Treasury and Resources is saying the money will be found for this in 2020.  If that is right, I think the request to Deputy Doublet to withdraw the Amendment and to avoid forcing that vote on an undertaking given in this Assembly, which would not be backtracked on, should be done.  So, I think I will wait to hear in the Deputy’s summing up as to where she goes with this.

1.1.6Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

It is my personal view that, in this instance - and I say this as a critical friend - that a withdrawal would be the most useful way forward.  I will explain why as briefly as possible.  It is not to do with some of the points that have been raised.  Primarily, for me, it is the lack of clarity I currently have.

[10:00]

We are hearing different things from different sides.  We have heard that the Government have said they have asked the experts and there is no need.  Deputy Doublet has said she has consulted with experts and that there is a need.  At that point, without the evidence in front of us, it is impossible for backbenchers to make a decision on this that is evidence based and well informed, because we are just putting several people’s words up against a group of others.  For me, that presents an impossible and unfair situation on this particular issue and that is the sole reason why I am saying what I am saying.  As has been repeated - and I am sorry for repeating points previously made - we are supportive of breastfeeding initiatives.  I would also just like to point out that, just from a more personal perspective, I have experience of the Minister for Treasury and Resources telling me: “We will get this done in this timeframe” and she has delivered.  So, I have faith in her from my personal experience that that is so and again, for that reason, I suggest the withdrawal. 

1.1.7Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I had not said anything in the debate previously, because I felt that I would have simply been repeating what was said by other Ministers.  I just wanted to make this point following the suggestion that has been made by Deputy Perchard and Deputy Labey.  I have been in a situation in this Assembly several times in the past where I have brought an Amendment forward to something, been roundly praised for the intention and then told: “Please withdraw it, or we are not going to vote for it, trust us we will go ahead and do it in some form anyway.”  I have always found that to be extremely frustrating and never a particularly pleasant position to be in.  However, I think that is a good suggestion this time around and I hope that Deputy Doublet will be pleased by the fact that she has had universal support for what she is trying to do from everyone.  Just listening to what different Ministers are saying, as the debate is going on, it is not just a view that is coming from those Ministers who are actively involved in this subject area.  We have heard the Minister for the Environment speak persuasively on this and the Minister for Social Security.  The Minister for Treasury and Resources, as well, has given that undertaking.  I think that what that does is that it does present a sensible way forward.  It shows that there is a commitment across, not just the Government, but the whole Assembly to providing something better than what currently exists.  So, I hope that the Deputy will accept the suggestions that are being put to her, as frustrating as they may sound, are well meaning on this instance and that this is not a defeat by any stretch.  Things are going to get better; we are just going to have to think about what is the most appropriate way to do that. 

The Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on the Amendment?  I call on Deputy Doublet to respond.

1.1.8Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

I would find it very difficult to withdraw, because I have not had a commitment.  I have just written down the wording that was said and it was: “If this is required before the 2021 Government Plan we will put it in place.”  If I had been told: “Yes, we will definitely find this from existing budgets and we will do it” then I perhaps would withdraw.  So, can I ask for clarification on that please from either the Minister for Treasury and Resources, or the Minister for Health and Social Services; is it an: “If it is required we will do it”?  Because I think I have demonstrated and I am quite disappointed that Deputy Perchard said that there was not enough evidence, because I believe I referred to a significant body of evidence.  The baby friendly initiative itself, you only have to look on the website - and I am happy to forward 10, 20 studies to Members - and I read just one of them out yesterday.  There are vast swathes of evidence to support this, so the evidence is there and if the Minister for Treasury and Resources, or the Minister for Health and Social Services can give me a commitment that the post will be created, then I can consider whether I will withdraw.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

May I raise a point of clarification while the Deputy has sat down?

The Bailiff:

Yes, you can give either a point of clarification about your speech, or you can ask for a point of clarification of something the Deputy has just said.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

It is a clarification of my own, because it was referred to explicitly.

The Bailiff:

Well, if you wish to give a point of clarification of your speech, because it has been referred to, you are entitled to do so if the Deputy has given way, which she has.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

The evidence I was referring to was absolutely not about the merits of breastfeeding, or the need for that at all.  It was about the evidence for the operational need within the States for Jersey for these specific roles to be created.  I do not wish to create a divisive atmosphere here at all, we do not need to do that, but I am just stating that that was what I meant.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am not too sure procedurally how I can do this, because I have spoken ...

The Bailiff:

Well, if you can clarify a point in your speech, Chief Minister, then you can, if the Deputy gives way.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

If there is doubt and if the Deputy is happy to give way on the clarification, the point I believe I made and I believe the Minister for Treasury and Resources has made, is that if the individual coming in on 9th December, in assessing the area that she is coming in to, says that there is a need, the Minister for Treasury and Resources has said money will be found and then it will be done into the Government Plan on a recurring basis thereafter.  So, for 2020 we can find the money if there is a need, if the professional says there is a need and in 2021 we would make sure there is a recurring addition in the budget. 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I find myself in a very difficult position, because I believe I have given the evidence that operationally this is required.  The Steering Group is composed of 3 politicians; yes, it is a partly political steering group, but we have a paediatrician, we have the head midwife, we have the head of Family Nursing, we have the only specialist breastfeeding expert on the Island on that group and all of those people on that group believe this post is needed.  I cannot imagine that the new head of midwifery, that is going to be in post soon would not welcome, with open arms, an extra sum of money in his, or her, budget for an extra staff member to focus on this priority.  That is what the difference will be in fact and I think we should focus down on that, is that perhaps this could be carried out from existing budgets, perhaps.  I have been told, previously, that perhaps this could be done in the future.  I found a notebook from 2018 from the very first meeting of the Steering Group and I have noted down there: “We also need a lead midwife in this area.”  Senator Moore I can see is nodding, because she remembers that meeting, as well.  This is not something that has come out of nowhere.  Deputy Martin referred to the minutes and I was quite puzzled as to why the Minister wanted to send the minutes around, because, in my mind, those minutes back up my argument.  This has been discussed by the Steering Group.  A few minutes ago, I sent around previous meetings from that Steering Group because over and over again over the last year the request has been made in that Group for a peer support system.  If Members look through those minutes they will see that.  I can see the Minister for Health and Social Services gesturing in front of me.  Does he want to add something?

The Bailiff:

I am afraid the Minister for Health and Social Services has no option to add something, unless it is within Standing Orders, Deputy.

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I am happy to give way, if he wants to add something.

The Bailiff:

Not to add something.  If it is a point of clarification of yours, or his, speech then that is fine.  Do you have a point of clarification, Deputy?

Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen:

May I seek a point of clarification, Sir?  When the Deputy is saying that the evidence and the desire of the Steering Group was clearly set out in a successive minutes, can she say whether that desire and that evidence was ever forwarded on, because that has been our difficulty.  We have no record of this request having been escalated through proper channels, so that a proper review of the evidence can take its place.

The Bailiff:

Are you able to provide that clarification?

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Yes.  So, at the time, I was informed that a business case had been made and I did ask for this to be found and, unfortunately, despite lots of searching, it has not been found.  The thing is there has been - Deputy Gardiner mentioned it - a lot of confusion and miscommunication here and it seems like there is this opaque structure, that I cannot access, that sits above the experts that are doing the work on the ground.  Because the people whose views I care about are the experts, the people who are working with the mothers and the babies and who know their subject area.  But there seems to be this big structure and Deputy Young referred to it as well.  I have had conversations with the Minister this week and he has been supportive of this and then something has happened behind the scenes and he has come back to me and then not supported it.  It has left me feeling like this debate should be about £91,000, which is a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things, being added to the health budget to improve and add to an evidence-based initiative to improve outcomes for families.  But it has become about who is setting the priorities on the Island.  The Minister mentioned the proper processes have not been followed.  This is the process that I have at my disposal; this Chamber and my fellow States Members.  It is politicians who set priorities, it is not officers and I have the utmost respect for officers at all levels of our organisation and I listen to the advice that is given.  But, at certain levels of management, the focus is likely to be on the immediate demands of the Department in terms of thinking strategically, target operating models, head counts and quite rightly so, because somebody has to think about all those things.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Would the Deputy give way?

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

No, sorry, I will not.  Somebody has to think about those things and we have to ask them to do so and I think they are doing a great job facilitating change throughout our organisation.  But we are not a business, we are not just an organisation; we represent the people out there.  As elected representatives of those people, it is our job to set the priorities for the Island.  It is our job to think long term and to set a vision for what we are hearing Islanders want.  I would be really worried if we always blindly followed the processes and what we were told to do in keeping within the system, because what is the point of politicians at all in that case?  Why not just get rid of us and be run by a corporation?  No.  I am here and we are all here to listen to advice, to listen to the people, but also, yes, to do our research, which I have done.  We are here to take the temperature of the Island and then to enact the will of the people.  Deputy Young referred to it; there are hundreds of mothers and hundreds of families calling for this.  In the grand scheme of things, it is a very small amount of money.  The calls for me to withdraw from the Ministers, I would counter that with calls for them to stand up and accept it, because it is a small amount of money, which could have a huge impact.  The Minister yesterday mentioned the comments that were written and that Family Nursing, the health visitors have already achieved stage one of baby friendly and that is just the first stage of the initiative.  The maternity unit is yet to achieve that.  Does that not tell us something?  They are doing their best, breastfeeding is a stated commitment and a priority, they need more resources.  That is another piece of evidence.  The Minister yesterday and other Members have mentioned what about having an extra oncology nurse, what about having somebody to support mental health and diabetes. 

[10:15]

I thought the Minister was reading out the research that I had read out, because that list of conditions - cancer, diabetes, mental health - that one research report that I read from stated that improving breastfeeding rates has been proven to reduce the incidence of all those diseases; every single one of them that the Minister mentioned.  If we invest in supporting breastfeeding and getting the rates up now, we will not need as many oncology nurses down the line.  That is a fact.  There is evidence to support that.  I really do welcome the invitation from the Minister to participate in a review of this area.  I am passionate about it and I would love to take part in that process.  What I would like to see is this additional sum of money going in, kick-starting it, the head of midwifery, no one in their right mind is going to say they do not want this, so this will be on top of any ideas and plans that that new person will have.

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Would the Deputy give way for a point of clarification?  It is further to my clarification of what I was trying to tell the Chief Minister and Members earlier, that we had started the briefest of looking at Scrutiny at this issue, but based on the new information, circulated by the Minister for Health and Social Services last night, based on the commitment now made by the Minister for Treasury and Resources, will the Deputy on that point allow us, as Scrutiny, to do a quick review of everything that has been said today, to help this come forward.  I only offer that as further point of clarification for the Deputy.

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Thank you but, no, I would like to stick with the Amendment.  Senator Moore yesterday again made the point about the benefits of breastfeeding.  I thank Deputy Ward for the speech.  It is quite difficult to remember all the speeches when we have slept in between.  I think the Constable of St. John and other Members did speak about the advice that has been given and the expert advice and I will just reiterate that the front line staff, working in this area, have said that this is needed.  I think I have covered all my points.  Yes, Deputy Maçon referred to the comments that had been made and I think he said he was not sure, because it had stated in the comments that the current provision does meet the present need and demand.  Well, I demonstrated yesterday that there was only one breastfeeding clinic, which is on a Tuesday at St. Brelade, so again something has been miscommunicated from the operation level up to whoever is writing those comments, because how can that possibly be true that the present demand is being met, when there is one specialist clinic every week.  If anybody listened to the radio this morning, there were a number of mothers speaking out on the radio - I think we have had an email as well - and calling for more resources.  So, I am sure that it was not intentional but that is not true that the present need and demand is being met.  Deputy Martin started out by saying there was nothing in the minutes about this post and then went on to talk about 2 places where it had been mentioned.  Yes, I did ask the group, after there was a discussion about the peer support system, which I think we have discussed at every single meeting that I have been to of the Baby Friendly Steering Group, that there have been repeated requests for a peer support system and the conclusion was always: “Well, we have not got capacity to do it and we have not got funding to do it.”  So, at the end of the meeting I said: “Are there any other areas that need to be improved?”  I was told: “Yes, there need to be more of those clinics.”  This was a month ago and, of course, I said: “Well, the Government Plan debate is coming up, I will take this evidence to States Members and I will attempt to get funding for this.”  That is the mechanism available to me.  The Chief Minister said something that really worried me.  First of all he said: “I would like to support this, but; and we support breastfeeding, however ...”  It is not OK for us to be saying to women “breast is best” and “you should try to breastfeed your baby” but then to not give them adequate support to do it.  It is not fair of us to do that, because that is what is happening at the moment is that mothers are being made to feel like they are failures, because they cannot breastfeed their babies even when they want to; 78 per cent of babies are being breastfed upon discharge from hospital, 78 per cent.  That is how many mothers want to feed their babies.  By the time the babies are, I think, 6 to 9 months old it is negligible, it is around 17 per cent.  We need to back up the messages that we are giving about encouraging breastfeeding with adequate resources.  The Chief Minister, the thing that he said that worried me, he said: “This is a political decision, not a rational one.”  Well, I like to make rational decisions; I do not feel like I am a politician.  I am a primary school teacher who happens to be doing politics at the moment.  I am a psychology graduate, who happens to be doing politics at the moment and I approach things rationally and I think the rational decision to make today ... and I think Deputy Labey, it was an interesting speech, I think that he should go with his gut feeling and he should go with his beliefs and not be swayed by this big clunking system that we have.  He should vote with his conscience.  There were a couple of other speakers, I think I am going to stop there.  I have not had enough of a commitment.  “If” and “possibly” is not enough for me.  I have presented the evidence, it is backed up by the local experts, it is backed up by international research, I have presented all of that.  It is a small amount of money.  To me, this is a no-brainer and I think we should send this message now, put this small amount of money in to have a huge impact, not just on public health, but on our finances in saving money in the long term for Jersey.  Thank you, I ask for the appel please.

The Bailiff:

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

POUR: 17

 

CONTRE: 30

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Sir, just if I can as a point of order, we will be scrutinising this after what has just happened this morning. 

The Bailiff:

No, that is absolutely not a point of order, Deputy Pamplin, that is a comment after the result has been known and it is not appropriate at this point.  Before we move on to the next Amendment, Deputy Tadier has advised me that he wishes to make a Statement on a Matter of Official Responsibility in his capacity as President of the Jersey branch of Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie and I, therefore, invite him to make that statement.  There should be copies circulated to Members, you should have it in both French and English on your desks. 

 

STATEMENTS ON A MATTER OF OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITY

2.The President of the Jersey Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie will make a statement regarding French Teacher Day

2.1Deputy M. Tadier (President of the Jersey Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie):

Il se peut que l’Assemblée ignore que Le Jour du Prof de Français tombe aujourd’hui.  C’est l’occasion de reconnaître le travail des enseignants de français et de ceux qui enseignent en français partout dans le monde.  En tant que Président de la Section de Jersey de l’Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (A.P.F.), je voudrais donc profiter de cette occasion pour saluer le travail des enseignants de français à Jersey et tout ce qu’ils font afin de promouvoir la langue dans l’Ile. La promotion de la francophonie et l’enseignement du français font partie des objectifs de l’A.P.F. L’apprentissage du français - voire de n’importe quelle langue étrangère - apportent plusieurs avantages à l’individu; ce dont j’ai parlé auparavant à cette Assemblée.  J’ai, moi-même, bénéficié comme étudiant d’un très haut niveau d’enseignement de français, et à l’école primaire et à l’école secondaire.  Et j’ai pu apprendre l’importance des programmes d’échange entre les écoles jersiaises et celles de la Normandie et de la Bretagne.  Je suis reconnaissant à nos enseignants que ce niveau d’enseignement et ces programmes continuent de nos jours.  Il est important de défendre et de promouvoir l’enseignement des langues étrangères.  Et de défendre et promouvoir l’usage du français dans cette Assemblée et à travers Jersey - surtout vu le statut des Etats comme assemblée francophone.  Car ce n’est pas l’individu seul qui en profite mais l’Ile entière.  En tant que Président de la Section de Jersey, je veux qu’on joue un rôle actif au sein de l’A.P.F. Grâce à ma participation aux conférences de cette organisation, j’ai assisté à une importance grandissante du français dans l’Europe de l’après-Brexit.  Notre adhésion à l’A.P.F. nous permettra d’en profiter.  Cette adhésion aide à renforcer nos liens avec notre voisin, la France, et surtout les régions de la Normandie et la Bretagne.  En outre, elle encourage la création de liens avec d’autres pays européens.  Quel que soit le résultat du Brexit, l’adhésion de Jersey à l’A.P.F. nous fait regarder vers le sud et l’est – et pas seulement vers le nord - et nous assistera à nous préparer à toutes les possibilités.  Avec mes collègues du comité exécutif de la Section Jersiaise, je continuerai à promouvoir notre adhésion à l’A.P.F. et le renforcement de nos liens avec le monde francophone.  Ces liens sont d’une nature historique, culturelle, sociale, géographique et économique.  Mais ils sont aussi d’une nature éducative et je salue donc encore le travail de nos enseignants de français et des organisations francophones dans l’Ile.  Et en ce jour, Le Jour du Prof de Français, je dis: “Vive le français et vive la francophonie!”

The Bailiff:

There is now a period of 15 minutes.

2.1.1Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

I am going to ask my question in English, if that is all right.  I could do it in French, but I would quite like it to be understood by those who do not speak French in the Assembly and elsewhere.  As Chairman of the French section of the Jersey Eisteddfod and President of Jersey Eisteddfod, I should declare that interest.  Is the Assistant Minister aware that the last 2 days have seen the participation by many local schools and adults in the French language part of the Jersey Eisteddfod in the Town Hall on Tuesday and at the Arts Centre yesterday?  Will he join with me in commending the teachers in particular - relevant to his statement - but also all the other people involved in the Jersey Eisteddfod languages section, particularly the Maison de Normandy, the Alliance Française and all those who ran the classes while I was otherwise detained in here?  Will he join with me in wishing the Eisteddfod Language Gala on Saturday at 2.30 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Church a great success?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I thank the Constable for that question.  Clearly, the Eisteddfod plays an important part and I was recently attending a conference to do with minority languages and the Welsh delegates are always fascinated when they find that Jersey has its own well-established Eisteddfod.  I do congratulate all of the children and the organisations, be they teachers and the schools, or the French speaking organisations in the Island, that the Constable has mentioned for preparing these students.  For some students, it is a really big deal, it is the first time they may be getting up speaking in a language which is not their first for the very first time and it can be really daunting to do that.  Others take it in their stride and I think that, for some schools in particular, it is a great effort for them to do that, so I do congratulate them and I also wish all the best for any of these imminent French speaking events that are coming up. 

2.1.2Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

A mon avis, c’est la première fois qu’une telle déclaration a été faite dans cette Assemblée, certainement pendant les dernier quatre ans et certainement en français. Mais la question pour moi, c’est pour le Président. Qu'est-ce que c'est la priorité la plus importante pour lui pendant la prochaine année.  In English: what is the most important priority for the President of the Assembly in the next year, obviously from the perspective of the A.P.F. (Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie)?

Deputy M. Tadier:

Obviously, speaking entirely as the President of the A.P.F., because there are lots of political priorities as an individual, or collectively, I think it is that point that Jersey needs to regain some of the momentum I think it has lost, not just in its learning of French and teaching of French, but second languages generally.  I think, while Jersey is cosmopolitan - and as I have said in other speeches - we have got a great resource in the many immigrant national communities that we have got coming to the Island, who are at least bilingual, but some of our own home grown and home born children are becoming increasingly monolingual and I think this is a trend we need to reverse.

[10:30]

There will clearly be challenges, but advantages in us becoming more of a francophone Assembly and Island in any kind of post-Brexit world.  Even if Brexit does not happen - and we can all chuckle now while I say that - there are clearly advantages for us working more closely and looking, as I said in my speech, towards the east and south, not simply towards those important relations with the north.

2.1.3Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

Tout en remerciant le Président de notre section de lA.P.F. pour sa déclaration, je lui demanderai si, à son avis, il y a suffisamment d'attention dans le Plan du gouvernement sur l'importance de la langue française, particulièrement autour des discussions au sujet du Brexit?

Deputy M. Tadier:

Je remercie aussi le Connétable pour cette belle question.  Je pense qu’au niveau de toutes les préparations qu’on est en train de faire pour le Brexit, je pense que jusqu’ici on continue, que le gouvernement fait un très grand travail pour les préparations, pour tout ce qui arrive.  Mais, je pense que, évidemment, on pourrait faire plus pour tout ce qui est la Francophonie.  Et, peut-être, dans ce Plan, il n’y a pas vraiment spécialement quelque chose qui est fait pour le français.  Mais je pense qu'en général, on essaie de tout faire pour l’éducation et, en tant que ma position, je vais essayer de promouvoir l’utilisation de la langue française, surtout dans le contexte du Brexit.

2.1.4Senator K.L. Moore:

Alors, Monsieur le Président, étant donné que vous avez beaucoup d’aspirations pour cette section de l’A.P.F à Jersey, est-ce que vous avez des intentions dagrandir la section, pour bien inviter d’autre membres de cette Assemblée de vous joindre?  Would the President invite more Members of this Assembly to join his section, so that they can realise their aims and ambitions for this year?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I thank the Senator for that question.  I think it is important to note that there is a difference, for example, in the numbers of committee members on the C.P.A. (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) versus A.P.F.  I have given a commitment early on to say that we should be extending the numbers on the A.P.F., especially given the fact that there are still French speaking Members of this Assembly, who would like to join our committee, but the numbers are too restrictive.  Incidentally, it is purely co-incidentally we have an entirely male A.P.F. committee at the moment. That has just happened, by chance, so we would certainly welcome any more French speakers from the Assembly, especially if they happen to be female. 

2.1.5Senator T.A. Vallois:

I am going to ask a question in English, so I do apologise.  As Minister for Education I would like to join the President in celebrating French Teachers Day, but I would ask the President whether he recognises the growth that is being placed in the Government Plan today for intensive teaching for Year 5 students for French, in particular, but also his view on modern foreign languages within schools as it currently stands and what he believes we can be doing to improve a multilingual society. 

Deputy M. Tadier:

I do recognise that particular initiative and I see its value.  We need to do both.  From my point of view - and this is a personal opinion but I hope it is not that controversial among those of us who promote French or any language - is that we need to do much more from a younger age, so Year 5 is great, but we should be teaching a second language at nursery.  It would be great if we had some sort of immersion nursey in whatever language, but particularly in this context in French and that we make it normal for G.C.S.E. (General Certificate in Secondary Education) in French, or in a second language, to be obligatory.  I know that cannot happen overnight, because there are resourcing implications, so you make the biggest impact by targeting your resources at the youngest ages and, similarly, once we have done that, it is sensible to make sure that as many students as possible are taking an exam in a foreign language, at least up until the G.C.S.E. point. 

2.1.6Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

Does the Assistant Minister accept that one of the reasons that we have a deterioration in second languages is that the curriculum has become more and more narrowed, as we focus more and more on a model of education that is based upon simple numeric outcomes, on a few subjects and, therefore, it will inevitably mean that the richness of our young people’s education falls at the altar of numeric tracking?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I do have a general concern and it is not limited to Jersey, or specifically critical of the Jersey model, that education for the market, rather than education for education’s sake is becoming more common.  That said, even if we did have a system where we are educating for the market, it seems to me that a second language - French in particular in the Jersey context - is absolutely the sensible thing to do.  So, the cognitive benefits of learning and being fluent in a second language, thinking in that second language, are both good for the individual and as an employability factor.  So, I do have sympathy with Deputy Ward’s point and we should not be looking at too rigid a system.  Perhaps the corollary is that we are too U.K. (United Kingdom) facing in terms of the curriculum.  It is difficult to see how we might disentangle ourselves from that immediately, but something like the International Baccalaureate, for example, which is gradually gaining more support, I think is a welcome initiative. 

The Bailiff:

Est-ce qu’il y a plus des questions pour le Député?  Are there more questions of the Deputy?  Very well, that brings questions for the Deputy to an end.  Thank you very much, Deputy Tadier.

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption

3.Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): fourteenth Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(14)

The Bailiff:

We now move on with the debate on the Government Plan.  The next is an Amendment by the Connétable of St. Helier, Amendment 14 and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 2, paragraph (f)(i) – After the words “Appendix 3 to the Report” insert the words “, except that decisions on disbursements from the Fund shall be decided by a Committee of States Members, elected by the States, whose composition and terms of reference shall be approved by the States, following a Proposition to be presented by the Privileges and Procedures Committee

3.1.The Connétable of St. Helier:

Can I say at the outset that this is not an attempt to reintroduce the committee system, as some people have suggested to me?  After all, ministerial government is great, is it not?  It is transparent, it is accountable, it is responsive to Scrutiny and to backbenchers, so why would you change it?  No, this is a particular concern that I have about M.S.F.s in the Government of Jersey and, if people are not familiar with that acronym, M.S.F. stands for ministerial slush fund.  Members may not like that, but I have evidence that they exist and that they operate.  I think this is far too important a pot of money to turn into an M.S.F.  The spending of this money on climate change is how we will be judged as an Assembly in the coming few years.  Now, the projet, or the Amendment, that I have put forward to Members - I hope Members have read it - I have given a couple of examples here of first of all how important it is we get this right.  We are loading Islanders with extra charges to create this fund.  We have already approved a fairly swingeing increase in the cost of fuel, because we did not listen to the Environment Scrutiny Panel, who wanted a more modest increase, so we have slapped an extra 6 pence on to that.  I think Islanders, as they begin to feel the effect of that on their pockets, not all Islanders will notice, but some will, they will want to be reassured that the money they are contributing - that is, of course, unless they drive an electric vehicle, in which case they are not going to be contributing anything but that is another matter - the money they are contributing will be spent wisely by the States.  I have given just one example here of how, certainly in the past, this has not always happened.  I have given the recent example of a Minister, who decided that putting money into promoting an e-bike scheme was good value, in the complete absence of any kind of cycling strategy.  The Roads Committee of St. Helier sent a draft one to the then Minister in 2005, that is 14 years ago and we still have not got it.  It is a very slow bicycle ride towards a strategy.  So, in the absence of any kind of strategy, the Minister thought it was appropriate to pump money into an ebike scheme.  Now, you could have argued that the money would have been better spent on creating some safe cycling routes for normal bikes that would encourage parents to let their children cycle to school and make some nervous commuters more willing to cycle to work.  You could argue that the grants to the e-bike purchases were going to people who could already afford a fairly expensive bicycle, so why did they need a hand up when it is, perhaps, the people who could not afford an electric bike who might have wanted to buy a decent ordinary bike, should have had that money instead.  That was just one small example of what could go wrong with this - I am not going to call it an M.S.F. - with this pot of money for climate change.  Now, in the comments that have been lodged by the Council of Ministers, they find various things wrong with it and first of all they say that it means that the money will not be spent in line with the Government Plan.  That just seems to me to be clearly wrong.  If the States chooses to go down this path, the committee of States Members who decide how to spend this money, obviously in consultation with the Minister, they are not going to spend the money on things that are not in the Government Plan, because if they did they would be subject to a vote of no confidence very quickly.  Of course, they are going to be spending it in line with the Government Plan.  After all, the Government Plan is so broad and long and thick that you could probably defend any expenditure as being in the Government Plan if you wanted to, which of course is going back to my earlier point, that is what worries me that the Government Plan will not prevent the Minister ... I have got a lot of time for the Minister for the Environment, in spite of my slightly colourful language I used recently.  I think he is going to do a great job and this particular Minister for the Environment, I am not sure he would have supported the money going into the e-bike scheme, in the absence of a cycling strategy.  But I would like to see his hands strengthened by a committee of people like the very Deputy who introduced the climate change emergency into the States, Deputy Ward.  I would like him to be around that table discussing how the money should be spent.  I would like a couple of other backbenchers involved, people like Deputy Morel, who has made it quite clear that he has concerns about how things work.  Indeed, further down in the comments by the Council of Ministers they say this: “The proposed expenditure and indeed income sources from and to the Climate Emergency Fund are capable of being reviewed and scrutinised by the same Scrutiny Panels which review and scrutinise the overall Government Plan.”  Well, exactly and we have just seen, in the last few days, what happens to Scrutiny’s proposals.  I would like those Scrutiny members to be around the table with the Minister when these funds are being disbursed.  So, I think this is important, it is important that we are increasing charges to the public and I think the public need to know that not just one, but a group of States Members will be allocating that funding.  I am quite prepared to leave P.P.C. (Privileges and Procedures Committee) to devise, in consultation with the Minister for the Environment and other Members, the kind of committee that should be brought forward to do this important work.  I maintain the Amendment

The Bailiff:

Is the Amendment seconded?  [Seconded]

3.1.1Deputy J.H. Young:

I think the Connétable is absolutely right to want to ensure that the governance of this new special purposes fund under the new Public Finances Law - I think it is probably the first one we have created - is as sound and fully accountable and transparent as it needs to be.  Certainly, as the Minister in office for the remainder of this term, I would not be party to bringing forward if it did not comply with those principles.  Obviously, the Council of Ministers - who I am speaking on behalf of today - has looked carefully at the Connétable’s Proposition and finds itself unable to support the Proposition; not the purposes which it wants to achieve, which I mentioned before, good governance and so on, it is fully in support of those, but it does not believe that the approach set out in the Amendment achieves that.  The Council of Ministers’ view and I share that view, is that the Proposition, if adopted, would dilute the existing terms of reference for the fund, the terms of reference, which as Minister, I have not drafted.

[10:45]

I have not had a hand in that.  Those terms of reference were draft when the Council of Ministers spoke about the climate change fund, decided on the concept.  The Treasury team and the Minister for Treasury and Resources put their heads together and I was happy and, in fact, made sure that the terms of reference ... which again I think you have had circulated.  They are not only in the main Proposition, the one which is P.71, they are at the back, appendix 3.  They have also been attached to the comments of the Council of Ministers, which I would refer the Members to, because they are very important.  The current terms of reference, at the moment, requires that all expenditure from this fund must be - must be - approved by the Assembly, as part of a Government Plan, or any future Amendment to that.  Of course, I think the Constable perhaps is asserting, I think, that really this is a fund which will become - in fact, he said that - a Ministers slush fund.  I think that implies that that would be available in the hands of a single Minister.  But, certainly, I have found and this is my personal view, the amount of funds that I have access to is, I think, the most derisory and low amounts of money anywhere in the States Budget, about 0.5 per cent and there is so much competition for those monies.  We have to have good processes in place to make those policy choices.  I wish that was not the case; I would want to see more money.  So, certainly, a slush fund does not exist and I will comment on the example that the Connétable gave towards the end of what I have to say.  The situation is the opposite.  No single Minister is responsible for this, the spending.  In fact, the reality is that under the Council of Ministers’ proposed terms, the entire Assembly has the opportunity to approve that expenditure from the fund.  In fact, that is in the Proposition, which we are going to be talking about, hopefully, if we ever get to it.  This is the most democratic way to ensure that the fund’s expenditure meets the Assembly’s objective.  Of course, what we have already had and I am delighted at this, I thought we had an excellent debate on Tuesday about climate change, the environment, investment and priorities and I think all that will serve very much to assist us in our journey forward on that climate change.  Again, I think I am going to depart a bit from my prepared speech to refer to what ... the Constable spoke about involvement of Members and I absolutely agree with him in that, but I think it is not the right vehicle to bring those Members into the actual decision making, the mechanics of this fund, if you like.  The processes that will come forward, in the climate change Plan, which the Members will see very shortly, will involve most definitely both a top-down and a bottom-fed structure, in which key Members, who have an interest in this area, will have an opportunity to input to that policy work.  I can very much say that, certainly, the team of officers that are doing outstanding work at the moment trying to bring that to a conclusion are fully involving Deputy Ward, for example, in that work so far.  There have been meetings.  If other Members have a particular interest, that can go on.  So, I am absolutely committed to the engagement of Members, but I do not believe that embodying them in a kind of a piece of machinery - because this is what it is, which is about a governance process - is the right way of doing it.  In fact, it could arguably lead to a conflict of role.  I kind of see where the Constable might have got the impression that there was one Minister in charge of the fund, but the wording is ... and I do not want to bog this down too much, but if you can find the terms of reference proposed by the Council of Ministers in appendix 3, paragraph 1.1(a), 2.1, 2.3, 2.4 all set out the limit of the Minister’s role very tightly.  It is very constrained, the Minister’s role in that.  I see myself as kind of ... OK, I am the responsible Minister, but as very much a midwife for what is a corporate and vital project, which the whole Island is committed to and this Assembly.  I have only got authority for the overall policy responsibility, for the delivery of policies and initiatives to meet Jersey’s responses, but those policies and initiatives have to be approved by this Assembly.  There is no authority for the Minister to approve disbursements which are out of line with those expenditure proposals that the States have approved.  Of course, under that rule, all of those issues are capable of being reviewed, scrutinised and amended by the Scrutiny Panels, either the individual one, or the same ones.  Therefore, I think there is access through Members, if you like, into that governance, but I think I would want to have Members more involved in the actual Plan preparation, which I have said earlier will be what we bring forward shortly, recognising the Assembly has clearly said that it sees a global climate emergency as being really pretty well, I think, a main priority, if not number one.  So, there is that commitment to regularly inform and update the Assembly on our response and I think, since Deputy Ward’s Proposition, we have done as I said.  There has been a regular report to the Council of Ministers.  We have published several reports and that will carry on and there will be opportunity to do that.  I am going to defer now quickly to the example that the Connétable gives.  I do not criticise the Minister for Infrastructure on that, but I do think that, for example, I personally would have wanted to see a decision to put money into a particular scheme, for example, the e-bike one, to have evidence and measure up that the actual benefit that we would receive in the modal shift between one mode and the other, between cycling, walking, buses and so on.  I think that is pretty essential to all of our climate change expenditure decisions, because we have said in this Assembly this is going to cost a massive amount of money and we must make sure that every piece of spend is well targeted and we get the proper benefits.  Those are the processes that I believe.  The terms of reference are set out in the Proposition, which are in detail and I referred Members to the paragraph.  I will not read them out.  Maybe other Members will wish to do that, if we have got time, but I do believe that that structure proposed is sound, transparent and it will make sure that there is the wide opportunity from Members to contribute to that response, so, therefore, I ask Members - and just repeat, there will not be a slush fund while I am the Minister, I can absolutely assure that - not that I am putting implications on any other Minister having a slush fund.

Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour:

A point of order, Sir.  The dictionary definition of a slush fund is: Money for illicit purposes and political bribery’, so can we just withdraw that?  I would be grateful if the Constable would withdraw that remark, as well.

The Bailiff:

You have had access to a dictionary, which I am afraid I do not have, but I entirely accept that that is the dictionary definition.  In that context, would you withdraw that?

The Connétable of St. Helier:

Yes.  I was not aware that it was the dictionary definition, Sir.  I hear it used a lot in political discourse to mean money that Ministers can simply tap into when they want to do something, so I am not sure I agree with the Minister’s definition, but if that is the definition, I clearly withdraw it, because there was no intention to suggest anything illicit, or any kind of political bribery.

Deputy J.H. Young:

I am grateful to the Connétable for withdrawing that, so I do not have to comment on it, so I withdraw my comment on that.  I think the proposals by the Council of Ministers do achieve that robust framework of good governance and accountability.  We should stick with it and allow the Members to input in the Plan, in the way I have outlined, in other ways and, therefore, I ask Members to reject the proposed Amendment.

3.1.2Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

“Oi, hands off my portfolio.”  That is what I heard there.  It is incredible and I have huge sympathy now and having been in this role for 18 months, I now understand why certain members of the current Council of Ministers were so frustrated after so many years not in the Executive, because, unfortunately, the structure we have does divide this Assembly and does create division. When you become a Minister, it appears that your nature changes and suddenly you want to defend everything: “Stop them touching anything of mine, this is mine, stay away.”  It is exclusive governance.  In spite of the fine words that we have heard many times, this Government is just as exclusive as the past governments.  I have concerns already about some of the decisions being made with regard to our approach to dealing with climate change.  I am absolutely concerned and I made that very clear publicly, about quite simply populist decisions, such as the subsidies for electric bikes, which just were not evidence-based at all.  I am concerned that renewable energy is being considered as a climate change issue, when in Jersey renewable energy is not a climate change issue, it is an energy security issue, but from a climate change perspective our energy is carbon free, effectively, so renewable energy is not a climate change issue in this Island.  I am concerned that non-Executive Members of this Assembly will be side-lined and are being side-lined, because the Minister wants to keep and protect his territory and keep everyone away.  I think this proposal is an eminently sensible one.  Climate change is an issue which affects everybody, young and old.  It is, therefore, an issue which needs to be inclusive and in which we need to manage such a fund, which is already being fed by taxation, which is driving up the cost of living in this Island.  We need to make sure that it is spent wisely, that it is spent not in a populist manner, that it is spent in ways that will address the problem and address the problem in a manner that is appropriate to Jersey and, as I said recently, just a couple of days ago, with the reality that Jersey’s stance on this is primarily a moral one and not a practical one, because as I said before, we are but the smallest drop in the enormous ocean of climate change on this planet.  If we were to change everything tomorrow and become a carbon negative society tomorrow, we would not change anything, because as long as they are pumping out carbon from factories and power stations across China and India and the U.S.A. (United States of America) and Germany and France and the U.K. and all those massively industrialised nations, no matter what we do here in Jersey, it is symbolic and it is a moral stance.  Our spending should be appropriate to that reality, because nothing we do here will make a blind bit of difference to global warming - sadly, that is the truth - and to sea level rise.  It is just sadly true.  We are but 100,000 people among 7 billion.  Our industries and our electricity are the tiniest little spot.  I say this, that it does not mean we should not fight and change the way we live and change our habits, but it means that we need to do it in a way which does not impoverish our Island and does not make life harder for Islanders in terms of affordability of living in this Island, which is already heading out of control.  I think this is an eminently sensible Proposition to make sure that people believe and have faith that the decisions being made here are inclusive ones and ones in which people have rationally thought about it and have different points of view.  It is not enough to be just in the hands of one person and Scrutiny, because, as we have seen with this Government Plan, the decisions made will be defended.  No matter how good the Amendment is, or how good the suggestions are for change, Ministers just want to defend and stop any changes, because it is their territory and they want us to stay away from their territory.  Climate change is everybody’s territory.  Climate change is something that all Members of this Assembly need to be a part of and so, creating such a committee, I believe, would be of huge benefit to the Island and give Islanders faith that we are doing the right thing and we are allocating funds from this climate fund, which is going to grow fairly fast and will become a multi-million pound fund very quickly, so please, I urge you to support the Constable’s Amendment.

3.1.3Deputy D. Johnson of St. Mary:

For my own part, I do not see this as a confrontation between the Executive on the one hand and backbenchers on the other.  I see it more as a desire on the part of those interested in climate change to have some say in the guidance where funds should go.  I will return to the exact wording of the Proposition shortly, but I think it is, perhaps, pertinent at this stage to remind Members that we do have, or the States have in their portfolio, something called the Ecology Fund.

[11:00]

According to the States accounts for last year, this stood at £473,000.  Sorry, I correct, £431,000, which is a decrease of £40,000 on that held in the previous year, so it shows that during the previous 12 months, a mere £40,000 was utilised.  I perhaps remind Members that this fund arose out of an oil spill off our coast.  Most of it has been already used, but there is a balance there and I simply query whether much attention has been paid to how that might be used in the present climate; pun excused.  There is, therefore, a precedent for ecology matters being run by persons other than Government, but that is not what is proposed here.  It is still within the confines of Government - and to return to the wording of the Proposition - it is: “Decisions to be decided by a committee of States Members whose composition and terms of reference shall be approved by the States.”  Now, the composition and terms of reference, when they are approved by the States, can so determine that decisions taken by the committee have to be further approved by the Assembly as a whole, so again, I do not see this as a means of diverting Executive decisions away from the Executive, or the Assembly per se, but rather putting in the hands of people, with a specialist knowledge in that area, some power or control, or means of influencing where it should go.  So, subject to other comments, my inclination is to support this Proposition on the basis that it can do no harm to the present situation and the present aims of what the emergency fund is meant for.

3.1.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

This is very interesting.  There were a number of points raised by the Constable of St. Helier which I think we need to address here.  One of the things I have found is that you bring Propositions to the States as a backbencher and if you are lucky enough to get something passed ... though very frequently the Council of Ministers and groups get together in order to undermine what you are doing, and you get platitudes that it could be a nice idea and: “We can do something in the future” and then nothing happens.  When the Minister talked about what we did in the debate on Tuesday: “What a wonderful debate, an excellent debate on Tuesday”, but the outcome was nothing really happened.  We were going to look a little bit at G.S.T. (Goods and Services Tax) in the future.  Yet again, nothing happened.  This is one of the issues that I recognise and Members of this Assembly say to me: “Oh, you do talk a lot, you do bring a lot of questions.”  Yes, well, get used to it, because it is not going to change, because that is what we were elected for, to represent and be part of the democratic process.  I think we should have a minimum standard of speaking in this Assembly, that you have got to participate, but that is just my opinion.  One of the things I would say, the issue is that you bring a Proposition and if you are lucky enough to get it passed, you sort of lose possession of it, it is taken away from you and Ministers say: “No, we will deal with that, do not worry.”  I will compliment the officers in the Environment Department that I have met with, who have tried to be inclusive and we have had good discussions and they do know their stuff.  This is a slight difference here and I accept that fully, but you do tend to lose part of that Proposition.  As a backbencher, you put an enormous amount of work into it, because you do not have much support to bring these things forward, you have to do the work yourself.  Therefore, you become very attached and a part of the things that you bring, so that is one issue that could be addressed by this sort of idea.  I would like to suggest something to the Assembly and I did email Deputy Raymond and Senator Farnham after we had a look at the Political Oversight Group meeting when they set up a board to look at the new hospital.  There is something and it is referred to as sortition; there is a Sortition Foundation and I sent you a link to it.  It is a way of producing a representative random sample of people making decisions in an informed, fair and deliberate setting.  I think, if we are going to take climate change seriously, we need to have a citizens’ assembly, which is not just the normal voices that get involved in Parish Assemblies, but on particular issues that can be focused on that we get a representative sample of our population.  When I see Senator Gorst saying: “This is the citizens’ assembly”, well, I am afraid it is not truly representative of our population, because there are very few young people here, there are very few ethnic minorities in this Assembly and it is very much skewed towards one particular demographic.  That is the way it goes on.  I am part of that demographic, a middle-aged white man, so what am I to talk about it?  But, at least, I am aware of it.  I think something like a citizens’ assembly, set up with sortition as its process, truly representative of a population, could feed into this sort of group and I think that would be very useful indeed, because you would get the views of those people.  Obviously, the fearful part there is that citizens’ assembly might be more radical than we are in the changes that they want to see.  If they are more radical, what are we going to do with it?  Because we know what happens and it is this part of the issue, this is the expenditure has got to be part of the Government Plan.  So, along comes a citizens’ assembly to say: “We need to do more” and here comes the Council of Ministers: “But it is not in the Government Plan.  We cannot do that.  I know that you want it, but we are truly representative of the people”, even though that true representative sample of the people has said: “Do more.”  This is going to be an issue and that is the problem with opening up democracy.  You might not get what you want to hear, but we have to be brave enough to do that, particularly around climate change.  In terms of the fund itself, part of it is going towards the Sustainable Transport Policy and I am concerned that the theory does determine a lot as to what will happen here and I would say, at this point, I do not think a Sustainable Transport Policy is just about building bus shelters, road crossings and knowing how many bus shelters we need.  It needs to be much more forward than that and I would be concerned if that was the case there.  That is why you need input from a number of people.  I am always cautious about compliments and I see my name is mentioned in the report.  Thank you very much, but I know popularity comes and goes.  I cannot read my own handwriting, I apologise.  I would say that this is a very interesting idea and it really genuinely should be considered by everybody here, because what it does is it opens up the impact of this Assembly and perhaps other groups on what is a very particular issue of our time, which is climate change.  If we fail to act, we will all suffer from the consequences.  I disagree with Deputy Morel on one thing, because I am hopelessly hopeful on this.  We are a small Island, but I remind you all, it was small islands that started the pressure with regard climate change.  Although we may feel we are only making a small impact, I believe our impact is much wider worldwide with other small islands in other jurisdictions and that others are just catching up with where we are.  I finish with this: we have enabled our Council of Ministers to go to different conferences when they are talking about climate change and say: “We have already declared a climate change emergency” and sit up nice and straight and proud.  They should be pleased that they can do that.  Now let us act on it and let us include as many people as we can in the actions that we take and I think we should seriously consider this Proposition.  I, for one, think I will be supporting it. 

3.1.5Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I think I am delighted to follow the last speaker, particularly in his comment about popularity comes and goes.  Boy, I can certainly attest to that one at various times.  I would just like to bring us back to the point and ultimately it comes down to - and I do not know if you want to open this debate up - the ministerial and executive system that we have had in place since 2005, or the old committee system.  Fundamentally, because let us be very clear, what is being asked to be set up is a committee that is going to make decisions on spending directly.  Now, that may, or may not be, a good thing, but we do not have anything like that as yet, because that is the structure that it has gone through.  I will not give my personal views on committee systems, or not, but Members might be surprised.  But the point is the Proposition says: “Except that decisions on disbursements [that is spending] from the fund shall be decided by a committee of States Members”, which, obviously, P.P.C. will then be charged to set up and put the rule around.  Now, fairly obviously, we do want to make sure we have got some controls on here, because what we do not want, I would suggest - although it is always about political priorities - is a politician coming in driving a particular hobbyhorse, which they couch as environment spend, but it is more a hobbyhorse and that is what gets driven through, because it is done through that committee.  That is why one has been very careful about how the approval process, presently in the Government Plan, is laid out.  In appendix 3 in the Proposition are the terms of reference of the proposed Climate Emergency Fund.  Obviously, that is what the Connétable is seeking to amend.  I just to draw Members’ attention, at 2.1 it says: “The purpose of the fund can only be varied by the States Assembly” so, in other words, once the terms of reference are in place, it is only here that they can be changed.  Obviously, it makes it very clear that the money is essentially ring-fenced.  Now, I think the crucial bit is 2.4, which says: “All expenditure to be incurred from the fund must be approved as part of a Government Plan, or any Amendment to such.”  So, in other words, it is here today that the approval goes in place and then it will be in future Plans, or an Amendment under that Government Plan, that one would then bring future spending to.  Just for Members, if they have not picked up on it, where it is presently listed in the initial suggestions and bearing in mind this is very much we wanted to get some money in there, we want to get a funding stream in there straight away, so that some action could be taken as soon as possible into next year.  Under Summary Table 6, which is in the red bits at the very back of the Proposition, it says: “Climate Emergency Fund.”  This is what the States Assembly is being asked to approve.  It gives an opening balance of nil, it shows potential income coming in and then says 3 areas for expenditure: “Policy development on carbon neutral and sustainable transport strategies £500,000; strengthening environmental protection £495,000; and sustainable transport initiatives” which is subject to approval by the States of a Sustainable Transport Strategy.  We would suggest that there is already a level of safeguards in there.  Obviously, this matter will evolve.  If the States Assembly wants to put effectively a spending committee in play, that is a matter for this Assembly, but in terms of the approval process for this Assembly, what I am trying to lay out is we have tried to put those measures into the hands of the Assembly and obviously in future ... well, it could have happened this time around, but in future, Members can either add, or take away, or amend, or whatever they want to do.  There will absolutely be - and I think Deputy Young has already referred to it - engagement with members of the public and there will absolutely be engagement for States Members and already, informally, I think, certainly Deputy Ward is consulted on.  But it very much comes down to - and it is a structural procedural thing, it is relatively boring, or it could be quite exciting on where you want to go - do States Members want to establish a committee that spends?  Because that is the absolute purpose of this Proposition.  If they do, then they should be absolutely supporting this Proposition.  If they do not and want to stick to the current structures, which obviously will have absolutely ... and if people do not believe Deputy Young, I will be very disappointed, because he is very much about public engagement, about engagement with States Members and all that sort of stuff.  If Members feel that the present structure is sufficient, then you should not be supporting this Amendment.  As they say, Members, the choice is yours, or the choice is for Members.  Certainly the Council of Ministers, particularly in discussions with the Minister for the Environment, did not feel it was an appropriate Amendment and I am not supporting it.

3.1.6Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

The Chief Minister has said very much the same thing that I wanted to say.  He may have taken a little bit longer to say it, but certainly in 2.4 the current Government Plan has to be approved by this Assembly and in the Amendment, the committee will be in charge of the disbursements.  The point I would like to make is that States Members do have a decision here to make and it may be around the speed that we want to move.  A report, that has come out of our Statistics Unit this morning, shows that in 2018 63 per cent of the Island’s energy was derived from petroleum products, 37 per cent from electricity.  We have got a long way to go yet and we need to move as fast as we jolly well can.  I do not know which is the quicker way to go here and I know the committee system of the old days certainly would have deliberated greatly before making decisions, but States Members have to make a choice here.  If they think we can move quicker and faster by electing a committee of very committed people, who want to move on climate change, maybe that is the answer.

[11:15]

But, at the moment, the rules are the Government Plan and we have a debate, as we are doing today, where we would debate how we want to spend the money that we put aside specifically for climate change work.  I leave that with States Members.  At the moment, I think possibly the Government Plan is probably the best way to move forward.  That is the system we have in place, but whatever we do, we need to move.  Our energy consumption is still far too reliant on petroleum products.  There are some tough decisions to make, not just about parking charges, but about the use of the internal combustion engine, how we heat our homes, vital decisions and we need to get on.

3.1.7Deputy M. Tadier:

I like to think I am open-minded on this and I also share, I think, generally the Constable’s credentials when it comes to wanting to looking after the environment, but, then again, so does the Minister for the Environment and I think we are all in agreement on that.  Again, this is not a debate about principle, it is a debate about how best do that.  On reading this, my initial reaction is one of concern.  Let us put it in the context that we do have a ministerial system presently.  Some Members will be entirely comfortable with that, others will be not comfortable and some have got used to that.  It seems to me what we are ... the Chief Minister’s comments were interesting, because I have to say that it seems to me this Council of Ministers wants to have it both ways.  They want to keep all the ultimate power for themselves, because they want to be the ones making the ministerial decisions, but they know that setting up lots of little shadow boards, where they can get people who should not be anywhere near the Executive and who, under the old system, would be on the other side of the barrier, because there was a proper separation.  That is why we have the so-called Troy Rule, that there are more in the non-Executive than in the Executive.  Clearly, if you co-opt a few Members from the Assembly to come over and effectively be a Minister, but not in name, you have got even more Members on your side and, of course, they can be a very good conduit when it comes to ... well, they are essentially what we would have called double agents in the Cold War.  They can play with one side.  We have seen an increasing number in this Assembly, who like to run with the hounds and hunt with the foxes and I found it strange, as someone on the periphery of the inner circle, who when I go to log on to a computer at Broad Street, in the ministerial suite, that I have to log somebody else out of it who is not even a Minister.  I find that strange.  Why is there somebody, who is not a Minister, or Assistant Minister, logged into this computer when that certainly never happened?  In my old days, I would occasionally go over to Cyril Le Marquand House if I was working on a committee that this Assembly had elected me on to, for example, the Access to Justice and I would be invited there, I would be let into the building, on some occasions accompanied up to the top and then, when you had finished, you might have a quick chat with the Minister, then leave the building.  You would not ever dream of trying to hang around and log on to government systems, because, of course, that is the Government of Jersey and this is the States Assembly, which we are having to try to explain to the public out there.  But, of course, the lines have been blurred.  I think that means we do have to take into account the Chief Minister’s comments with a pinch of salt, because we do currently have a hybrid system.  It is my opinion that all these committees, all they serve to do in the long run is just put off decisions that need to be made with urgency.  We see if there is a tough decision, give it to a committee that has been elected by the Assembly, call it whatever you want, a policy forum, a shadow board and let them deal with it for 2 years.  In the meantime, we all do the real policy working at Government and if it comes out and supports what we wanted to do, which it may well do, because we have infiltrated those groups so well, they will tell us what we want and if they do not tell us what we want, we will just ignore it and do what we were going to do anyway.  That is a view which I think can be given to the formation of policy boards.  The concern I have got is that when it comes to the allocation of funds, who is the best-placed group, or individual, to do that?  I would find it very strange, for example, if I grew a pot for Culture and then said: “OK, we have got £5 million here which we need to give away and it is up to States Members to do that.”  Why would I be concerned?  It is because I do not know that the States Members would necessarily allocate it to the right people.  They might be tempted to allocate it to the people who shouted the loudest, who were the best organised within the community to lobby for a particular spending pattern.  If we look at that in environmental terms, it is quite clear that decisions are going to have to be taken which are highly unpopular in the short term.  In fact, they might not be generally unpopular, they might just be unpopular with a very vocal large minority group, so you can imagine if we said tomorrow we are going to double parking charges, or we are going to double petrol prices, there would be, quite understandably, a strong lobby group - we can imagine which groups they would be - and they would be straight on the phone to States Members, they would be sending emails.  We know what it is like to be lobbied heavily on particular issues and lobbying can be very effective, as we have seen on many issues, sometimes for the right outcome; sometimes it just serves to delay an outcome, which we know is inevitable and it prevents those tough decisions being made.  I would like to hear perhaps the counterargument, but it seems to me that we want a well-resourced Environment Department, which I think we need to give them more money.  We know the fund is probably going to be much lower certainly initially than it needs to be and that those people making the decisions need to be able to do it strategically.  That is surely why we have a Minister for the Environment and a Minister for Infrastructure.  They are the ones that make the strategic directions with their officers.  It just seems to me that a committee, if it is working completely in tandem with that Department, then we do not need it and if it is to come up with different policies and it creates a tension, it is just going to serve to drag out the really important decisions that we need to be made.  I have said, in a different forum to this - slightly jokingly, but obviously the point is true - we ideally need somebody in charge of the sustainable transport policy and the environment fund to tackle climate change, who does not want to get re-elected, who is not going to get re-elected.  Clearly, officers can do that, because they are above the political melee and the fray.  They have to, of course, listen to it.  I do not know whether the Minister for the Environment, for example, is going to stand again for election, but it is quite clear that he has got a vision for the environment and where we need to be in Jersey, which transcends populism.  At the moment, from what I have heard, I am not inclined to agree with the Constable’s position.  What I do agree is that what Deputy Ward said is that we do need a citizens’ assembly, distinct from this Assembly, but that is already happening anyway.  We know that is going to be brought there.  It would make more sense if there was some kind of composite assembly, which was partly made up of the public and perhaps which had some Assembly input, so it could be chaired by a States Member, or it could be like P.A.C. (Public Accounts Committee), it could be composite in that sense.  The question, of course, is how do you elect that citizens’ assembly?  I personally think that it should be done on the same model as jury service.  Jury service is compulsory.  If you are on the list and your name comes up, you have to sit and make decisions, albeit in very tight parameters on a particular legal case, but surely, the issue of the environment and of the future of our Island and the planet is equally ... I would say more important than any one individual case that would come to court.  It is important that we have that cross-section and I think it can only really be done through that methodology, although, no doubt, there will be lots of options.  The last point I say, because I did hear Senator Gorst saying to Deputy Ward: “This is the citizens’ assembly” and I would like to commend all the great work that goes on by the so-called Greens in our Island and all throughout the world, whether it is Extinction Rebellion, Jersey in Transition, but I would say that there is an irony, of course, because there is a sense in which this is ultimately the citizens’ assembly.  You can set up a shadow board, but ultimately it is up to this Assembly and this Government to take through any proposals. Whether they are made by a committee of States Members, or made by a citizens’ Panel outside, it is ultimately up to this Assembly to do that.  I do put the challenge to the Greens out there: it is really good and it is really fine to be agitating for change there on the outside, because this is not enough, but where is the Green Party in Jersey?  I remember standing with Greens in the election in 2008, individuals who were really passionate and very capable, very intelligent, but if the environment is so important, why are they not represented in here?  Why do they not have a consistent message of 5, 10 points on a manifesto that they can circulate throughout the whole Island and then get their own party together?  Of course, they do not need to get their own party, they can come and talk to us.  We are already in existence, we have already got a head start, but this is not a party political broadcast for us.  I do put the challenge out there, though.  I think we need joined-up politics.  If the criticism is that this States Assembly and this Government is not sufficiently representative, notwithstanding the fact that there are very real hurdles to get into this Assembly - and we know one of them is nationality, but the others are often invisible, because there are invisible networks that operate in our Island - I still, nevertheless, put the challenge out that we need to get different crosssections and these people involved in policy-making.  The ultimate way to do that, of course, is for them to be in this Assembly themselves.

3.1.8The Connétable of St. Helier: 

Could I just seek leave of Members to withdraw the Amendment?  Is this a good time to do that?

The Bailiff:

Entirely.  You are at liberty to do so.

The Connétable of St. Helier:

I have to say, Sir, I saw your expression when the previous speaker was speaking, but perhaps for the first time I was persuaded by what Deputy Tadier was saying.  I think he made a lot of sense and I would be quite happy to seek leave of the Assembly to withdraw the Amendment.

The Bailiff:

Does the Assembly agree that the Connétable can withdraw the Amendment?

Deputy M. Tadier:

There is always a first time for me to make sense.

 

3.2Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): twelfth Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(12))

The Bailiff:

The Amendment is withdrawn, with leave of the Assembly.  We now come on to Amendment 12, which is an Amendment brought by Senator Moore, and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 2, paragraph (f)(ii) – After the words “to the Report” insert the words “, except that, in Summary Table 6, after the line entitled ‘Sustainable Transport Initiatives’, there shall be inserted a new line as follows, with the line entitled “Closing balance” to be amended accordingly.”

3.2.1Senator K.L. Moore:

This I see as a very exciting opportunity for Islanders.  It is an opportunity to back a double world champion and a double world record-breaker, who is an Islander, a man who has a vision for moving from the Formula 3 of sailing up to the Formula 1, in what may be the only yacht to be fuelled by renewable energy in those races.  It is so exciting and there is a great deal of interest out there.  Given the time of the Assembly, the length of this debate so far and the fact that the Deputy Chief Minister also recognises the great potential in this project and has offered an opportunity to seek alternative funding solutions together, given that illustrious and well-positioned confirmation, I seek to withdraw this Amendment.

 

3.3Government Plan 2020-2023 (P.71/2019): eleventh Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.(11))

The Bailiff:

So Amendment 12 also is withdrawn.  The next Amendment is Amendment 3 from the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 2, paragraph (g) – After the words “as set out in Appendix 2 – Summary Table 7 to the Report” insert the words “, except that, in Summary Table 7, where it states ‘Transfers to/from Consolidated Fund’, for the words ‘Consolidated Fund’ substitute the words ‘States’ Funds’, and where it states ‘From the Consolidated Fund to Climate Emergency Fund’ for the words ‘From the Consolidated Fund’ substitute the words ‘From the Strategic Reserve Fund’”.

The Bailiff:

Yes, who is speaking to it?

3.3.1The Connétable of St. Brelade (Chairman, Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel):

My Panel brings this Amendment to emphasise the public’s views that the declaration of a climate emergency should be taken seriously.  The Government have proposed that a one-off transfer be made into a newly created limited fund, to be used as an emergency funding to prevent and mitigate against the potential of any future natural disaster resulting from climate change.

[11:30]

Members will be aware that what we have is termed the Consolidated Fund or, in reality, the Government’s current account and also a Strategic Reserve Fund, which was established to be used in exceptional circumstances, to insulate the Island’s economy from severe structural decline, such as the sudden collapse of a major industry, or from a major natural disaster.  My Panel put the declaration of a climate emergency, as agreed by this Assembly, firmly in these categories: when is an emergency not an emergency?  My Panel considers the source of funding to be important in terms of who is paying for the Climate Emergency Fund.  With the Consolidated Fund acting as the Government of Jersey’s current account, this would result in last year’s taxpayers bearing the cost of the one-off transfer of funds to the Climate Emergency Fund.  Given that climate change is a crossgenerational issue, the Panel considers it appropriate and fair that the £5 million transfer to the Climate Emergency Fund is made through the Strategic Fund, which has built up its reserves through contributions made by multigenerational taxpayers.  The Panel considers that the funds, currently held in the Strategic Reserve Fund are significant enough: £807 million as at 31st December 2018 and forecast to grow to £887 million by the end of 2020 - this is based on investment return alone - and that utilising this fund for the transfer of £5 million to the Climate Emergency Fund will not negatively impact on States finances, or have any damaging consequences for the economy of Jersey.  Furthermore, the Panel considers that using the Strategic Reserve for this purpose is likely to impact positively on the sustainable well-being of Islanders over successive generations, as multigenerational taxpayers past and present will have made their contribution to tackling the climate emergency.  We are not overlooking the advice given to the Government by the F.P.P. (Fiscal Policy Panel), recommending that the Strategic Reserve should be grown.  Of course it should, and the Government should continue to add to it, within the financial parameters of the day.  That has to be balanced by using the fund for the purpose for which it is intended.  We have seen it used, certainly in 2010, as part of a fiscal stimulus for the economy and I see nothing wrong with that and presume it had the support of the F.P.P. of the day.  Several Parishes, on a much smaller scale, will hold reserve funds, to which they add annually and draw from with Parish Assembly approval as and when the need arises.  It has the effect of taking the pressure off the current account and is completely transparent.  Sometimes, I am not sure whether there might be a rubberstamp in Broad Street saying: “The Council of Ministers opposes this proposal and urges States Members to reject the Amendment, but it seems to me that most comments from C.O.M. (Council of Ministers) ... it appears to many of us in Scrutiny that they have asked the office junior - with due respect to office juniors - to simply stamp comments to this effect, in many cases without even reading the notes.  I would urge Members to take this Amendment seriously and I therefore make the Proposition.

The Bailiff:

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

3.3.2Senator I.J. Gorst:

Ministers do take this Amendment seriously and we take it seriously, because of the precedent that it potentially creates.  With the greatest respect to the Chair and the Constable, I have not, in his opening speech, heard a case for taking the money from the Strategic Reserve, rather than from the consolidated money.  He talks about the current account.  Quite rightly, that is how we think of the money in the Consolidated Fund, as opposed to the Strategic Reserve, which has become known in common everyday parlance as the rainy day fund.  Perhaps the case is that we have had such inclement rainy weather that the proposal was that we would use money from the rainy day fund, but I think the Amendment is unfortunately confused.  It is hinged upon, if I read the Panel’s report correctly, the use of the word emergency; it is an emergency, because this Assembly and others around the globe have said that the climate change issue is an emergency and, therefore, we should use the Strategic Reserve, yet that is not what the policy of usage of the Strategic Reserve calls for.  If I call upon another great politician in another place - and I have to be careful here, because I might alienate a good number of Members while appealing to others, so I will not mention the name - but it was a belief that basic good housekeeping principles were fundamentally sound when it came to the running of Government finances.  I call upon that, because if we think about how we run our own domestic, or household, affairs and we encounter an emergency and we have on hand in our current account enough money to fund that emergency situation, we, of course, use the money from the current account, while we might be giving notice to draw other monies for a longer-term impact of a disaster.  It is quite straightforward.  There is money right now to stimulate the work to start to deal with the climate emergency in the Island’s current account.  If this Assembly is serious - and I hope it is; sadly I was not here to hear the debate earlier this week - I hope it is serious about dealing with the climate emergency and if it is, the right pot of money to stimulate that work, while Government puts in place a longer-term funding stream is, without doubt, the current account, exactly what we would do running our own household.  We would not look to long-term reserves, which are giving an excellent return, thanks to some of those junior officials, which were, unfortunately, disparaged in the opening comments.  We would not use those long-term reserves, we would use the current account.  After this Government Plan debate and the creation of this fund to stimulate that change, there will be even more difficult and radical decisions needed.  I was quite impressed with Deputy Morel’s analysis of the moral obligation that we in this Assembly have to deal with the climate emergency.  He is quite right to remind us.  I was reminded, of course, of this in Washington only some months ago, that the prevailing opinion in that city is that, unless in China and unless in India, changes are made to the structure of their economy to deal with a climate emergency, why should they, in the United States of America, bring forward proposals that might disadvantage their citizens to deal with the climate change issue?  But we will be here more than just a day, we will be here for many weeks if we start to get into geopolitics.  The point that the Deputy was making, the point I absolutely agree with, it is a moral obligation upon us to make these changes and deal with these issues in our community.  They will be difficult, they will be tough and I do not buy the argument that some who support dealing with the climate emergency would have us believe, that it is scaremongering to tell Islanders that there will be tough, difficult, decisions.  For one, I am of the view that we need to provide public transport that will work for all Islanders and provide upfront funding for that public transport, so that it is practically and realistically useable, wherever one might live across our community.  Of course, living in the very dark distant area of the Island, I of course would say that, but I think it is a fundamental point.  Unless we, in this Assembly, are prepared to pump-prime those public services and public transport, we are not being honest with Islanders about what will be required and, over time, once we have done that, then the use of private transport and the cost to Island families that they are saving through the investment in public transport.  But these are all issues which we will need to deal with in the future, not to mention the fact that we might need to call upon the Strategic Reserve, in due course, to deal with some of the seawall issues, some of the capital investment issues.  This is £5 million to kick-start what is going to be a long and difficult venture.  I think, currently, Islanders are maybe divided on the 6 pence, or the 4 pence, on fuel duty that this Assembly agreed earlier this week to support the climate emergency work, but from Islanders that I speak to, they accept and they acknowledge that this work needs to be undertaken, but that it will not be straightforward.  I know and I pay tribute to the work of the Overseas Aid Commission and some of the creative pioneering proposals that they are talking with Islanders about to get us to get carbon neutrality through financial instruments, even in advance of the very ambitious target that we currently have of 2030.  I am labouring the point, but I am labouring the point for good reason.  The money is currently in the current account to do the work of kick-starting our ambition.  It is right to use our current account and not to use the Strategic Reserve.  I do not think there is a fair argument that talks about intergenerational fairness, because if we look at the F.P.P.’s recommendation, it says we should be putting more into the Strategic Reserve to cushion and offset current and future generations for the challenges and the disasters that we might face.  If we are thinking about intergenerational issues, what we would be doing is frittering £5 million away from the future generations - and we know they are going to find finances and economics more challenging; we are experiencing that all the time - we are taking it from future generations, we are taking from our children and grandchildren and saying: “We are going to spend that money now and use the current account money for other potential nice to haves.”  I, personally, do not see anything appealing about taking the money from the Strategic Reserve.  It does not meet the policy criteria.  It is not a disaster in the way that the policy criteria understands it.

[11:45]

It is an emergency.  We kick-start the work through the money in the current account and we come forward with what will be difficult, what will be challenging, but will be morally appropriate proposals to continue the work of dealing with the climate emergency and making us a beacon to other communities by being carbon neutral by 2030 and, if possible, if that work that Overseas Aid are doing with those stakeholders is - I hate this phrase - doable, but if it is possible, then we could do it beforehand, but let us not take the money that we have put aside to deal with future disasters, that rightly belongs to our children and grandchildren, when we have got the money in our current account to provide for it today.

3.3.3Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I am pleased to follow Senator Gorst, so I can give a rebuttal to the quote that he started his remarks by saying.  It is not quite clear which politician he was referring to in that quote.  That quote referred to the similarities between a household budget and a government budget, which, of course, is a completely flawed analogy for this very simple reason: a household budget can change its expenditure and it will have no impact at all on its income.  If a family chooses to increase, or decrease, its weekly shop, that will not affect the wage and the income that that family has, where a government, if they choose to increase their spending, that can have an economic stimulus effect, which can create jobs, create growth and, therefore, create tax revenue and, conversely, if it chooses to impose austerity, that can see growth harmed, it can see jobs lost and it can see tax revenue reduced.  There was an excellent politician and economist, who I also will not name, who described that household budget as having “a beautiful autonomy that governments could only ever dream of having.”  So it is a flawed analogy and whichever - I am sure it is irrelevant - politician gave that quote, it was completely wrong.  But I will still be voting the same way as Senator Gorst for one very simple reason and that is that in the criteria that outlines why the strategic fund should be used, it uses the words natural disaster and climate change is not a natural disaster, it is a manmade disaster.  It is happening because of the actions of human beings, of governments, of businesses.  It is not like a natural cycle, or it is not an earthquake, or tsunami, which happened because of purely natural reasons; it is something different to that and temperatures changing is being caused by humans.  So, the reason I thought it ought to come from the source that this Government Plan says it ought to is because, one day in the future - and I certainly hope that we do get to this point - where humanity has come to its senses and taken the action to deal with climate change and is able to restore our planet to some form of normality, where climate change is no longer an existential crisis, we will need to include from that point in our day-to-day spending measures to stop us going back on that and creating problems with climate change again.  So, for that reason, it is right that actions, which are taken to combat manmade climate change should come from the Consolidated Fund and not from the Strategic Reserve, which exists for a different purpose.  On that basis, I reject the Amendment.

3.3.4Deputy M. Tadier:

I should probably start by saying I am not that hung up on where the money comes from, because I think the key thing is that we get the emergency fund set up and - populate is not the right word - but build with the requisite money.  It is going to need to be a lot bigger than we could ever imagine.  But I do find something compelling in the Proposition put forward by the Constable and his Panel.  First of all, let us look at the nature of the Strategic Reserve.  I do not know offhand when the Strategic Reserve was set up, but I do know how it gathered some of its money.  We have heard, over the received history, if you like, the official history that has been given in this Assembly is that one of fiscal prudence, but we know, in our heart of hearts, that some of the money, that has been put away in the Strategic Reserve and the reason it has been allowed to build up so much is because other things have not been done that should have been done.  For example - and I think there are senior Members in this Assembly who would not disagree with what I am about to say - we effectively robbed social housing tenants for decades, because the rents that they were paying on properties, which had many times been paid, were not being maintained.  The profits, which they were, were going straight to the Treasury and the Treasury would then say: “I have got so much money here that I can put some of it into this big bank account which I call the Strategic Reserve.”  In the meantime, the social housing stock is collapsing to the point where our current Minister is having to metaphorically firefight to get us on an even playing field, despite the fact that we have a housing crisis, where we need so many more units.  In fact, the Strategic Reserve in part is built on the fact that we have neglected housing stock and that money for housing is going to have to be paid for.  Similarly, the story could be put right across the board.  How many things and initiatives have we not done in the past?  The whole plethora of social legislation, to name a few and maintenance in our tangible and intangible structure has not been done.  The other quote that comes to mind is that: “When is the best time to plant a tree?”  The best time is 20 years ago; the second-best time is today.  Similarly, when was the best time to start saving for an emergency fund for climate change?  The best time would have been when we first became aware, scientists became aware of the fact that humans and our addiction to fossil fuel was having a significant impact, a terrible impact on our planet, but we have come to the table as politicians very late on in this debate.  So, the time to do that, I suspect, was in the 1950s, or in the 1960s, or in the 1970s, when we knew, but chose to ignore the very real science that was put before us.  Only now, when we see the likes of Sir David Attenborough on our screens do we believe it, because we get an establishment figure, a grandfather figure, if you like, who could not possibly lie to us and it is being said on television at primetime.  It must be true, although we will not necessarily read all the journals.  So, I think the case for climate change is made, but it does not do any harm to reiterate that.  I think there is something compelling about the fact that we have got this fund, which is essentially taxpayers’ money.  It is intergenerational taxpayers’ money, which would not have been able to accrue to that extent, at least if Government had been doing its job properly.  If we would have had proper tax and spend over the last 50 years, you probably would not have a Strategic Reserve.  It is because, as I said, we have pilfered money away from those who needed it and we have not spent it where it was needed.  It seems to me that, in the future, the current generation will pay anyway.  They are going to be paying into taxation and specifically for environmental issues, whatever happens.  It seems to me that we cannot let that entire burden fall on the current account, when all of the generations that have gone before in the last 50 years also have to recognise and play a part.  But it is not something that they are going to feel, because the money is already there.  We cannot have such a blinkered view to say that the Strategic Reserve ... as I remember, the first Chief Minister I worked with in this Assembly said the Strategic Reserve is there for when finance leaves the Island.  Surely, that is a completely unsophisticated view now, 11 years on, when we realised: “OK, yes, there is always a big question over the future industry, the main industry in the Island and whether and to what extent that industry will continue to stay here.”  But I think we are managing that well.  We have got a strategy for that, but when it comes to the singularly important issue, which affects everyone, not just in Jersey, about the climate change emergency, it seems to me that is the biggest strategic priority.  If you cannot use what is called a Strategic Reserve for something which is an overriding strategic priority, then why do we have that money in the account at all?  This idea of precedent simply is not true.  The precedent has been set a long time ago for use of the Strategic Reserve.  It was only in 2015 that this Assembly was asked to dip into the Strategic Reserve to fund the Committee of Inquiry.  Again, the reason for doing that probably was not this idea of intergenerational shouldering of the burden, or even shouldering of the guilt for that, it is probably because there was not enough money anywhere else.  But similarly, I think the argument is made.  The issue of child abuse was not something that this generation per se had caused, although it is pervasive, unfortunately, in any generation.  It was an issue again, and I suspect it is all tied into the fact that we were not paying into our social system properly, so money that should have been going into child protection in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, some of that was being diverted into the Strategic Reserve, under the shroud of fiscal prudence.  Of course, we know it was anything but and so it was quite right that some of that money from the Strategic Reserve then be used to pay for the consequences of intergenerational child abuse and that whole Committee of Inquiry.  The 2, juxtaposing them like that may seem slightly unusual, but I think the case that is being made by the Panel is absolutely correct.  It is right that, in the future, my generation and the future generations will be paying for the effect of climate change, both financially and in terms of the results of climate change that we will see battering this Island, but it is also right that previous generations ... well, we use that money to fund it.  I suspect, in reality, we are going to need some money from the Strategic Reserve, not just for this fund, but for getting all of our infrastructure up and running, back up to scratch and we are going to need to see increases in taxation on a yearonyear basis going into the Consolidated Fund and into the actual budget year on year.  So, I am minded to support where the Panel is coming from, unless I hear some overriding arguments against, but I certainly have not heard them from Senator Gorst up until now.

3.3.5The Connétable of St. Helier:

I want to make a brief point in response to Senator Gorst.  I must say that in terms of the Strategic Reserve, probably because I have been in the Assembly some time, I have tended to regard it as sacrosanct and a fund that should not be dipped into unless it is absolutely necessary.  I think the Senator made the point that it is not necessary at the moment, but it may be one day.  The simple point I wanted to take him up on is, because I think it is important that this assumption is not allowed to rest unchallenged, he talked specifically about public transport and how funding must be made available for better public transport.  While I absolutely agree with him - and this is part of the problem of not having a transport policy and not having had one for years - that we cannot spend all of this money on buses and bus stops and bus infrastructure when we are so behind with walking and cycling infrastructure, it is a much better health outcome to get people walking and cycling to school and to work than to have them on the buses.  I think it is really important that we do not allow this assumption to gather momentum, that we are going to spend all of the money and there is not much of it that we are allocating to sustainable transport, on the buses.  Just I wanted to make that clarification.

3.3.6Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:

What a week it is.  I would like to say that I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of Senator Mézec’s speech, because I had already written down that I am fairly certain that the idea that the economy can be treated like a household budget has been systemically disproven on countless occasions.  It is not a line followed by the I.M.F. (International Monetary Fund) and both major party manifestos reject this notion, due to the increase in borrowing and the use of fiscal mechanisms far outside of a normal family’s remit.  It is quite narrow, as it rejects economic philosophies beyond Hayek and Friedman.  I suggest to Members that they read a paper called The Household Fallacy by the National Institution of Economic and Social Research by researchers from the University of Warwick and state that the Bank of England rejects this idea.  I do support the Scrutiny Panel and really admire what they are trying to do.  As an aside, having sat through - this is our fourth day in here - and as a backbencher and a member of Scrutiny, I would just like to ask what exam Ministers and Assistant Ministers sit to gain entry into the ministerial government.  I ask this, because time and time again this week we have been told, or it has been strongly implied, that Scrutiny is confused.

[12:00]

Senator Gorst implied that very strongly.  Ministers are, therefore, not confused?  As a backbencher and a member of Scrutiny, I am not happy with this and this highhandedness.  We have very little say in what goes on, it appears to me and the Government Plan I am not sure is a great tool, because, as Deputy Young mentioned earlier, there is a huge machine behind this and Scrutiny seems to not be getting very far this week.  I think we should be given the ... yes, I just think we are not being treated that well.  We are not confused.  We all work really hard, we have brilliant staff and I think we should be given a chance.  I am fully supporting the Constable of St. Brelade and his Panel.

3.3.7Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

When is an emergency an emergency I think is one of the questions and if you imagine your car stuck on the beach and the tide is out, that potentially is an emergency, because, in due course, your car will be covered by the rising tide, but it is not an immediate emergency.  What we are doing is creating a fund and it is coming out of our current account, as opposed to our Strategic Reserve.  The Strategic Reserve is there for an immediate emergency, in other words, we have just had a tsunami, we have just had a natural disaster, we have had a catastrophe.  If you look at the economic cycle, we are currently, supposedly, near the top of the cycle.  In other words, the economy is buoyant.  We have a large number of job vacancies, full employment.  In a time of full employment, with businesses working to their most efficient, if we cannot in these times put aside money from our own current account, then it is a pretty poor show.  I urge Members to support the proposals by the C.O.M. that the money comes from the everyday fund, the Consolidated Fund and that we do not use the reserves and we keep those for when it really is a dire emergency and the waves are lapping around the tyres of your car that is stuck on the beach, as opposed to being still some way off.  I urge Members to support the C.O.M. on this. 

3.3.8Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I have been listening with interest.  I would like just to address the Connétable of St. Martin, because I was slightly disappointed.  I understand where she is from, because I have been there as well, obviously as a number of us have on both sides.  As I said, we have, where we have been able to, tried and sat down and said: “Look, can we accept?  Can we amend?”  We had the G.S.T. food bonuses we did move on.  Deputy Higgins we have accepted and Deputy Gardiner we have accepted half type of thing.  Unfortunately, the Deputy of St. Peter, we did not think that it was quite the right methodology.  Sorry, for the benefit of the Constable of St. Martin, I am getting gesticulated at from behind.  But, anyway, the point is that ... and I do know what it is like, because we do try and look rationally at the individual things.  I made the point - I am going to say 4, or 5 weeks ago - if people are doing Amendments, please come and speak to us and at least get a flavour.  In the past, we have worked with people to try and ... if it is not quite right to see what we can do.  The difficulty we had, as ever, in this last 10 days, with 23 Amendments coming through, there is a volume of work one has to get through very rapidly.  But anyway, to just return to the actual debate, there were a couple of things, I think.  The starting point and something that has been drilled into me from, I do not know, day one of my accountancy degree, I think it was, which was essentially a wise man - or sorry, a wise person - spends their revenue before their capital.  That has always been the premise of where I have come from within the financial world.  By that, that is essentially when we are talking about: “We are going to set up a fund, let us get some money into it” the Consolidated Fund was the kind of logical place.  We had some funds available there, we were able to do it, it enabled us to act quickly and it did not require ... because the Strategic Reserve has certain rules around it, which obviously is why we are having this debate right now.  I think the second point ... so that was where we came from.  I think what the Connétable of St. John was ... one of his quite usual anecdotes, although it did not involve food this time, he probably has got it about right.  It is what is an emergency?  Is it a natural disaster; is that a manmade disaster?  I think also, in the back of my mind - it has been referred to already - I hesitate to say this, but it is the advice that we received and how long we will take to get there is another matter, but the economic advice from the F.P.P. is that the Strategic Reserve needs to go up in value and it needs to go up a lot and that will have to happen over a period of time.  That then takes us straight to the purpose of the fund and, very helpfully, the Scrutiny report does state it, but it is on page 4.  It says: “To be used in exceptional circumstances to insulate the Island’s economy from severe structural decline, such as the sudden collapse of a major Island industry, or from major natural disaster.”  To put that in perspective, we did not have this in 2008, to an extent we did not have the sort of Iceland crisis that hit their major banks.  Obviously, I mean Iceland as in the country, or the island, rather than the frozen food for their frozen foods.  But on a serious note, that is what it is fundamentally there for or, which is when we get into the major natural disaster, it is a one-off event.  It is an oil tanker sinking off St. Ouen’s Bay.  It is having funds available there for dealing with that as an emergency.  It is not for something that is slowly going to incrementally come through - well, depending on your view - over the next 10 or 15 years.  That is the distinction.  It is an emergency.  As I said, oil tanker; it could be a hurricane that comes through, or whatever terminology one wants to use, a significant force of wind that comes through and causes us a major disaster that we have to act on.  It is not about what we are talking about, which is about dealing with carbon and other pollutants and having that longer-term view how we deal with that.  That is something that is going to become business as usual.  That is why it is funded out of revenue.  I think that is almost all I wanted to say.  I will not make the other comments, because there are some observations I could make around the thing, but obviously we believe we have been pretty clear.  It is laid out in Summary Table 6 and 7 as to the purposes of what we are proposing to use the fund for.  We have that debate, but very much it is not about the money, absolutely.  I mean, there is the principle we have said, that in the longer term the Strategic Reserve has got to go up, that in reality £5 million, we should all know individually it is a large sum of money.  In terms of the fund, it is not.  It is about that point of principle.  It is not the end of the world, but it is going against the principle that the Strategic Reserve is there, you do not touch it for normal stuff.  It is there, because it is there for a major economic shock, really structural, or it is there for a natural disaster, as I said, something that tomorrow something happens, it is not predictable and the money is there to then act on that.  It is not meant to be something that is happening over the next 10 or 15 years and longer and that we are taking action on.  I think that is all I can say on that basis.  I have listened with interest, obviously, to the Connétable of St. Brelade, but on that basis that is why I will not be supporting this.

3.3.9The Deputy of St. Martin:

I will rise to agree with the Chief Minister.  If we have got £5 million in our cash and we have got it allocated, well, let us spend it before we dip into our rainy day fund.  But the reason I rise really is to pass some comment on his definition of emergency.  We need to make massive and immediate cuts in our carbon output if we are going to keep global temperatures to a rise of 2 degrees.  If we were going to stick to the rise of 1.5 degrees that we agreed in Paris, then emissions have got to be cut 7.6 per cent immediately.  If we are going to stick to a 2 per cent rise, which is manageable, we had better do a whole lot more.  Our emissions recently have risen by 1.5 per cent annually and Jersey’s is the same.  The figures we have seen this morning are a 2 per cent rise in our energy use in Jersey, 60 per cent-something accounted for by petroleum products.  Limiting that global rise to 2 degrees means things like this: the whole of the E.U. going carbon neutral; the United States becoming a country where you can only buy an electric vehicle in 2030; and China stopping the production of the very many coal-fired power stations that it is producing at the moment, something around the region of 100 gigawatts, which is the equivalent of 30 nuclear power stations.  Those things need to happen just to keep global temperatures down to a rise of 2 degrees.  I say to the Chief Minister, an emergency, yes, it may well be an oil tanker, but if we do not start to act now, we have got an emergency coming down the line and it is not saying: “Keep this money for an emergency in 10, 15 or 20 years”, because it will be too late then.

3.3.10Deputy K.F. Morel:

I am quite confused.  I think, as someone who was not a States Member until last year, the Strategic Reserve is one of the great mysteries of Island life, because we are told constantly ... and as a member of the Panel that lodged this Amendment, we know that Treasury will come out fighting: “No, keep your hands off the Strategic Reserve”, as I said earlier: “That is not your territory, keep away.”  That is what is going to happen.  Yet we have seen the Strategic Reserve used for clearly non-emergency purposes in the past, most recently, as Deputy Tadier referred to it, we saw it used to fund the Child Care Inquiry.  The Child Care Inquiry, nobody is denying the importance of the Child Care Inquiry.  I will deny that it was an emergency.  It was not an emergency, that inquiry, if you understand what I mean.  No, you can refer to the Strategic Reserve terms all you like, it has already been broken, a precedent has been set.  As Senator Gorst was saying earlier, about this being a precedent-setting thing, it is not a precedent-setting thing, because this is an emergency.  The States have labelled it an emergency.  We have said: “This is an emergency.”  To use the Strategic Reserve for this, it fits precisely within that definition.  I believe it was Senator Mézec - please correct me if I am wrong - who said that this is not a natural emergency.  Again, it is a manmade emergency in nature.  It is: the effects of this emergency are being felt in nature and I would say to Senator Mézec, if Jersey was hit, as so many countries are, by a shortage of food due to a war taking place somewhere else, would that not be an emergency that we would have to go into?  It is not natural, it is manmade.  We have seen famine when we were children in Ethiopia, which is entirely manmade, to be honest, because it was the war there which caused that famine.  To then stand up and say: “Sorry, this is a manmade emergency.  I am not going to let that be used in that way” would be ridiculous.  I am sure Senator Mézec would want the fund to be used to help that.  So, this is an emergency in nature, of that there is no question.  Yesterday, I was reading articles about how we are already crossing tipping points much sooner than we expected, such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, such as the Antarctic ice sheet and the slowing down of the Atlantic current.  These tipping points are being passed, so this is an emergency, there is no question.  This is an emergency in nature, there is no question.  The Strategic Reserve has already been used for non-emergency purposes, there is no question of that.  In fact, the Minister for Treasury and Resources, as recently as - I believe it was - 2017 was calling for the Strategic Reserve to be used to pay for the hospital partly, £66 million; £400 million from a bond, £66 million from the Strategic Reserve.  There was nothing emergency about building a hospital with £66 million from the Strategic Reserve and obviously that was in Senator Gorst’s own C.O.M., so I assume he agreed to that, before the Proposition was placed.  So, you can understand why, as a new Member and previously as a member of the public, when you sit there going: “What is this Strategic Reserve about?” because constantly the terms of its use are being changed and there is nothing.  It goes back to the discussion we had about the Constable of St. Helier’s Proposition about: “Hands off my territory.”  Basically, if the C.O.M. want to use it, then they will go hell for leather to make sure it gets used, but if anybody else wants to use it, they will say: “No.”  The reality is that the terms of reference of the Strategic Reserve are for use when the C.O.M. wants to use it, not otherwise.

[12:15]

I get quite frustrated with those sorts of arguments.  As with regard to the Chief Minister’s argument, again, only because I forget, I did not note who said things, the Chief Minister’s argument about using revenue, not capital, totally understandable, but the reality is this can be funded from the revenue in the Strategic Reserve.  To my poor mathematical calculations, the average income for the 10 years up to 2016 of the Strategic Reserve was 7 per cent a year.  That was the average income.  Treasury assumes a 5 per cent a year return going forward.  To my maths, on the roughly £800 million fund, 5 per cent income is £40 million a year.  We are asking for £5 million for that to be used here, so it is £5 million of the £40 million revenue that the Strategic Reserve generates to be used to fund this climate fund.  So, there is no using of capital at all, the capital in the Strategic Reserve will remain there.  The revenue from the Strategic Reserve can be used to fund this.  I believe that whether it is the uses of the fund, we have already seen the uses have been busted away in the past, but this fits with the uses.  This is not funding an inquiry, this is not funding a hospital, this is funding an actual emergency, as declared by this Assembly and it is an emergency that is taking place in nature.  It is using revenue from the fund; it is not touching the capital of the fund.  Importantly, as well, I believe, there is also the moral aspect.  The fund, as we know, has invested in the past - and now there are much fewer investments in this - but has invested in fossil fuels in the past, fossil fuel companies.  So, there is also the moral argument.  You say: “Let us use the money we have made from investing in fossil fuel companies to fight the damage done by those fossil fuel companies” and that is exactly what we would be doing.  Yesterday, as I was leaving the Assembly - and I hope the Minister for Treasury and Resources does not mind me mentioning this, it was not even a conversation, it was just very brief - the Minister for Treasury and Resources said, as Ministers for Treasury and Resources are wont to: “There is no more money.”  She was talking about something completely different, nothing to do with this fund and I hasten to say that, but the Minister for Treasury and Resources was saying: “There is no more money.”  Well, here is £5 million, Minister for Treasury and Resources.  Here is £5 million for you.  That is what this is.  This is £5 million for the Minister for Treasury and Resources to use elsewhere.  It could be funding increases on social security; it could be funding increases in our health system; it could be funding increases in our education system.  Here is £5 million.  This, remember, is on part of a government that is increasing spending by 12 per cent this year, which worries me considerably.  This is one short, sharp way to reduce that spending straight away, to take the burden off this year’s taxpayer and off next year’s taxpayer.  This is using the Strategic Reserve to lighten that load.  I honestly think this is a very sensible way to ensure fairness.  We heard the Constable of St. Brelade talking about intergenerational fairness.  This is absolutely correct.  The problems that we are experiencing now in the climate have built up throughout principally the 20th century, but go back as far essentially as the late 18th century, when the Industrial Revolution began.  Obviously, the Strategic Reserve was not being built up in the late 18th century, but it has been built up over the past decades.  As such, in my mind it makes so much more sense to use that money, which is built up by decades’ worth of taxpayers, rather than just using this year’s taxpayers, as though this year’s taxpayer was the problem and the cause of the problem.  No, this year’s taxpayer was just one small part of the problem that has been built up over decades.  So, there is fairness, there is intergenerational fairness, there is the moral reality to do it, it fits within the terms of reference.  The Treasurer can enjoy £5 million more from the Consolidated Fund, sitting there in the Consolidated Fund that she will be able to spend and make the Island an even better place.  Of all of the Amendments that we have before us this week, this one makes most sense.  This one makes most sense to Islanders, to taxpayers, it makes most sense in terms of the way the fund is used, the fact that it is not reducing the fund, it is only being used from the revenue of that fund, so I really do ask you, please listen for once to the Constable of St. Martin and those non-Executive members who have come up with a much better idea than the Executive have on this matter.  Please support this Amendment.

3.3.11Deputy G.C. Guida of St. Lawrence:

I will apologise again, I will be even less understandable than usual; I have got a splitting headache and I will try to do my best.  I would like to talk on a couple of subjects.  The first one is Scrutiny.  A few Amendments have been defeated, but we need to mention something.  I bump into people in the street all the time and they go, especially when there is something like this: “This must be horrible.  How do you find it being in Government?  It must be very hard.”  I say: “No, it is not really frustrating.  There are only 2 issues and you just need to accept that.  The first one is you need to be patient.  Everything will take about 3 years more than you think it will.”  That is fine, OK.  So if you accept that, then you can live within Government, or within the Assembly.  The other one - and I think that is pretty important - is that you have to accept that there is wisdom in the Assembly, that when a vote is made here, it is a group of wise, reasonable people having thought about the issue and giving you a position, that you must accept that.  If you accept that, living life as a politician is much easier to take.  There is wisdom in the Assembly.  Scrutiny was not defeated by the Government today, it was defeated by the Assembly when that happened.  There is another good reason for that.  It is that this Government have included Scrutiny in their workings from the start.  We talk, we communicate, we give data to Scrutiny much earlier, Scrutiny talks back to us much earlier.  Most of their input comes within the work of Government, even before there is a report and certainly before there are Amendments.  The Amendments that you present are the last little bit of input that we have not been putting naturally into the Plan.  Most of what you brought to us has been put into the Plan, because it makes sense.  So that is Scrutiny.  We do not have a problem with Scrutiny.  Scrutiny brings an enormous amount of data into the government working.  Now, back to our subject.  The fund that was started is an advance.  We cannot pay our way out of the climate emergency.  We are calling it an emergency, but it is structural, it is endemic, it is permanent and it is ongoing.  What it needs, the way we can change it is through lifestyle changes.  It is not about spending a lot of money on stuff, buying lots of that; that defeats the purpose.  It is not about spending the money, it is about spending the money differently.  It is not about trying to grab a lot and then: “Oh, we can do things with it”, it is changing the way it is spent.  If people, if everybody instinctively participated, we would not need to do that.  If everybody thought: “I am going to use my car half of the time and I am going to buy food that has less packaging”, if they do all the small things: “I am going to reprocess more and recycle”, if everybody did their part, we would not need to do anything.  It is all about changing spending patterns.  I would not want any more money from the fund.  I want to change the pattern of spending.  If people will not do it themselves, then yes, we will have to have some drastic measure and say: “Sorry, petrol is not expensive enough.”  We pay for the extraction, we pay for the burning of it, but we do not pay for the making of it.  It has been there for a while, we just find it and take it, but it needs to be made.  Petrol that is made, biofuels, costs twice as much as petrol that is just taken from the ground.  That is the real cost of fuel, so that is the cost if you must pay for it and it is true of many things.  To take the money from the current account makes more sense, because it is just an advance.  It just gets it started before we really start to change behaviours.  I urge Members to not vote for this Amendment.

3.3.12Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

Some of what I was going to say has already been said.  I have come around and I have bought into the whole climate emergency thing.  I know that some people still doubt it.  I do fully accept it, that we have done damage to our planet and looking at recent evidence that has come from the U.N. (United Nations) and others, which Deputy Morel mentioned, we are going past some tipping points, or rapidly approaching tipping points.  A tipping point, once you have gone by it, you cannot remedy.  Basically, we are damaging our planet as we go along.  I am pleased that the States have passed Propositions now to set up a Climate Emergency Fund and there is going to be £5 million in it.  Whether we take money from the Strategic Reserve at this point in time, I am not sure.  I think we have all got to recognise that we have a problem and we need to spend whatever is necessary to do it.  What I do feel, though, however, is we have already caused a lot of ordinary citizens in this Island extra expense by putting up petrol prices and a lot of the other things that we are doing.  It always seems to be hitting those people.  I think we have got to perhaps dip into the reserves, if not now, but very shortly and we need to take action now.  I do not know if it was Deputy Morel the other day, he said that whatever we do is just miniscule, it is China, it is Russia, it is India.  The truth of the matter is it is every one of us, not only the States as a body coming up with funds, but we have got to do something.  That, again, is the reason why I supported the increased petrol prices.  This emergency is coming faster than we think and we need to start taking action now.  So £5 million is nice, £10 million would be better, but the point is there has got to be the will on the part of the Assembly and the Government to be prepared to spend that money on things.  I think we have got to forget the old arguments about Strategic Reserve is sacrosanct.  It is not, as some people have indicated.  Whether this is the right moment to take it out of there, I am not sure, but I would suspect within a year or 2, once we have got proper plans, we need to take steps.  We need to, but we need to share the cost of doing these things with the population and using some of past reserves to do that.  I have not made up my mind one way, or another, on the Proposition.  I know we are going to have to spend it and we are going to have to spend an awful lot more money than we are even putting aside now.  I will be prepared to vote for any of the things in the future.  I will leave it at that.

3.3.13Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

I must commend Deputy Morel on this speech.  I think he absolutely hit everything on the nail for me.  It is difficult, when you stand up at this stage of a debate, because everything has been said and I think we are all pretty polarised now which way we are going to vote.  But for me, it is £5 million worth of taxpayers’ money, whichever way you look at it.  I am a businessman and, believe me, a good Jersey businessman as well and I was taught about fiscal discipline and the importance of it, but there does come a time where we have got this rainy day fund and it has been sitting there for decades.  One day perhaps, and I think that somebody mentioned the sandwich man board, that maybe the world will end one day, but I think we have a real genuine emergency in front of us and I think it is time that we stomped up, we use some of this money.  It is an emergency.  I do not know, if we do not do anything now, it is certainly going to hit us very shortly, whether it is 5, 10 years down the line, so I think it is very important that we do this.  I have said a couple of times in my last term and in this term that we are not here to be popular and we are going to make ... particularly with this particular type of revenue spending and revenue-raising measures, we are going to be unpopular.  There is no 2 ways about it.  I have got a feeling - and I hope it is not the case - but there may well be a congestion charge that is brought forward.  That is not going to be popular.  It certainly will be an interesting debate if it does come to the Assembly, but I am not sure if the Minister for the Environment has got a nod whether that is the case, or not.  We are facing some tough decisions in this Assembly, but for me it is about just getting this ... and I think, as I say, Deputy Morel said, we can repurpose this £5 million that we are not going to effectively take out of the current account, we are going to take it out of the reserves and we can repurpose it.

[12:30]

Perhaps we could have helped Deputy Doublet today with her cause and oncology going forward.  I know these are recurring expenses, but at the end of the day ... so I think it is so important, whatever we do today, to get this £5 million tucked away and I will be supporting my Constable on this.

3.3.14The Deputy of Trinity:

I have more questions.  I did not know anything about the rainy day fund.  It was discussed regularly at meetings - and I am looking at certain individuals across the floor - with regards to it going back to Scrutiny, because I sat on a thing, which has changed its name, called the Emergency Board.  The Emergency Board was set up for some time, but there was nobody ever from the States, there was nobody ever from Scrutiny.  If I looked at them, I have just quickly looked through something and climate change was down the bottom as it was going through.  The other 3 was what happens if there was a medical disaster on the Island; the other one was threat to the economy; and the other one, where we used to have a report from the certain high G.C.H.Q. (Government Communications Headquarters) and police with regards to what was going on around the world that could affect us.  That, I am assuming, is still in place because [Aside] ... thank you, Senator Gorst.  But they do not report back to this Assembly, or to Scrutiny.  No.  You get to the stage where you say: “Do you want to upset the general public of the Island?” because there are threats to this Island and if people think that they are minor threats, they are not.  We had a statistical man in, that was telling us that every 45 years, or something, there will always be a disaster in some city, town, whatever and that is how it revolves around.  We had to sign the secrecy documents, so I am completely out of order.  I am looking at you, Sir.  I hope I am not saying anything, but ...

The Bailiff:

You have not said anything so far.  [Laughter]  But, obviously, if you are considering things where you have undertaken obligations of secrecy ...

The Deputy of Trinity:

What I am just concerned about is that I think what I am really getting at is that I think everybody in this room would agree with what is going on, because we do need to look after ourselves.  I have just remembered now, because Senator Gorst, you were sat on the ... yes, you sat and the Board has got smaller, but that Board can I assure you meets regularly and is looking after the welfare of this Island.  I know it comes under Home Affairs, but what I am saying is there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that - I am out of it now - we could not declare, because it was just worrying to the general public of the Island.  I think that listening to the conversations around here, it is a very difficult proposition, but I had no idea until I came into this Assembly 18 months ago what the hell the rainy day fund was, because they kept on saying: “It is OK, we have got some money set aside.  If there is a major disaster, that is what we will use” but the definition ... it was just clarity.  Now I am getting nodding heads.  I am pleased to hear that it is still in place and everything is going on with it.  Bit of a waffle, but I am just saying we are ... [Laughter]  I was surprised.  The welfare of this Island is, I can assure you, very well looked after.

3.3.15Deputy J.H. Young:

As a civil servant back in the 1980s, I had the privilege to work with those Members who had the vision of the strategic fund.  Of course, in those days, these were days when year on year this economy of the Island was building up massive tax surpluses and, if you like, the golden goose days.  Members wisely said: “We do not know how long this will carry on.  We need to build up a fund, which will help the Island survive if things suddenly go against us.”  Wisely they put a very substantial amount in the rainy day fund and it set out the rules very tightly.  I think the philosophy, in those days, was we should try and achieve it, to provide a year’s tax income.  If we lost all of our tax income for a year, we would survive a year and be able to maintain public services and continue.  That is the real sort of vision of this.  This was not ... I am trying to think of an alternative word.  We have been banned on the use of a slush fund, but it is not a fund that we could call on immediately and interactively.  This is something which is really special.  I think most of the money in that fund - I guess, I do not know the exact numbers - came from that period.  What has happened since then is wise investment and management of cash funds by those quality people we have in our civil service and the advisers we use that have made sure that that fund kept up and improved.  In fact, I think they have beaten by a mile some of the performance figures we see, but I do not know, but of course, for a long time now, we have not had tax surpluses and been able to put money into it.  So, when I was asked this by the Scrutiny Panel about the Climate Emergency Fund and said: “Why is it not funded from this Fund?” and I must admit, at that time I said I did not know.  I did not know.  It was not a choice that I was asked to make, nor did I think it was appropriate for me to make.  I am quite happy to leave it to the Minister for Treasury and Resources and her team to decide, because I kind of saw it as an accounting nicety, but it is not.  It is not an accounting nicety.  The nature of the beast, as far as the Climate Emergency Fund for me, in my head, is different.  It is not a bailout fund.  The Climate Emergency Fund, the vision that I certainly wanted, I wanted a fund that would start this process off.  It would see investment in money, States money, to kick it off to help us down that journey of asking the big questions that Deputy Guida in his speech highlighted, which I think really sums up 2 big questions on how we tackle climate change.  How fast and who pays?  We know the total cost is enormous.  Now, there are those in the community who think: “We do not have to put any Government money into this, no need, because we can cut our lifestyles, we can cut our consumption and transform ourselves into a more sort of basic functioning type of society.”  That is probably true.  Personally, I cannot see that happening in our sophisticated society like Jersey.  Those choices about how fast we go and who pays are going to be for the process, that I hope that when you see the strategy, the route map we have mapped out of those various subjects of those choices, how we should tackle them, we will be able to have a fulsome debate about this issues.  At the end of the day, there is no question in my mind that people, ordinary people, ordinary businesses, are going to have to stump up a very substantial amount.  Tough decisions, there will be major cost, tax rises and the rest of it, but it is also clear that that will not deal with everything, because there are sections in our community, who will not be able to respond to that and will need financial support.  That, therefore, raises the questions of public subsidies.  So those sort of decisions are going to have to be made out of the strategy and, therefore, this fund, I think it is a much more dynamic fund.  We are going to have to make those decisions year on year as we go.  That is not the same as what I think I heard from Deputy Morel.  I think Deputy Morel’s proposal was: “Oh look, here is another £5 million.  We can grab this, because we can just do an accounting nicety and then that is all available for all these other things.”  No, I do not believe that is right and that is not, because that sends the signal: “No, do not worry, guys, Government are going to fund it all on climate change if we go to make this change” and so, therefore, I should say, look, stick with this, stick with the C.O.M.’s Plan and then we will be able to have a fulsome debate on that climate change proposal and we will be able to get into the meat of the issues, if you like, all the subject areas and I will try and help us towards answering those question, who pays and how fast.  I think the Amendment should be rejected.

The Bailiff:

Very well.  I let the expression: “What the hell” through on the last occasion.  That is not a parliamentary expression, just to remind Members.  No, Deputy, I meant on an earlier occasion, not anything that you said.

Deputy J.H. Young:

Sorry, did I say ...

The Bailiff:

No, it was not something that you said, it was something that I let through on an earlier occasion.  I was intending to do a mea culpa without singling you out and I apologise for that. 

3.3.16Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement:

Two, or 3 Members, who have spoken very recently have said that everything that needs to be said in this has already been said and I think they are absolutely right, but unfortunately it still seems that some Members are going to vote the wrong way and support the Amendment.  Just a couple of words and one of those, why I think it is right to support the Amendment, is Deputy Morel.  I would like to say that one of the things he said I think was absolutely right, just one of them.  He said that the Strategic Reserve may have been - he may even have said it has been - used inappropriately in the past, but I would say to him - and to other Members who are thinking of supporting this Amendment - that does not mean that it should be used inappropriately now, today.  I think we need to be more responsible than that.  To protect future generations and we have spoken about future generations, security, to give future generations comfort and confidence in the future, we need to be putting more money into the Strategic Reserve and not taking money out on what is virtually a whim.  Something that slightly worried me was what Deputy Truscott said.  He said this Strategic Reserve has been here for decades.  Decades?  That is nothing.  If we are going to protect the future of this Island and future generations, we need to hope and expect and plan for this Strategic Reserve to be there for centuries and not to take it away on a whim. 

The Bailiff:

We have reached 12.45 p.m. on the electronic clock.  The time has come to ask Members if they wish to continue with the debate or adjourn until after lunch.

 

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

The adjournment is proposed.  Do Members agree to adjourn until 2.15 p.m.?  Very well, the States stands adjourned until 2.15 p.m.

[12:42]

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

[14:14]

 

The Bailiff:

Very well, I had Senator Farnham next to speak.

[14:15]

3.3.17Senator L.J. Farnham:

Just as well I came back.  Very briefly, I have been thinking about this over the lunch break and I refer to Senator Moore’s Proposition, which was looking to allocate £350,000 of the new environmental fund to the project that local sailor, Phil Sharp, a very worthy project, is embarking upon.  That sort of is a de facto use ... could be if, for example ... and just to clarify the point, I have spoken to Senator Moore about this and we have undertaken to find other ways of maybe funding something like that.  I know some of our high net worth community are very interested in funding environmental issues, so I am going to work with Senator Moore along those lines.  There are no plans to look to the taxpayer to do this at present.  I just wanted to make that clear.  Or when the Government Plan is approved, in whatever format, with whatever Amendments, then that might be the time for Senator Moore to come back to this Fund and make a case directly to the Fund at that stage.  But if we use the Strategic Reserve in this way, then we are funding the individual items that might come out of that Fund.  For example, if the Fund agrees to support a project like Senator Moore’s, is that an appropriate use of the Strategic Reserve money in the environment fund that actually starts being used for important issues, but certainly many of us would agree not worthy of use by the rainy day fund.  I remain on the side of we must utilise the Strategic Reserve properly and I think, as we move into the future and we see more of the impact of our mistreatment of the environment in the past, Jersey is susceptible, more susceptible than other places on the impact of environmental changes.  That is the time when, regrettably, we might have to call on the Strategic Reserve to help us with those environment issues.  I hope we do not.  In short, I cannot support this Amendment, despite it being well-intentioned and I would urge Members to support the Strategic Reserve going only one way and that is to increase in value.

3.3.18Deputy R.J. Ward:

We have been speaking for a long time, it is a bit of a thriller this debate.  Can I just make a point that we have not mentioned before, which is the reason this should come out of the Consolidated Fund and not the Strategic Reserve is simple: we set up the Fund to work in the future to hopefully ward off climate change, but we will need the Strategic Fund if climate change kicks in, because we have to remember we are likely to see more diverse weather patterns.  As the atmosphere warms, more moisture is taken into the atmosphere, which has seen flooding in the U.K. and we will be needing to deal with these incredibly challenging and sudden impacts on our Island.  So, let us keep the Strategic Reserve ready for if and when that happens.  It is a simple thing really, but we have to do it.  That is the only reason I would say I oppose this Amendment.

The Bailiff:

Does any other Member wish to speak on the Amendment?  I call on the Connétable to respond.

3.3.19The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I take this opportunity to thank all Members who have spoken and particularly the Minister for External Affairs for admitting to having read the Amendment.  Thank you.  Funding the climate emergency will be significant and decisions will need to be made as to how this is done.  However, as the Minister for the Environment has said, we need to kick this off.  Jersey people, on the whole, are quite good at saving and rest assured will make suitable emergency provision within the parameters of what they can afford.  They will dip into savings if they feel it necessary and that is exactly what savings are for.  It may, of course, in some cases be simply to remove the lump from the mattress, but I can assure Members I am making the point that there is little wrong in my Panel’s view in using the strategic, or emergency, fund for emergencies.  I have, in the past, sat on the Emergencies Council, as referred to by the Deputy of Trinity and I appreciate the direction from which that comes.  In answer to my friend, the Connétable of John, I would simply say the tide is rising fast.  One metre an hour on spring tides we have here at the moment and we need to be cognisant of that.  It may be that we have a problem in understanding the semantics of the word emergencies or, indeed, strategic plans and might I suggest this could be addressed for clarity and ongoing definition purposes.  In proposing this Amendment 3 to the Government Plan, I ask Members for their support and ask for the appel.

The Bailiff:

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

POUR: 11

 

CONTRE: 30

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

Senator I.J. Gorst

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

3.4Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): nineteenth Amendment (P.71/2019. Amd.(19))

The Bailiff:

We come now to Amendment 19 by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel and I ask the Greffier to read the Amendment.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

Page 2, paragraph (g) - after the words “to the Report” insert the words - “, except that the amount to be transferred from the Consolidated Fund to the Stabilisation Fund shall be reduced by £5,000,000” and a new line shall be added to Summary Table 7 as follows: “to provide funding for 2020 for the Assisted Home Ownership Scheme - from Consolidated Fund to Dwelling Houses Loan Fund (5,000).”

3.4.1Senator K.L. Moore (Chairman, Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel):

This is a simple Amendment I believe and so does my Panel.  It aims simply to improve the opportunity, for first-time buyers in Jersey, to successfully purchase a home.  It is an opportunity to take action and if Members can cast their minds back to the debate we had on the site in St. Peter that had been allocated for first-time buyer homes, the Minister for Children and Housing at that point made a very fine statement in his speech.  I recall very clearly him saying that, as an Assembly, we are very good at agreeing what our problems are.  We are not, however, very good at agreeing how to solve them.  This is an opportunity to try in a small way to address this issue and to help solve a problem for the families who would be able to benefit from this scheme.  The Housing Policy Development Board is, of course, still developing its proposals for the proposed transfer of £10 million, which will take place in 2021 and this would obviously occur and become available in 2020, if the Assembly is so minded.  I do ask Members to consider the impact on those families that we all know and how they could benefit.  A year may not seem like a long time, but bringing forward a proposal by a year could make a distinct and significant difference to the lives of those people who will be able to benefit from it.  This Amendment is also supported by the Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Bureau, who is well placed and understands well the issues faced by many in our community.  He was quoted in the Jersey Evening Post as being supportive of any measure that helped young families and not so young families as well - I will go on to that later - to get a foot on the housing ladder.  This article that was published by the J.E.P. (Jersey Evening Post) has, in fact, been the most viewed article of their website all year, such is the level of interest in the public in this issue and such is the desire … I have to say - and it has been noted in the Corporate Services Scrutiny report - that the level of engagement with the public on the subject of the Government Plan has been very low and nobody has really wanted to raise any issues in relation to the Government Plan other than this one.  This is an issue that people have approached me and wanted to talk about and they have shown their clear and distinct support, so I really would like Members to keep at the very forefront of their minds in this debate the families that could benefit from this Amendment and why it is so very important.  If we look at the band 5 of the Housing Gateway at the moment, the figures for the end of October, for 2-bedroom properties there are 560 registrations of interest to purchase an affordable home.  There are 692 registrations of interest for 3-bedroom properties and 42 for 4bedroom properties.  I note and respect the comments produced by the Council of Ministers that suggest … well, I note and respect their comments in relation to the market and the impact that this Amendment might have on an already constricted part of the market.  I do take that on board, although I call to question some of the other comments made by the Council of Ministers.  However, we must remember, as an Assembly, that there are significant developments underway at the moment in the Island.  We are all aware of the high activity in the construction industry and there are significant properties that will become available in the course of the year, as a result of this high level of activity in the construction market.  This is a revisiting of a scheme, a scheme that did last run in 2013.  It was a successful scheme, with 51 households benefiting from the £3 million that was allocated for first-time buyer loans.  A scheme equated at that time to £2.46 million was distributed in those loans and half of that sum has already, in 6 years, been repaid, which shows the very positive difference that it can make to families and the fact that it can be redistributed.  There is now an outstanding sum on that Dwelling House Loan Fund of £4.986 million, money that is there ready and waiting to help members of our community.  It was previously based on an arrangement with Skipton International and the new scheme that the Minister would bring forward would perhaps be different, that is true; however, there would be a balance on this fund of £9.986 million if this Amendment is adopted.  The Treasury and Exchequer Department have confirmed that the fund would be compatible with the new scheme if it is proposed.  It will require one part-time role to administer this scheme.  At this point, I propose the Amendment.

The Bailiff:

Is the Amendment seconded?  [Seconded]

3.4.2Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I have absolutely no doubt that this Amendment will seem very tempting to some because, as with many of the Amendments that have come forward in this Government Plan debate, it is clearly wellintentioned and it touches on an issue which we all know is incredibly important and which matters very much to many families across the Island.  When I first saw the Amendment, I was almost rubbing my hands together thinking: “£5 million, brilliant, more for me to crack on with on top of the £10 million already allocated in the Government Plan for affordable purchase support.”  But, having thought about it properly, I have come to the conclusion that I do not want this money, I do not need this money and aside from the small number of people who will end up with a home as a result of this, there will be a wider harmful effect to the market, which will set back the aspiration for those who would miss this scheme.  For those reasons I cannot support it.  I know that that will seem counterintuitive, how can more money for people wanting to buy a home be harmful?  But the reason it is harmful is because of the basic economic principle of supply and demand. 

[14:30]

This Proposition does not increase the pool of homes that are available, it increases the pool of potential purchasers competing for the same number of homes.  That puts power in the hands of the seller and will end up being inflationary.  I will try and paint a picture here, to try and explain how that will work.  Just imagine a 3-bedroom home for sale for, let us say, £400,000 and say that there is a small number of people who are interested in it, 2 or 3.  They negotiate with the seller and because there is not that much interest for that property, or not much ability for many people to consider purchasing it, they are in quite a powerful position.  They are in a position to be able to say: “Actually, if you knock off a little bit of money from that I am willing to commit to this sooner.”  If a seller is desperate to move on, they may well do that and that can help bring the price down.  But let us say that, all of a sudden, a scheme is introduced and the number of people who now have the purchasing power to consider that property goes up substantially, say it is now 20 people, they no longer have that power to be able to negotiate properly, that will be down to the seller now, who may look at those and say: “Actually, I want to increase the price of this property now, there is more competition for it, more people are after it, I can justify increasing the amount that they want to sell it for.”  Those people, who are in the band below, who have had their purchasing price increased, are now up a notch and that cost of the home will go up as a result of that.  I do not think that that makes sense to do that to the housing market.  The proposer, in her speech, spoke about the impact on families and in the previous debate we spoke about the difference between a household budget and a government budget.  Of course, if you are a family who aspires to own a home and an opportunity comes up to have more money at your disposal to purchase a home, of course it makes sense, of course you would want that extra support to be able to purchase and, of course, that J.E.P. article was the most viewed article.  I had some interest back and forth with journalists at the J.E.P., because I thought some of that article was misleading and it contained some very important omissions about what was in the rest of the Government Plan.  Our job as a Government and as an Assembly is to be interested in the macroeconomic picture.  What may well be in the interest of one family, one household, or a slightly larger number of households, may not be in the wider interests of the community as a whole.  If the impact of this is to overheat what already is quite a heated part of that market, it will serve no purpose apart from inflating it, it will end up redistributing wealth from the hands, or the pockets, rather, of that number of families aspiring to get on to the ladder, into the pockets for people who already own land.  It is a policy which is for the few, not the many.  That is why I cannot support it.  Instead, what we need are wider policy interventions that can have a proper disruptive effect on the market that will bring prices down, or increase supply and provide those opportunities to others.  It is no secret that the Andium Homebuy scheme is drastically oversubscribed.  There are a very large number of people who want to purchase through that very popular scheme and when they release new homes on to the market, like the recent one on Belmont Road, they are drastically oversubscribed.  Large numbers of people want to go for that.  These are people, who would not struggle to get a mortgage, they are able to get a mortgage if they signed on the dotted line with the bank, they are already able to have that deposit, they are after properties, which are being sold at a below market rate, because of the formation of the Homebuy scheme.  Their problem is not their access to the capital to be able to purchase that house, their problem is the number of houses.  The reason they are on that waiting list is not because they do not have access to the money, it is because there are not enough homes there.  So, what I would ask Members instead - and I know how frustrating it is to have what looks like a very helpful scheme in front of us, to oppose it, because of what is waiting around the corner instead.  I find that frustrating too, but what I ask Members for instead of money that I do not want, that I do not need and that I think will be harmful to the housing market - is I ask you for your support on other measures instead, which will provide a better impact for people wanting not just to purchase homes, but to live with security of tenure at an affordable rate in the rental sector as well, because it is not just about purchasing homes.  What I say to Members of this Assembly, if you want to support me in delivering better access to homes in the Island, give me more land.  That is part of what I need.  I need States sites being freed up, so that our affordable housing providers can build new homes on this and get that waiting list down and provide greater supply, because that will have a much better effect than simply increasing the amount of money in people’s pockets to fight over the same number of homes.  I ask Members to consider some fantastic ideas that were expressed by the Deputy of St. Peter in one of his speeches yesterday about introducing potential initiatives, or moves, into the housing market that can put it less in the interests of investors and more in the interests of people who need a home, for both people who want to purchase and for those who want to rent.  When it comes to renting and we have to accept that there is nothing wrong with being a renter and that there are people who, for perfectly decent reasons, will not aspire to want to own a home and I think those of us who sit on the Housing Policy Development Board were very surprised when we saw the rates of renting versus home ownership in Jersey, compared to the Continent where we assumed it would be a much higher rate of renters and that is not the case in Jersey.  To say that if we want to make their lives more comfortable renting, that is going to take some bold action as well, that is going to take looking at measures to provide much longer tenancies, perhaps even open-ended tenancies, so people know that, OK, they may not own the property they live in, but it is their home and they have the rights over that home that may well resemble what they would have if they did own it. That means having measures in place in our tenancy laws, which restrict the degree of rent increases that are often totally unjustifiably imposed by landlords, but is done because they know they have a tenant who is captured, who cannot move away because of the extra cost it would take to pay for the removals, or to pay for the letting agent fees.  That is another thing I will be asking Members for support on, because we need to ban some of those unjustifiable letting fees, as well.  I appreciate that may well be difficult to justify to our constituents, to say we are not going to make this money available next year for this specific purchase scheme and for every individual family, who would end up with a home as a result of it, or through that scheme they, no doubt, would be very pleased with the scheme.  They would be very grateful for those who implemented it, but it has an effect on the macroeconomic picture that is damaging to what we are trying to do.  I appreciate that that is a difficult argument to get across to people.  It may not sound like the right thing to do if you do not have that deeper economic understanding of how these principles of supply and demand work, but that is the case.  It looks like a nice idea, but it will not necessarily have the impact that it is meant to have and makes our job harder in the long run and it detracts from our efforts next year in terms of officer time, in terms of administration.  There was mention about the organisation that supported the loan scheme previously, we have absolutely no idea if they would be willing, or prepared, to be involved in a similar thing this time around.  I say to Members, if they vote to support this Amendment, they are giving me money that I do not want, that I do not need and are asking me to do something that I think is against the interests of the people who I am trying to serve, by improving the house market at all levels to improve access, to improve security and to improve cost.  I believe that the effect of this Amendment would be to take money out of the pockets of those who would want to purchase and all of the interests that they have to pay through the course of purchasing a property, that ends up in the pockets of people who already own property who are trying to dispose of it and will end up benefiting from the inflation and those are the people who we do not want to benefit from this, because we want to create a market that works in the interests of people who need a home, not the investors.  I worry that this takes us in the wrong direction.  Even though I completely accept it is coming from a good place and it feels like a nice thing to do, I simply think it has not been thought out well enough and I ask Members not to distract me by putting my efforts towards something that I do not believe will work.  I ask Members to reject the Amendment.

3.4.3Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I would really like to support this Amendment, partly because, like Senator Moore was saying, she has had a lot of interest in this area.  When I was campaigning at election time, this was an issue that came up over and over again and I know it is something that my parents took advantage of when they bought their home and they would not have been able to buy a house without it.  I have listened to the Minister, which is making me think twice, but what I would like to hear from the Senator, when she sums up is: does she have any estimates on how many families might use this, because the previous scheme was 51 families, which seems a fairly small number to me and is not likely to have a big impact on the market.  Does she have any estimates on that?  Also, I am concerned about the criteria, because I know that some issues have been raised previously by Deputy Gardiner about the Parish schemes and there being some inconsistencies in terms of the criteria there.  So, would there be a criteria and how would it be applied?  That will help me with my decision.

3.4.4Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

What I would say about this Proposition is it is the only one that I have received any positive comments about in the whole of the Government Plan.  That is perhaps a sad reflection on particularly our attempts to help young people.  It is very sad, also, to hear so many reasons why we should not support these people, who are trying to get on to the housing ladder.  The only thing that I would agree with, that Senator Mézec said, is that it is a well-intentioned Proposition.  I do not accept many of the reasons that he put forward for rejecting it and I think if we want to show support for young people and their attempts to own their own property, that we should support this.  Two evenings ago, as I returned to my car, I was stopped by someone in their 20s, who I do not know and they thanked me, having recognised me from the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, that this was being brought forward.  I think that says a great deal that they went out of their way to say someone is really trying to help us.  I would ask you to all think very hard about this and to support this Proposition

3.4.5Deputy M. Tadier:

I think it is absolutely correct that housing is one of the biggest and most compelling issues for this Assembly and this Island and it will engage the public.  I do not, in any way, criticise Senator Moore for bringing this Proposition, because I think it seeks to … it has identified a problem, but I do have to agree with the economic analysis of the Minister for Children and Housing and no doubt his officers and the experts behind that.  There was a lot of nodding around the Assembly when he spoke, not from the usual suspects either.  There seems to be a great deal of consensus on this issue.  The one thing that concerns me is that if we set up this fund, it will allow some families potentially to be able to buy a home that they would not otherwise have and then the fund, of course, would be replenished.  This is not like an ordinary £5 million, which would be given and then not seen again, it would hopefully be a sustainable fund.  That is not the problem.  The problem is it perpetuates a system of unaffordable housing.  We have unaffordable housing in Jersey, this simply allows however many families it would be to continue in that system to buy a house, which is unaffordable, and then that house would then be sold on again, if a profit is made and it will be unaffordable.

[14:45]

We need to get our heads around having a scheme and that is why the properly affordable housing projects where you buy … and it is not based on profit, it is based on the actual true value of the house and making the scheme sustainable and then if you move out of the house, or if you sell that property, it goes back into the scheme, so that somebody else can benefit.  That is what needs to be extended.  I do not have a problem with homeownership, but just a couple of points to make.  The Minister for Children and Housing talked about long-term tenancies.  We used to have very longterm tenancies in Jersey; Property Holdings certainly in our district and no doubt in other parts of the Island had 99-year leases and Property Holdings would then rent that out to people on a long lease, because you only really need to live in a house while you are alive.  When you are no longer alive, you do not necessarily need that property, 99 years is perfectly adequate for a family and their children, possibly for 2 generations.  I understand the reasons that those were then sold off, because people could not then move out, but the intent of that scheme, when it was set up was logical, it is the States-owned property, we own property collectively and when it is no longer needed it reverts back to the States and then they can decide where it is needed.  This is where the Minister, I think, will also be mindful of the need of a change of policy while he is in office, is that we cannot keep on selling off States properties.  Andium need to keep as many properties as they have got.  There are a few properties which are not appropriate, they need to make sure that stock is replenished much more.  It is like cutting down a tree, you cut one down, you plant 2.  That is one issue.  The other issue is if we want to genuinely help people, whether they are young, or not so young, to be able to put down a deposit, we need to make sure that their rents are reduced, because in the meantime, before you own a property you are either living at home, which is great if you have parents, you might be paying rent at home, of course, but if you are renting in the private sector, rents are extortionate for the affordability of most people in the Island.  That will mean some form of States intervention as far as I can see.  That might be unpalatable for some people in this Assembly, but I think that is what it means.  It is not simply a case of saying that you cannot increase the rent, or you have to only limit the increases in rent by inflation, it means that you need to limit the amount, the maximum amount that can be charged per property based on size and based on quality.  Andium, in the social sector, need to lead by example.  The 90 per cent of market rate that is charged by Andium was completely flawed and remains flawed.  That needs to be abolished and it needs to be pegged as soon as possible to affordable and realistic wages.  So, whatever people are earning, that should be the basis of what their rents are, with a cap, of course.  It is fine having a 90 per cent rate, if you are pegging to a market which we have some control over, but when the market is vastly out of control and overheated, it is a complete nonsense.  So, all of these issues do need to be addressed, I think.  That is not, in any way, Senator Moore’s fault, of course, she is trying to do something helpful here, but those are just a few suggestions as to what we could and should be doing to make the affordability of housing more accessible to all of our residents.

3.4.6Deputy G.J. Truscott:

I can remember, well back in the 1980s, got married at the age of 22, got my States loan at 23, ended up paying 10 per cent, I think at the time on my mortgage repayments, which at the time was really quite eye-watering.  It was a great scheme and it did enable us to get on the property ladder and for me and my family - and many other families that were part of that scheme - that proved invaluable.  Since then we have sold our original house, we have moved up into a bigger property, but it gave us that ability to do just that.  I have seen markets go up, go down and what does concern me to a degree, and yes there is a lot of overheating in the market currently, the prices are just unbelievable, they really are, in the local property market.  They keep going up.  I mean, 8 per cent last year, my goodness, what a good investment for anyone.  The last time I saw this happen was 2008, just before the property crash and the financial markets crash.  There is an overheating and the trouble is until we start turning on the property supply locally, there will continue to be an overheating.  We have to address the fundamental issue here, which is supply.  Until we do, the prices are just going to keep going up.  I do urge the Minister for Children and Housing, stop banging on that table and start getting those sites.  I know you are, absolutely.  But we need to do it, we need to do it quickly.  As you say, I have 2 … well, they are not young children any more, they are adults, 34, both struggling; they want to get on the housing ladder and it is going to be, I think, the bank of Mum and Dad at the end of the day to help them to do that.  I think that has happened throughout, you know, certainly the U.K. and here.  That should not be case.  The banks are not interested anymore and that is the bit that worries me, because if they are not really interested ... because they did get stung last time that the markets collapsed.  One little concern - and perhaps you could address this, Senator Moore - is if we do get defaults on the scheme, should it be adopted, who actually picks that particular bill up?  That is something I would like to hear.  But it is giving our youngsters, my children, everybody else’s children, who want to stay in Jersey, who want to put roots down here in Jersey, where they were born, the ability to do that.  We really do have to get building.  We really have.  I know we have got the Minister and, I think, the whole Assembly behind this, we have the Island Plan coming up, so we really do have to get behind sites, we have to get ... as I say, I sit on the Planning Committee and over the past 5 years we have seen so many social housing ... we voted on social housing, affordable housing all around the Island, flats going up left, right and centre, but it is just not enough.  We have to do more.  I also totally buy into what the Minister for Children and Housing said, as well; distorting the market in the way this possibly would, I totally agree with that and I think I would want a level playing field for everyone, at the end of the day.  It would seem a bit unfair if somebody, for whatever reasons, managed to, because of whatever circumstance, leapfrog somebody on the list, so to speak and I do not agree with that.  I am looking at a level playing field.  I will listen to the rest of the debate, but I am pretty sure I am going to be voting against this, I am sorry. 

3.4.7Deputy J.H. Young:

I absolutely agree with Senator Mézec and I share the frustration of every Member in this Assembly: this issue of housing is just about one of the biggest issues we have.  In recent years we have allowed the imbalance between supply and demand, that has been there for a very long time, if not decades, to get completely out of hand.  We have seen what that has done just relying on the market, unregulated market, what that has done to prices, creating housing unaffordability.  We have to have more fundamental policies that Senator Mézec referred to.  This means a greater level of intervention.  Part of that is at the moment what we have done is we have shifted from a situation that Members refer to fondly - and I remember those days well - when Government had a high level of intervention in the housing market through the States loan scheme, through promoting schemes.  I remember, in particular, the Belle Vue scheme in St. Brelade, Government forced through a major compulsory purchase, acquired land and developed an estate of over 200 homes and so on.  Throughout Town, brownfield sites were acquired, hotel sites and so on and were turned into major housing complexes.  All that stopped and we backed off in recent years and said: “Just leave this to the private sector.”  The end result, prices have completely got out of control and what we have seen is record pressure on the building industry, it can hardly cope with the pressure.  We have seen the cost of construction absolutely escalate and what we see is record profits.  What I find frustrating is every time you start to have a dialogue with the industry about: “Come on, what about some policies for affordability.  Come on, share it with us, as happens in other places?”  “Oh no, we cannot afford it” is the answer.  We know that past efforts to bring forward progressive planning policies have failed.  They were adopted in the Island Plan and yet no houses were built and eventually that policy was dropped.  So, these fundamental things we have to revisit and I was carefully looking in the Government Plan to see what we have got.  We have a firm commitment in here that that Policy Board, which I am a member of, with Senator Mézec and it is independently chaired by Michael de la Haye, it is really going well.  It has expert advice.  What we are grappling with, we are not alone in this.  Many urban communities throughout the U.K. are grappling with this issue and there are lessons that we can learn, not just in U.K., but in Europe, in the U.S.A., this is an international issue of how we have policies that enable us to house our population in affordable homes.  They have to make sense.  We see what we have in there, we have a commitment for big money transfers and we have a commitment for bringing forward that policy report.  I promise you this, if that report escalates ... sorry, produces, strong planning policies in the draft Island Plan, I will be making sure that those draft policies find their way through here to give Members a choice about whether you are prepared to be bold.  This is going to required bold action.  There is no getting away from that.  The question is: what do we have to do now?  We all share that impatience.  Should we put in a sum of money as to extend a loan deposit scheme along the lines that was done in 2013?  I ask: “What was the result?”  The result of that scheme, I think it is universally accepted, was it resulted in price increases.  What has been the effect in the U.K., too?  I think the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said exactly the same thing when they did the same thing.  Just went straight away onto the purchase price.  So, what does that achieve?  It is very tempting and frustrating as it is, but I think the answer is we do have to have a greater level of interventions in public policies.  Sadly, I feel that I cannot support this and I feel sad about that, because I want to find ways of helping our young people.  Unfortunately, I think this is the wrong proposal, so I cannot support it.

3.4.8Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

I will be supporting the Minister for Children and Housing and Deputy Young.  The facts are we do not have a shortage of buyers, we have a massive shortage of properties and that is what needs to be addressed, as the Minister for Children and Housing said and I think Deputy Young said and I know Deputy Luce sitting to my left said.  I sit on that Housing Committee and as soon as the recommendations come out, we have to bring them here and we have to move the whole thing forward very quickly.  We are short of 4,000 properties.  If we can get those built, as quickly as we can, then a policy like this would be great but, at the moment, all it will succeed in doing is pushing the property prices higher and higher and away from the people who can even sketchily afford them now.  I know Deputy Luce agrees, we have to look into a different sphere in our building.  We have to go higher.  If we do not go higher, we will have to build on all the greenfield sites in Jersey and we will destroy this Island.  So, let us go with what Deputy Luce has suggested in the past, let us go high, let us build more properties and let us do it quickly.

3.4.9Connétable D.W. Mezbourian of St. Lawrence:

As someone who benefited from the former States loan scheme, my initial reaction, if I was to let my heart rule my head, would be to certainly support the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel in their Amendment today.  I think I probably agreed with every word that we heard from Senator Moore, when she proposed it.  That was my heart ruling my head.  If I was to take the opposite view and go with what is probably correct, I would be agreeing with everything that Senator Mézec said, notwithstanding that I am not sure if he was the Minister for Children and Housing he would still be saying everything that he said today, as a member of the Reform Party.  It is difficult to know and I think we have heard this probably in just about every Amendment that is being brought to this Government Plan.

[15:00]

Everything seems to make sense, but what is the impact that it will have?  What are the, perhaps, unintended consequences of the Amendments that have been brought forward?  I think that is one of the reasons, probably, that not many of the Amendments, if any, have been accepted by the Assembly.  I know that I sit in the seat where the former Minister for Housing, Senator Terry Le Main, sat.  I know that for 2 reasons: one, I sat about 2 seats away from him for about 3 years and, of course, the other reason is that it tells me that, because inscribed upon the desk here it says: “Terry Le Main was here.”  [Laughter]  I think, let me see, 11/09/06.  The former Minister for Housing sat here for many years, pontificating and those of us who were in the Chamber at the same time as him know that we used to hear his comments, that were not directed, perhaps, towards the microphone, but were directed towards us as his colleagues in the Assembly.  One of the terms that he used incessantly at the end of a vote, when we had made our decision and the votes had been counted and names had been read out, was: “The usual suspects, the usual suspects.”  I have spoken to other Members over the past couple of days and the usual suspects, although they change over the years, there is generally about 14 or 15 Members, as we have seen over the past couple of days, who vote with all of the Scrutiny proposals, with all of the Amendments that are being put forward and I am looking at our current Chief Minister, who I think, over the years, has voted with those Amendments.  Senator Mézec would have voted with those Amendments, but things change.  They are sitting on the other side of the fence now.  I think a wry smile must have crossed my face, when I heard Deputy Tadier refer to the usual suspects, because it just put me in mind of our former Minister for Housing, Senator Terry Le Main.  I have tried to imagine what he would have been saying to Senator Moore today, had he been here and had he been responding.  Yes, maybe we will be reading about it next week.  [Laughter]  But I think that, probably, he would have let his heart rule his head and he would have stood here saying: “I agree with the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, because they are trying to provide assistance to our dear Jersey people, who are in need of their own homes.”  Would he have said that?  No doubt he will make his views known.  I find this very difficult, because that is the view that I take.  We should be providing assistance, certainly as someone who benefited in the past, to those people who want to be able to own their own homes and provide homes for their families.  But, as Deputy Young has just said, as Deputy Truscott said, who also acknowledged that he had received help, it is the provision of the homes that we need to be delivering upon.  I am not going to say which way I am going to vote on this Amendment, because I am keen to hear other Members take part in this debate.  I can probably be persuaded either way because, clearly, in the comments that we have received from the Council of Ministers, again, it is coming up shortly.  H.P.D.B. (Housing Policy Development Board) will be reporting to the Chief Minister in early 2020 with a comprehensive package of policy interventions.  Do I wait until then, or do I indicate now that I think we should?  When those decisions come forward, we should certainly be considering some financial assistance, or not.  I will leave the Assembly to wonder how I am going to vote.

3.4.10Deputy K.F. Morel:

From one Member representing St. Lawrence to another, we have a very similar message and an equally vivid imagination.  Because, as I was sitting here listening to … and I apologise, because this is about the person, rather than the issue and I do apologise to Senator Mézec, as well, but as I heard him espousing rational economic argument and saying to us: “Let us put this off, let us wait for the Housing Development Board”, I could not help but think I could imagine him sitting here, with his Party colleagues, laughing at another Minister for Housing saying exactly the same thing and deriding the fact that they would be putting it off until next year and deriding a sound economic argument, because it was a sound economic argument.  It is wonderful to see Senator Mézec turn, is the wrong word but, again, please forgive me, to adopt such a stance.  It is difficult and, again, the Constable of St. Lawrence quite rightly said about the Chief Minister would have just sided with Scrutiny in the past and things like this.  I want to side, everything in me is telling me just we know we are going to lose anyway, so just press that button.  But I am concerned in this case, exactly as the Connétable said, about unintended consequences.  I am concerned that you would create price pressure, which is clearly a very unwanted consequence, if that was the case.  I absolutely applaud the Scrutiny Panel for bringing this and I applaud the Scrutiny Panel for trying to do something.  Because, unfortunately, in 18 months we have seen nothing move on the housing front in Jersey from this Council of Ministers and that is shocking that that is the case.  This is probably the number one issue in the Island and they have not done anything for 18 months and that is very poor.  Again, when I was imagining Senator Mézec of yesteryear, as Deputy Mézec he would have been in the past, I was thinking he would be saying exactly the same thing; 18 months and nothing has happened.  It is true, 18 months and nothing has happened.  I am afraid, Deputy Young, while the private sector may have something to do with price rises, population has a hell of a lot more to …

The Bailiff:

Now …

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Excuse me, I did not mean that.

The Bailiff:

Thank you, very well.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Sir, I withdraw that straightaway.  Has a lot more to do with it, population has a lot more to do with than the private sector itself.  At the end of the day, prices rise because more and more people are living in this Island and that is a simple fact.  I do think we need to broaden the scope there.  I am not going to say which way I will vote.  I am going to absolutely tread the St. Lawrence line on this one and maybe Deputy Guida will join us too, in constructive ambiguity.  But please, do listen to the debate; it is an interesting one.  Senator Mézec, I did not mean to disparage you, in any way, it was just interesting, but I really do hope you come through with some constructive and effective policies in the year ahead if this does, or does not go through, because we do need that to be the case.

The Bailiff:

Can I remind Members that remarks should be addressed through the Chair?  It should not be addressed to you, as in you to a Member, it should be referring to the Member in the third person.  We are about to find out what Deputy Guida’s view is.  [Laughter]

3.4.11Deputy G.C. Guida:

First of all, I would like to come to the help of the Senator.  Wait until he comes back, his colours will shine and I will try to do my best to keep him down to earth but, yes, I am pretty sure will come back with things that he has promised.  It has just been mentioned that I would like to introduce the elephant back into the room.  All the measures we are talking about today are extremely important.  They have worked in the past, they will work in the future.  We will need them, we will need measures like this.  But things need to be taken into order.  The first thing we need to sort out is population.  If we have 1,000 people coming into the Island every year, we need 1,000 homes built every year just for them, not for the people who are already here, just for the new ones.  Population comes first, we need to sort that first.  The second thing is that we need to build the homes that we want people to buy.  There is very little point in giving money to people if there is nothing to buy.  They will just compete with others, bring the prices up, it brings us absolutely nowhere.  The second thing is that we need to build the houses, but there is no point in building them if they are filled straight out of Condor Ferries in the same day.  It really does not help with occupation, we need to sort out immigration first.  Of course, when we have sorted out immigration, when we have built enough homes to stabilise the market, then we can help people who need those houses and try to make them more affordable and more accessible.  I will be voting against the Amendment.

3.4.12Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

This is a big subject and I am challenged by it, because I do not know the easy solution.  The Senator and myself, we sit on the Affordable Housing Committee for St. Peter to do our introductions.  We have many of the debates, positively trying to find solutions for this particular subject.  I do not look at it as affordable homes, I look at it as home affordability and this Proposition, from Senator Moore, addresses it from that angle and that is a good thing about it.  However, I worry about it from more practical and, hopefully, I can be helped with these practicalities when we have the summing up.  This is all about loan to value; simple economics.  The bigger the deposit you have, the smaller the mortgage you require, therefore, the lower the risk of that particular loan and that is why you get a better mortgage deal.  The interest rates will be lower.  What concerns me is that if we offer what is, ultimately, a second mortgage to this particular product, I do not know, I have never been a mortgage adviser, but I suggest the mortgage provider will look upon it as a risk, as 100 per cent mortgage, i.e. because that is what he sees as the repayment challenge.  Can it be repaid?  Also, what is the equity that is in the property, that if the property has to be repossessed, that he can have his damage limitation to this particular risk, it is really important?  What will the primary mortgage company view it?  Also, another thing is you can already today get 100 per cent mortgage.  It will be very expensive.  There will be conditions attached to it; that means they are probably not affordable and not particularly popular, but they are available.  The reason they are expensive is because they are 100 per cent.  Will Senator Moore’s suggestions make that affordability and that risk any different to the provider?  What really concerns me is we have this overheated market, properties are expensive and the point has been laboured that we have got more demand into the market with this, which is going to create more heat in the market.  However, we will be persuading these families to buy expensive, definitely, I believe, unaffordable products.  I do not know if anybody remembers 1987 Black Monday - October Black Monday - well that was the trigger, so I think possibly the worst residential property collapse in London, so a history lesson for some of us.  What that meant, there were a lot of people after the bursting of a bubble and there will be a bursting of the bubble in the property market here, night follows day, it happens.  Property is cyclical, it always has been and it will be.  We will be leaving a lot of these families with not only overpriced products that they are having to service, but in negative equity.  I would be really uncomfortable giving a ray of hope to these families when the risks might not be clearly understood and could have potentially real detrimental effects on those families if the worst situation happened; not even the worst, the likelihood of the bottom half worst.  I am concerned about it.  That does not mean to say I am not going to stop trying to find solutions, because they are out there and they are difficult and they have all been covered as suggestions, me, myself.  That is why I am concerned and I ask you all to consider that, but maybe Senator Moore will alleviate their concerns in her summing up.

[15:15]

3.4.13Connétable J. Le Bailly of St. Mary:

There is a figure here, £11.5 million; it sounds a lot of money, it is peanuts.  If you need to address the housing situation, you need to throw another £100 million with that.  This is not all about money, it is about we need to reduce the price of housing.  The price of affordable housing is not affordable anymore.  For £11.5 million you would basically get 25 houses; that is going to do nothing to the market.  We need 7,000.  We need to identify sites.  The States do have sites, even though they cannot find one for the hospital.  Once we have found those sites, the cost of housing will come down dramatically.  We need to reduce housing by at least 30 per cent, in order that rental will come down at the same time.  It does not just mean finding sites and having the money available, we need to change the method of construction, because we cannot build on that scale in Jersey with our current workforce; we do not have enough people to do it.  We have to change the construction to a flat pack and import it.  Conventional building can still continue in Jersey for other types of requirements; larger houses, flats, office blocks, various things like that.  But to address the real issue of first-home buyer housing, we need to change the method of build.  We can only do that by carrying this forward and identifying those States sites and getting these policies brought through as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, that is going to have to go through our Minister for the Environment and he will be a big, major part of us achieving this.

3.4.14The Deputy of Trinity:

I am going to start by saying it is home from home.  I would totally, in most circumstances, disagree with Senator Mézec.  For 25 years, I headed up a national building society.  I have been fascinated with some of the comments that have been made on the right-hand side.  If you go over in 1987, 1988, 1989, you know what they did, Deputy Huelin, anybody that had not paid 3 months we were straight into court and we were repossessing the properties; it was frightening, but prior to that we had the same problem.  The biggest problem that Jersey has, the competition within the market with regards to building societies and the fact that there is nowhere else to go really with regards to land.  Having spent 4 days up in the Isle of Man, the other day, on behalf of the States, I was quite fascinated with what they were saying, because they have gone the complete opposite way.  There they have got so much land, they are building houses and they are dropping in price.  But what I am really trying to get at is that I would have totally disagreed, as I said, with you, Senator, 6 years ago, 5 years ago I would have said that is a load of rubbish.  The biggest problem you have got here is that you do not have the land, which goes back to what the Constable of St. Mary is saying.  What we agreed in 1982, 1983 at the change of the Building Society Act, the Building Society Act changed in 1982, 1983, 1984, was that no building society could lend to a developer to build houses.  It changed in 1984, which meant that we could lend money to a building society and most of the big nationals, Halifax, Abbey, all the big ones, Alliance & Leicester, all then started doing deals with agreed purchases of land and, going back to you again, Sir, agreed purchases of building the house.  When you bought the land and you were building the house, the house did not go up over the period of time of the building.  The societies agreed the loans with the builders and I am talking about Laing, McFarland, McAlpine, Wimpey and we agreed all those deals and house prices remained static.  I go back to you, Deputy Young, what has happened now …

The Bailiff:

If you could …

The Deputy of Trinity:

Sorry, I am learning.

The Bailiff:

That is the fourth time not through the Chair, so if you could try and keep it through the Chair.

The Deputy of Trinity:

Sorry, Sir.  Going back to the comment made by Deputy Young, we had control and the biggest thing is that England was big enough, you could move about.  We also made the big mistake of moving a lot of the developments out to the outside of cities and towns; that created problems, as well, with the similar sort of reasons.  I think the unfortunate thing, at the end of the day, is you having to come up with something where you have got almost an agreed price for the house from day one, so did the individual.  We then added the caveat, because the Building Society Act changed.  For the first 2 years of the mortgage, they could not sell unless there was a split in marriage, difficulties, or whatever but the first 2 years they could not sell.  The price basically only went up … we almost did a price rise on the R.P.I. (Retail Price Index) at the time and only properties went up with that and it kept the prices down.  But the problem is, the moment you sell that house, that is when the price goes up and it pulls the other prices up and that is where the biggest problem is here, because there is no competition.  I, unfortunately, will be voting with Senator Mézec.  But you are going to have to find a way of keeping prices stable.  The Constable of Trinity, in my own Parish, knows my views, in the sense that there was that lovely phrase ... I cannot ever think anywhere in the U.K. where my son bought a first-time purchaser house for £500,000.  It was houses for life, but that was fine and it is a great site and everything else, I would have no objections to it at all.  But we have got to be looking in terms of £250,000, £350,000 and for people to be able to stay there and to keep those prices static.  It is going to be one hell of a job for you to do because … that is the second time.  [Laughter]

The Bailiff:

Deputy, it is the sixth time.  If I could just gently remind you, once again, to address only through the Chair.

The Deputy of Trinity:

I apologise, yes.  It is going to be one big job to do.  But it has been fascinating listening to the conversations and you are right about 100 per cent mortgages, as well, because we moved back to the 100 per cent mortgages.  The reason that it stayed in was because the interest rates were static and we also controlled the interest rates, which is, I think, something that we could do here as well, whomever uses the first charge, because I am assuming that we are going to have the second charge.  It is only food for thought, it is food for comment, but it was fascinating listening to everybody’s comments in here this afternoon.  As I said, it was like home from home and it was in one room telling my 160-odd managers this is what they were going to do across the U.K., did surprise them but it did work.  But then, after a while, unfortunately, house prices did go up again and we had that big fall in 1987 where we were then sending out the managers to say we are going to repossess the properties.

3.4.15Deputy R.J. Ward:

There are a few things here.  It has been a very interesting debate to hear when we talk about the housing market.  I would start off by saying I think what you have uncovered and made very clear - although obviously some people just cannot seem to see it - is it is the failings of that market that we are talking about here.  The massively inflated market that has meant that access to an affordable home that you can live in, with the right to stay there and bring up your family, is not accessible to way too many and particularly on this Island.  Before we start praying to the god of the market, perhaps we need to look at the damage that has been done to our community.  I find myself agreeing with Constable Le Bailly, when he says about how much money we would have to throw at it to solve the problem; you are absolutely correct.  That might seem ironic to some of you, seem to see an irony in the fact that Reform talk about economic sense.  Absolutely, we talk about economic sense, but we talk about an economy that works, because it is essential.  But not just an economy for those who can afford the most expensive houses and the wealthiest, but an economy for all of our community and that is what we need to be addressing.  I would say that I am going to stand up for a member of Reform and a Minister for once and I will say somebody, who has had the courage to stand up and take on the incredibly poisonous chalice of housing on this Island and try and come up with some solutions to that.  I assure you, there is no bigger critic of the Minister for Children and Housing than the members of Reform, who sit here, because we expect an enormous amount of what comes out at the end of this, because we want to see change and we want to see it work for the people of this Island.  Do not be surprised if we sit here and the simplistic interpretation of what is going on here just reflects the lack of understanding of what we are trying to do and that is a shame.  There is a wider issue and this is about people’s rights to a home.  I am afraid I see the simplistic nature of this Amendment; it looks good, £5 million, help them to get a rung on the housing ladder.  I hate that phrase the housing ladder, this is talking about people getting the right to a home, so they have better stability in their life.  We rely on charities for people who are homeless and people sleep in car parks overnight.  It is very well intended and marvellous; well done.  But we are still losing that right for people to have somewhere secure for them to live.  We are not recognising that the market has failed us in producing that and we are just trying to throw tiny, little solutions, which, I have to say it, they are populist.  I think I have just understood as to why it is very important to go through the Chair, because when you are being critical, it is good to detach it from the personality and I am very pleased that I can do that.  The market always has losers and we are not going to solve those people who are losing out with these simplistic approaches, I am afraid.  It looks good on paper, it looks good in the J.E.P., but it will not work in the way that we want it to.  We, as an Assembly, like so many other things that we have talked about that are difficult, from climate to population, to all of these things have some really difficult decisions to make.  I assure you, if something is not happening in the next few months, I will be bringing Propositions and the changes that I want to see happening too.  But we need to enable this to get on and I think we need to take away any personal attacks and we need to look, because this is much bigger than these things and we need to address housing and the rights of people on this Island, so they can bring their families up.  Let us say it, shall we: put children first, genuinely.  Because, the first thing they need is a home to live in that they have got a right to be in and that is what I would urge.

3.4.16Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I think I just want to pick up on a couple of points that were made.  One point is, if it was simple we would have done it and I really just go back to that point and it covers both population and housing.  So many times, people say we have been in for 18 months and nothing has happened and being reminded, as well.  Bear in mind, for quite a long period of that time, we have been constrained under the M.T.F.P. (Medium Term Financial Plan) that has perhaps rigidity built in - as I have been reminded, because you forget sometimes what you have done - new finances as well, a bit more flexibility.  Yes, I know that is all procedural, but it is those little steps that we gain.  Senator Mézec did cap the increases in social housing rents to set an immediate message going forward.  If one looks at the written question that Deputy Pamplin, I think, asked, if I have got my dates right, even on Monday, which feels a long time ago, that gave the projection on the future units and supplies coming through and, potentially, overall that is not a bad picture to have.  I would suggest I think we are going to need more, but there is nothing in the pipeline.  Obviously, that excludes the units that are going to be delivered, or have been delivered in June 2019.  Just because we have not brought a policy, or a scheme, into this Assembly yet, it does not mean nothing has been going on, on the ground; development continues, units are being constructed, applications are being made.  The difficulty is, as we have said, if it was simple we would have done it by now.  I was having a clearout, a couple of years ago, of old political papers, from my father’s time in Cabinet and I came across articles from the 1980s, by former Senator Jimmy Perchard, when he was first going for the States, raising issues around housing.  We should all remember, housing as an issue, has been with us for decades. 

[15:30]

One is not going to resolve it overnight.  That is a horrible expression, because I can see my successor in St. Lawrence, in terms of turning around and saying: “Well, you have been in for 18 months.”  That is why we are saying we have set the really complicated pieces of work coming through between now and the early part of next year.  That is the climate emergency stuff, that Deputy Young is going to be bringing through.  That is the housing side, that Senator Mézec is going to be bringing through.  There is the population side that the Connétable of St. John is going to be bringing through.  I do not know the outcome that will be coming through those, but there are going to be some very chunky pieces of work that are going to arise from them.  The question then comes down to, as in the meantime there is a stopgap: do we put £5 million into this?  Do not forget, we have not done anything in this Plan; we have put £10 million aside in anticipation of the work of the Housing Development Policy Board, so that there is some funding there in the Plan, so that when we come through with the definitive policies, we have a pot that we can tap into.  We do not know what it is going to look like.  The Connétable of St. Mary is probably right, we are probably going to need more.  However, it is a starting point.  We have not been sitting there thinking: “Oh my goodness, what do we do?”  We have been saying: “We are going to try and get it right.”  We are doing at the start of the political term, so it is not running up to the last 3 months, when we are having debates left, right and centre, under pressure, because we need to get something done before the elections.  I do agree, by the way, if by the middle of next year, or later, we are in that position where we have not produced results on either of those and we have not started moving forwards, then I suspect there will be Propositions coming left, right and centre.  We know that pressure is on us, because we know Deputy Young, as Minister, is desperate for some of those pieces of information to feed into the Island Plan.  This is all a coherent jigsaw that has to come together.  So, then, it comes down to: do we put £5 million in now to carry on a previous scheme?  It is politically attractive.  One is going to be helping, potentially on the basis of the last scheme, which was half the amount, about 51 households.  I do not think it will be 100, because prices have changed.  For those individual people, it will be very important.  Senator Mézec was absolutely spot-on; he and I do not always agree politically, but in this area I think he is right.  What we are looking at is the macro impact one is trying to do, the impact that would help the biggest number of Islanders, in the shortest time period possible.  That is doing it in a coherent, considered way.  That is what we are trying to do.  We are trying to move away from knee-jerk reactions.  Going back to the comments from Council of Ministers, point one, it risks over-heating the market.  In other words, one does not achieve what we are setting out to do, which is to help Islanders get on to the housing ladder.  If anybody thinks that myself, or any other Minister who has been through any of the hustings, has forgotten the fact of the pressures around housing and population, I correct them absolutely.  They are very much at the forefront of our minds, but we have to get the work done.  It has been set in train.  It is not that far away.  A matter again for the Assembly: we can either send a short-term political message, which may disappoint people, or we can say: “No, housing and population are at the top-end of the agenda.  We have not forgotten them.  We are waiting for the Council of Ministers to come back, in the first quarter of next year.  If they do not, we will be holding them to account.”  On that basis, I am not supporting this Amendment.  It is very much for Members.

3.4.17Deputy K.C. Lewis: 

I do believe that this Amendment is well intentioned, but obviously not the way to go.  If I may briefly build on something the Constable of St. Lawrence mentioned earlier on, regarding a former Senator.  I remember, one very hot summer, the then Minister for Housing turned to the then Bailiff and said: “Sir, it is extremely hot, may we take off our jackets.”  To which the then Bailiff said: “Certainly not.”  The Minister then pointed at the usher saying: “Well, the usher is not wearing a jacket.”  The Bailiff looked at the usher, looked at the Senator and said: “Yes, but he is working.”  [Laughter]  We must do more work to support the Minister for Children and Housing, but this is not the way to go.  I do feel very sorry indeed for people trying to get on the housing ladder.  The housing deposits requested now are sometimes up around £80,000, for just a modest house.  If you are paying Jersey rents, you are in a catch-22 situation and it is extremely difficult.  I do sympathise, but this is not the way to go, so I will be rejecting this Amendment.

3.4.18Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

I would just like to draw Members attention to what has been happening over the years and our dependence on the private sector.  Year in and year out, for the last 25 years, if you look at how much building is going on, the vast majority of it is in the private sector.  What we have, as a result of that nowadays, are modern, luxury flats and buy-to-lets.  We do not have accommodation for our ordinary people.  Until we take hold of this particular sector and legislate and regulate for given outcomes, we are not going to get anywhere.  I am reminded again of my colleague, Deputy Tadier’s statement where he said: “In particular, what we need to do is return to good quality social rental housing.  Not affordable.”  Affordable is not affordable, as many will note.  We need social rental, with decent tenancies and decent conditions. Then we will start to make some impact on the problem that we have allowed to grow over the past 25 years.

The Bailiff: 

Does any other Member wish to speak on the Amendment?  I call upon Senator Moore to respond. 

3.4.19Senator K.L. Moore:

I thank all those Members who have contributed to the debate.  It was really timely that Deputy Southern was the last speaker there, because I had been deliberating whether, or not, to touch on the thorny issue of the political perspective with which each of us will approach this debate.  Home ownership is a matter of political persuasion.  We will, each and every one of us, approach this in a slightly different way.  The Corporate Services Panel clearly believes that home ownership is an essential part of a hand-up and encouraging wealth and prosperity among Islanders.  Of course, there are others who have different views.  We have heard very clearly and well-argued from Reform that they would prefer to see a model where there was greater social housing and social rental.  It is absolutely right and proper that social housing is provided in the Island.  Although I do take Deputy Southern to task somewhat when he says we have not done enough building in the social rental market.  Indeed, it has recently been widely agreed that Andium have been very successful in recent years.  Sometimes, this Assembly has not helped them, because we have either delayed the agreement of sites for them, or caused few hurdles for them.  However, they have been very successful in firstly improving the quality of the social rental market in this Island and, secondly, in building and development.  Thank you to Deputy Pamplin for his written question of earlier this week and I thank the Chief Minister for reminding me of it, because if we look at that answer to the written question, you can see the number of sites that Andium Homes have in the pipeline and will soon become available: Belmont Court in this quarter of this year; Samarès in St. Clement in quarter 4 of 2020; Robin Hood site in St. Helier in 2020; Rosemont Mews in St. Saviour in 2020.  There are homes becoming available of various types and in different types of the market, both in social rented and in the private sector.  That will encourage the sharing and the fulfilment of homes in the various sectors, which will deal, I hope, with the many people who are on that band 5 of the Social Housing Gateway.  Band 5, if I remind Members - and I read out some of the numbers in my opening speech - is those who have registered for the Affordable Housing Gateway and signalled their desire to purchase an affordable home.  There were 560 families who registered on the 2-beds; 692 for 3-beds; and 42 for 4-bedroom sites.  Deputy Doublet, quite rightly, wanted to know some facts and figures and how many people do we think would benefit from this Proposition.  As the Chief Minister said, it is probably going to be about 70 to 90 people, if we work out some rough estimates.  That caused me to look back at what happened in 2013 and subsequently in 2014, after the last loan deposit scheme was agreed by the previous Assembly.  In quarter one of that year, in 2014, the average house price was 1 per cent lower than it had been in quarter 4 of 2013.  It was 2 per cent lower than the same quarter in the previous year.  That is rather interesting, is it not?  In quarter 2, there was a little bit of movement, it appears.  The price was 5 per cent up on quarter one.  Turnover was also up at about 13 per cent.  However, quarter 3 there was no change on the previous quarter and turnover was a bit down.  By quarter 4 of that year, prices were 3 per cent higher than the same quarter of the previous year.  A very little increase in activity in the market, but then a very quick settling was experienced by the housing market here after the previous loan deposit scheme was carried out.  Going back to the political persuasion argument - I sometimes tidy up my desk too - I did happen to find the Chief Minister’s statement that he provided to the Assembly, when he was putting himself forward for the post of Chief Minister.  He quite rightly identified affordable housing as a major issue in the Island and one that he wished to address in his tenure as Chief Minister, if successful.  I will just read a quick excerpt: “I am supportive of an Affordable Housing Commission.”  He then continues to say: “With that in mind, I want to seek to create a modern-day version of the old States loan system.”  We continue: “Or just a loan deposit lending scheme ... will all form part of the deliberation.”  The Chief Minister, himself, when he committed himself for election to this Assembly, he committed to returning a loan deposit scheme to Islanders, to assist them in their search for property.  The Corporate Services Panel are simply trying to help the Chief Minister and hurry up the process somewhat.  He has already made up his mind.  He knows the direction he wants to go.  He has £10 million allocated for housing in 2021.  Why not do it in 2020?  Surely, this is an Assembly that can deliver something for the community, particularly when we all know so many people who would benefit from this project.  Having listened to some of the comments, I think I ought to, at this stage, just remind Members what exactly the loan deposit scheme would do and would achieve.  The deposit scheme was created, because it is very difficult for people, identified by the Deputy of St. Peter, to find a 100 per cent mortgage in this Island, so often it is an 80 per cent mortgage that is required.  People struggle to find that 20 per cent deposit, because often they are in the rental sector, often in private rental and it is very difficult, when paying that level of rent, to find and put together a 20 per cent mortgage.  The deposit scheme provides an interest free, 15 per cent, loan to the people who are successful.  They have to put in 5 per cent of the value of the property, 15 per cent is granted interest free by the States and then they can take a normal mortgage for the remaining 80 per cent.  If we look back at the previous scheme and we recall, 51 households benefited from that scheme.  In 6 years, half of the money that was distributed has already been repaid.  Deputy Truscott sensibly asked what the redress would be if there were defaults on the loan scheme.  I do not know the technical details, if I am absolutely honest, but we can look back at that previous scheme and see how successful it was. 

[15:45]

I was really quite surprised to see that 50 per cent of the money lent had already been repaid, in a period of 6 years.  That really seems quite quick to me.  It (a) shows that it assisted those people in aspiring and furthering and becoming better off, and (b) it was successful.  Hopefully, it will not be a matter of concern for Members.  I do have one example of the type of people who we might be able to assist.  This is a man, probably not much younger than me.  He has children.  He described to me very clearly the experience of so many people.  For the past 10 years, this family have been paying £2,000 a month in rent.  They could probably take a mortgage on a property worth about £500,000.  That would be the amount of mortgage repayment they would have to face every single month.  Because they are paying that £2,000 every month, they cannot, as a family, get the deposit together to enable themselves to buy a property for £500,000.  That is exactly what we are trying to do here.  By offering this opportunity to families, who are accepted on to this scheme, we would enable them to make that leap and put them on to property ownership, rather than paying a private sector rent every single month.  We also have heard much talk about the state of the market here in Jersey.  Really, I have to take issue with the Deputy of Trinity on this one; the market here is not vastly different to that in the U.K., because they are constricted land masses, with a restricted amount of supply in the market.  Both places have failed to deliver the amount of building that has been required to keep up with population growth over a long period of time.  It is true: we do have a constriction in the market.  I, again, suggest that we have to look back at what happened to the market after the previous loan deposit scheme and accept that doing something is better than doing nothing.  There are also and it has to be said many properties becoming available in the next year.  There are properties on the market at this very moment; and there are more coming.  Next year, there are a number of sizable developments that will be completed in various Parishes around the Island.  That caused me to remember a statement and a frustration voiced by Assembly Members earlier in another debate this week, where they described a frustration that properties are being built here and then sold to private investors.  If those properties are being built and sold and it causes a frustration to States Members that they are sold sometimes to private investors, why not enable our own people to buy one of those properties, because there are properties going on the market and being sold.  The whole argument of the impact that this might have on the market, I really urge Members to consider very carefully, because I think that argument has been slightly inflated.  When it comes down to it, we have a Housing Policy Development Board, we have an Assembly, we have a Government Plan and we have some funds.  It is a big question for the Assembly, but it is one: do we wish to sit here and pontificate and wring out hands and say: “We are ever so sorry that people are in housing hardship.  We are ever so sorry that they are paying huge amounts of rent every month.  That is bad luck for you; shame.”  Most of us here in this Assembly are homeowners.  Many of us - and I am grateful to those Members who have shared their experiences - were able to get on to the property ladder, because the States Assembly of that time enabled them to do so, by doing innovative things.  They saw a need and they thought: “Look, let us provide for our community and let us do something proactive.”  I put it to you all today, you can pontificate and wring your hands and wait for 2021, or take some action and try to fulfil at least a small part of the need that we all know exists.”  I propose the Amendment.

The Bailiff: 

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

POUR: 12

 

CONTRE: 31

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

3.5Government Plan 2020–2023 (P.71/2019): Amendment (P.71/2019 Amd.)

The Bailiff: 

There is now an Amendment by Deputy Southern.  It is the first Amendment and I ask the Greffier to read.

The Deputy Greffier of the States: 

Page 2, paragraph (h) – After the words “to the Report,” insert the words – “except that in Summary Table 8(ii) the total amount for ‘Benefits and other expenditure’ should be increased by the sum of £0.9 million and the estimated closing balance be decreased by £0.9 million to meet the cost of providing G.P. consultations at a reduced charge for certain groups”.

3.5.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

At this time, on the third day, we start to learn what marathon means.  Before we go much further, I want to just refresh people’s memories about what we are doing here.  We are doing a Government Plan.  What is that about?  We seem to have got bogged down on some here, some there, Ministers versus the rest.  It seems to be very competitive.  In fact, the Government Plan is there to put the Common Strategic Policy in place and to put some meat on those bones.  I remind Members of what our Common Strategic Policy is.  There are 4 statements here: we will put children first, we want all children to live healthy lives, enjoying the best mental and physical health; we will improve access to primary care for vulnerable people, including children and the ageing population; and make it more affordable.  Two issues there.  One access, we do not generally have an access problem to our G.P.s, unlike the U.K.  If you want an appointment, you can usually get one pretty promptly.  What we do have - and everyone in this room will recognise this and know people who find it unaffordable - £45 for a consultation with your G.P. is something that many cannot afford.  Yet many have need of it.  If one looks at the use of G.P.s, or the use of N.H.S. (National Health System) facilities in my table on page 9 of my documents, one will notice that around birth you get something like £2,600 cost to the N.H.S., which is not met until one looks at the over-85s, who have a very similar figure.  £2,600 is spent on medical treatments as you get older, as well as when you are young.  Then, this is key to the whole thing, we will reduce income and equality and improve the standard of living.  How do we do that?  There are many ways in which we might try.  One of them, I believe, is by reducing the cost of G.P. visits.  If one examines, for example, an individual on income support, in or out of work, you will find that, on average, they have something like £130 to £140 disposable income.  Imagine what happens when you fall ill then and that is your disposable income and yet you have to find £45 for a doctor’s bill?  It is a very difficult situation.  We can all sign up to these priorities and appreciate them.  In fact, we all have signed up, back in 2008.  This is what we are working to.  This is what we are trying to deliver.  My Proposition is an attempt to make that more possible, that we can deliver, in the short term, reduced fees for G.P. access.  I mentioned, on Tuesday, that I had learned one thing in my time about the States Assembly: it is very good with words, but very often a bit short on action.  We all know that G.P. consultation fees are too high and that many families and individuals struggle to afford appropriate and timely treatment from their G.P.  We know there is a problem, because we have already noticed that some G.P.s, in certain practices, are reducing their costs, for example for the under-5s.  For under-16s, I believe, in some practices, they have a reduced fee.  What happens is some G.P.s are deciding that some people are more deserving than others and will treat them for free, rather than charge them.  It is a fairly random process and puts a burden back on the G.P.  We could help out with that issue.  I have even heard that some practices are finding it difficult to maintain their services to some of their clients, because they have built up debts: £200 I hear and you may get no further treatment.  That should not be happening.  We have to have G.P. services accessible and affordable.  What happens is that many patients will simply avoid seeking treatment, hoping their persistent cough goes away.  It may not.  It may be that early sign of serious illness, which if ignored and undiagnosed may require expensive and lengthy treatment.  At worse - and we suspect it is the case - it may cause premature death.  That is the reality of having unaffordable access to your G.P.  That is the risk at least.  What will not go away is the fact - and it is a fact - that we are living with rising numbers of elderly people, with increased demand for medical services as we live longer.  We have known about this for over a decade.  We need to better act, to better focus and improve our health service, especially in delivery of primary care.  I quote 3 quotes here that I used back in 2011 in a Scrutiny analysis, evidence gathered in S.R.3 (Spending Review) of 2011, review of benefit levels.  The quotes are: Dr. Iona Heath, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, when she said on her visit to the Island: “We absolutely know that payment for attendance worsens health inequalities.  Poor people have to think twice before they see their G.P.  They do have worse health problems to start with.  It also encourages people to go to the hospital, where it is free.  Hospital care is a high cost to the community.  We know that is happening on the Island.  There are 30,000 inappropriate visits to Accident and Emergency a year, which should have been dealt with elsewhere, either by G.P.s, or by practice nurses, et cetera.  Why?  Because, for many of those people it is question of not being able to afford to go to the G.P.  The hospital is free, you wait and you go there.  Two further quotes will give a picture of income support payments in differing circumstances.  For example: “I have found myself out of work since November, through no fault of my own and, therefore, have gone from earning a good wage to income support.  I have actually had to cancel doctors, due to the cost of the £35 per visit.” 

[16:00]

Then, another one, again someone who is elderly and vulnerable: “As one gets older it is a fact of life that visits to the doctor are more frequent and the fees involved are a continual worry.  My surgery charges £35.20 [at the time] for each visit and considerably more if I need a home visit.  I have been in hospital 3 times in the last 2 years, which, fortunately, is free, but it has cost me several hundred pounds in doctors’ fees in between those times.”  That is a picture of the reality back in 2011.  I ask Members: do you believe that has changed today, because I certainly do not.  I know of people who struggle to get to the doctor and struggle to pay for it.  This Amendment says fine words are all well and good, but it is time to act today, I would say now.  To a certain extent, the Council of Ministers are in agreement with me when it says: “The Council of Ministers supports the overall aim of the Amendment to reduce the cost of primary care to well targeted groups.”  Further to that, they have produced their new Jersey Care model, this briefing paper, in really quite extensive depth, a whole series - almost 100 pages - of plans as to how they intend to deliver primary care.  But note the word “plans”.  There have been some small initiatives recently, but the move of getting primary care into the community has yet to happen.  Even more importantly, unless we make this happen, unless we can divert people going to the hospital as a matter of routine and instead taking the help in the community, unless we can divert those, the whole plan around the hospital will fall on its face.  The intention is to build a 200-bed hospital and not the 280 bed that was previously supposed.  Unless we can get G.P.s doing their work in the community, those people will, yet again, be in the hospital and we will be spending more than we have to on providing our services.  But let us just have a look a minute at why the Minister ... perhaps I will ask that question now, why the Minister has decided to oppose my Proposition and not to amend it.  It was lodged on 11th October, plenty of time to examine it and say: “Can we do it differently?  Can we do it better?  Can we do it otherwise?”  But nothing happened and yet my Proposition was written half with a view to: “They can always amend it.”  It says: “The estimated closing balance be decreased by £0.9 million, to meet the cost of providing G.P. consultations at a reduced charge for certain groups.”  That £0.9 million refers to a quarter year in 2020 and it would be £3.6 million in order to deliver in a full year.  But let us have a look at what the Minister says: “The Council of Ministers supports the overall Amendment to reduce the cost of primary care to well targeted groups, however, the method suggested in the Amendment is not supported, as it further entrenches a financial and clinical model that is outdated.  The Amendment is poorly targeted.  It seeks to support many individuals, who do not face financial barriers to primary care, while not addressing some groups that do face barriers.  The Jersey Care model has made significant progress and will be validated and developed further by external health planners and health economists between December 2019 and June 2020.  A 2020 commitment is already in place in the Government Plan to develop a model to address access for vulnerable groups, delivery targeted at 2021.  This will form part of the Jersey Care model and will be developed in a sustainable and equitable way.”  I ask Members whether they believe that that timescale can and will be met and we will examine why I believe it might not be and why it is important to act now to get some cover in there.  Note, please, that the spend that I wish to undertake has been funded; it is funded from the Health Insurance Fund, which is in a healthy position and can take this sort of expenditure.  So, let us have a look.  On the future care model, improving access to specific primary care services for specific groups, they say: “We will consider all opportunities for expanding access to primary care for those who are financially, clinically and socially vulnerable.  This may be achieved by a combination of financial support, education, cultural champions and availability of services in alternative locations.  Of the financially vulnerable, support for those who are unable to afford the service user co-payments in the short, or long, term by expansion of the income support system.”  I have not seen that before.  “The use of primary care medical cards” so a use of medical cards, they get some discount on your G.P. fees.  The clinically vulnerable: they say: “We shall review the current system for providing dental services for children in Jersey and look at other potential models of care, which could provide more timely access for all children.  We will be developing clinical pathways for long term conditions such as diabetes, C.O.P.D. (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cardiovascular disease, depression, epilepsy and end of life.”  Then the socially vulnerable: “Support for specific age groups, i.e. all under-5s, teenagers with specific conditions, or over-85s.”  That is the plan.  So, when the Minister says: “This is badly targeted”, he fails to note that it is not targeted at all, apart from the general statement “a charge for certain groups”.  Not a charge for certain groups “as laid out in the accompanying report, or in a chart” but just for certain groups.  It is entirely up to the Minister who those groups might be, how we might means test it if he wants to test it and how he can deliver this.  So, where I have got my groups, as suggested first thoughts, all old age pensioners, 18,600 of them; children under-5s, 6,000 of them; income support recipients of the order of 5,500 households with 7,000 adults.  Or, let us have another look, what about pensioners on income support, approximately 2,000 of those.  What about all over-75s; would that be a valid thing to do?  There are 8,000 of those.  Those on income support with an impairment, 1,100 of those.  That gives an order of magnitude to who might these services be delivered to and how much would it cost.  The maximum I have said is £3.6 million a year and it could target up to a third of our population, but it could be much less.  Again, it is all down to the Minister as to how he chooses how to target it and who to reach.  In terms of meeting the timescale; studied and signed off in June next year, with a view to a 2021 start.  Let us just have a look at what is to be done and let us have a look at the statement that this is an old-fashioned method that you are locked into in some way.  So, in the sector contained in the Jersey Care model, they have got a passage about future funding models for primary care.  Listen to this and think, is it likely to be done and dusted by the middle of 2021: “Future funding models of primary care.  There is agreement across the Island that the current funding model for primary care will not allow our strategic intent to be deliverable.  There are a multitude of international models to assist our deliberations, ranging from N.H.S. care, the majority is free at the point of access, salaried G.P.s, social health funds, household medical accounts, universal medical cards, private public health with insurance schemes, blended models [the majority] whereby there is a mixture of user pays, capitation, fee for service and various performance related quality tests.”  Then they go on to say: “Funding for primary care services in Jersey is sourced from a combination of service user copayments [that is your £45], payments from the Health Insurance Fund, payments from the Health and Community Services out of general taxation, increased provision of primary care services are likely to require extra funding, repurposing of current budgets and reducing the spend on secondary care in the future.”  They talk about reconfiguring the current funding schemes, moving funds and resources from secondary to primary, with activity changes, a combination of redistribution of the Health Insurance Fund and the healthcare budget.  Ring-fenced budget for prevention and screening, perhaps.  Expand public contributions to social security or general taxation, indirect access or charges.  A whole range of possibilities, none of which have been decided yet, which are due to be examined.  I believe that my Proposition, which permits a reduced fee for certain groups, needs to be delivered today and we cannot do the usual thing of accepting what the Minister says: “Just wait, we have got it in hand.”  I do not believe that they will deliver it, I think we can do something now and certainly, in talking recently to many people on doorsteps, this has been the single most important thing that they have focused on and said: “About time too.” So, we can today do something to reduce G.P. fees if we so choose and I think it would be the single most appropriate thing and best thing we could do with this Government Plan

The Bailiff:

Is the Amendment seconded?  [Seconded]

[16:15]

3.5.2The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The Council of Ministers fully support the intent behind the Amendment by Deputy Southern.  It does, at face value, address Ministers’ commitments in the Common Strategic Policy and in the Government Plan.  Page 47 of the Government Plan commits the Government and what we will do in 2020 to develop a model to support access to primary care for financially vulnerable individuals.  I have worked with Deputy Southern for 3½ years on the Health and Social Services Scrutiny Panel and that was a valuable time for me.  I hope he feels the same about serving with me, because we both heard and read real evidence of hardship of people, who were unable to access proper primary care services because of financial vulnerability.  That is accepted by myself, by the Council of Ministers, we are equally concerned to get this right.  But we have seen false starts in the past; P.82 laid the foundations, but perhaps it has not proceeded swiftly enough until now.  Changes have been made, are being made.  We are already delivering that change in primary care.  For example, cervical screening has come into primary care, diabetic supplies, the Listening Lounge has been established, G.P. clusters have been established, all as we are pursuing new models of care.  But it needs a turbo boost.  We do need a system change, an entirely new model of care, to meet the challenges that are coming that Deputy Southern has referred to, the ageing population being the one that concerns us so very much.  Also, to take the opportunities that new technology and new treatments offer and, therefore, I was very pleased that, just a few weeks ago, we launched the new Jersey Care model and there is now a full programme of engagement underway, inviting Islanders to share the vision of that model and asking them to give their feedback.  I have been hugely impressed and commend the officers across Health and Community Services, who have shown energy and commitment in delivering this model.  As they have shared it with professionals - both within the hospital and outside in health sectors and including primary care practitioners and the charitable sector - there has been a huge amount of support and momentum that has built up, because those working in health can understand that this is the way we need to change.  It can be daunting.  It is a task, a large task.  But it began with P.82 and those who are working in the sector are intent on making that change and delivering.  This includes G.P.s; they are actively engaged and meeting with us in developing the care model.  In the groups that meet, access for vulnerable groups is at the top of the agenda that we share.  It is a priority for the Council of Ministers.  Very shortly, we are engaging a health planner and a health economist, who are going to help us to validate the model early next year, which will give us all the information we need to consider the different types of mechanisms that Deputy Southern referred to.  That would work for us when we have that data, because, quite frankly, within a general hospital and a generalised service, we do not have those specialisms as yet.  We are bringing those in, they are to work for us for a few weeks and early next year we will get that data that we are all looking forward to.  I should just say that Deputy Southern, in his speech, referred to an intention to build a 200-bed hospital.  That is very much a preliminary estimate at this stage.  It has been included in the Jersey Care model, because we are all fixated on the hospital, it seems, in this Island and people are asking how large the hospital is to be.  On our preliminary consideration we have thought, yes, it could be 200 beds, but this is subject to further work to be undertaken by the health planner and health economist and if they tell us that the model means that we need more, then we will increase that number.  So, while I sympathise with the intention of what Deputy Southern is trying to do, I am not able to support it, because he is trying to proceed in quite the wrong fashion and too quickly.  I want to see our Jersey Care model delivered and the right, fair and sustainable solutions.  We need to do a great deal of work in 2020 to ensure this happens and, unfortunately, if we adopted Deputy Southern’s proposal and Amendment here, officers and practitioners will be distracted in having to develop that, which is essentially a stopgap solution.  The solution is complicated and it is expensive to deliver, but Deputy Southern’s proposal will not address the problem.  I just want to explain why that is, because my concerns over his Amendment fall into 4 areas.  Firstly, the use of the medical benefit; secondly, the people that his Amendment seeks to help; and thirdly, sustainability for the future; fourth and lastly - and crucially I think - combining those 3 areas together, the very negative effect it would have on implementing the Jersey Care model, which the whole of the health sector want to get behind.  So, if I can explain a little more about the use of the medical benefit, because the Amendment nobly wants to reduce the cost of consultations in general practice by increasing the value of the medical benefit paid for by the Health Insurance Fund.  But that medical benefit can only be paid when a doctor sees a patient face to face and this is a very significant problem with the Amendment, it focuses entirely on consultations with a doctor.  The patients have to turn up at their doctor and only the doctor can receive this medical benefit, as opposed to practice nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, physiotherapists; a number of team members, who could all work with G.P.s, to offer the primary care that is needed.  But the present model is that only doctors can receive this benefit and we think that needs to be changed and all those other health professionals need to be brought into the picture and into the new model.  Deputy Southern is creating an overdependence on G.P.s and that will stifle the development of our healthcare services, it will leave nurses and pharmacists working well below the competency of their role and they will not incentivise the full range of their skills.  So, it drives up cost, because it is a payment made to those at the highest level of qualification and it entrenches a financial and clinical model that is outdated.  It may have served well in the 1950s, I think, whenever the Health Insurance Fund was established and this scheme we have now established, but it is not really fit for purposes now.  I think Deputy Southern recognises that.  He has said, he told us just now, that when he wrote this Amendment it was with a view to it being amended.  So, what was he doing?  He has recognised that it is not the right model.  I want to talk about the people that Deputy Southern’s Amendment seeks to support.  Firstly, to reduce the cost of a consultation for people aged over 65, children under 5, pregnant women and recipients of income support.  Yes, Council of Ministers do not believe this is well targeted, because is it a good use of public funds to reduce fees for pensioners, irrespective of their income.  I think Deputy Southern ...

Deputy G.P. Southern:

Will the Minister give way?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

No, Deputy Southern will have a right of reply and I want to continue with my speech.  I think Deputy Southern referenced over 18,000 pensioners in this Island, many of them are earning well, or in receipt of good incomes and I believe would be willing, where appropriate, to pay fees for the medical services delivered to them.  Do public funds need to subsidise them?  On the other hand, not giving a subsidy to working age people, with long-term conditions, who need frequent appointments, but they are not on income support; under Deputy Southern’s scheme they would receive no support.  There is also a case for saying that all children should receive free medical care.  We will need to look at that.  Deputy Southern’s proposal suggests just children under 5.  We want to look, as well, at those living on a low income ...

Deputy G.P. Southern:

Sir, a point of order?

The Bailiff:

If it is a point of order, yes.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

The Minister is referring to the words in the report as if they were what will get enacted.  Surely, what we pass in this House is only the words contained in the Proposition, we all know that and the Proposition merely says: “Charge for certain groups” not this list, that is an example ...

The Bailiff:

So, what is it you are asking for me to rule upon?

Deputy G.P. Southern:

I am asking, is the Minister incorrect in suggesting that the words of the report are being passed today and not just the words of the Proposition, which is much more open?

The Bailiff:

Well, it seems to me that it is entirely correct that if the Assembly adopts your Amendment what they will be adopting is the Amendment in the terms that it is written, which extends its ambit to certain groups.  In the report, as I understand it, you, Deputy, have given examples of the way that might be and it does not seem to be unreasonable that the Minister seeks to address the examples that have been given.  But the meaning is, as you have said, it is the strict wording in the Amendment.  Does that assist?  Do you wish to continue, Minister?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, it is true Deputy Southern has set out in his report the sort of scheme that he believes is appropriate and he has criticised the Council of Ministers for saying that what he suggests is not well targeted, so that is clearly what he wants us, as Council of Ministers, to deliver.  If the Deputy is saying that he does not mind how the Council of Ministers come forward with a scheme, then why has he brought this Amendment at all?  Why does he not allow the work that he knows is being done to develop and to let the Council of Ministers bring forward their proposals?  But, clearly, he has an idea to create a subsidy for all pensioners and I think, if this Amendment was adopted and I tried to come back to this Assembly not having followed that then this Assembly would rightly criticise me.  That is the point I am making.  But, anyway, within the Deputy’s report, he proposes his assistance to income support recipients, but I think we have got to look beyond that, we have got to look, sure, at recipients of income support.  They are a key group, as identified by Deputy Southern, but there are also other groups that we could help and we have got to work out how.  Those, for example, who have not been here for 5 years and who are not eligible for income support; how can we give them support, if they are living on a low income?  Then I would like to address the sustainability of Deputy Southern’s proposals for the future, so the precise terms of the Amendment are to spend £900,000 in 2020.  The £900,000 is for the last 3 months of 2020, because Deputy Southern proposes that his changes come into effect in the last quarter.  So, the cost of a full year would be £3.6 million a year.  That would, of course, be drawn from the Health Insurance Fund, as the Amendment proposes.  But I do not believe the cost would simply stay there, because reducing the cost of some patients and increasing Government funding would change patient and practitioner behaviours.

[16:30]

It would, undoubtedly, increase because patients would see their G.P. more often.  We might think that is a good thing - when they need to see their G.P. they will be able to get there - but practices will also be incentivised to us a G.P. for straightforward visits and instead of using a practice nurse, or healthcare assistant, or a pharmacist to advise which part be charged through Deputy Southern’s proposals.  Those professions can do simple things such as monitoring weight, blood pressure tests, vaccinations; it does not need a G.P. to do those sorts of things.  Once we have started down the routes of using the Health Insurance Fund, I think it would be very difficult to make a U-turn.  So, under our Jersey Care model we might, next year, come up with a better way of doing things, but if we have started and we have planned to introduce this different model, very difficult to make that Uturn, because we would be over-reliant on G.P. services and possibly be driven up year by year.  While it would be possible initially to draw this money from the Health Insurance Fund, it will leech money from the fund, which is currently predicted to be exhausted in 2035 under current usage.  This is just at a time when we could use the Health Insurance Fund to support the transformation of health services that we know needs to be made, instead of entrenching it with the old model.  By the time it is exhausted, it would be well before 2035, we would nothing to show for it, we will have propped up an old system, which is not fit for the future and we will not have made the transformation that we desperately need.  So, we do need that sustainable model of healthcare and we can use the Health Insurance Fund and propose to use the Health Insurance Fund, to achieve something far more significant to transform and support general practice, who want to be partners in the delivery of a new model of care in the Island.  To conclude, I would just like to reiterate that while I accept that we need, as a priority, to address the financially vulnerable needs ... it is a priority.  It is work that C.O.M. is going to be doing next year and I am seriously concerned that Deputy Southern’s proposal is not the way to address this priority, because the mechanism he proposes is wrong and unsustainable, it commits millions to an old model and old ways of doing things and it jeopardises the new ways that all practitioners in the health sector want to be able to deliver change that the Island needs.  So, therefore, I cannot support this Amendment, well-intentioned as it is, the Council of Ministers cannot support this Amendment, or indeed amend it.  We ask the Assembly to assist us and understand the work that we want to do and we will be coming forward during the course of next year with proposals and I will be holding officers feet to the fire, my Scrutiny Panel will be holding my feet to the fire, I would like this Assembly to hold my feet to the fire, because this, we recognise, has to be done.  There is impetus to do it, there is the will to do it and there is much work already under way, so I would urge Members to reject this Amendment.

3.5.3Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

This is a very passionate and personal subject matter of mine for many reasons.  I am very cautious of me standing here as Vice-Chairman of the Health and Social Services Scrutiny Panel; as the Minister informed everybody yesterday, we will be doing a Scrutiny review on the future care model.  We, of course, since we established and since when we came in as new politicians, fresh from the doorsteps of hearing many problems from Islanders who voted for us to seek us to come into this Chamber to resolve them together - collaboratively - to find a better way forward for all Islanders.  There was a common theme and that was the health deliverable for all parts of our Island sector - and this is my personal political view - it is unsustainable now.  Interestingly, looking at jerseyhealthwatch.com, which is a really helpful website provided to the Island by the Jersey Consumer Council.  It breaks down the fees charged by G.P.s across the Island.  Now, I have to point out that - and I have tried to reach out to the Consumer Council - it is a selection of surgery prices, as of 1st September 2018, so I do hope it is updated regularly.  But it is curious, when you look at it, that the prices for the G.P.s - and it is something that often gets quoted in this Assembly when we get very passionate about the subject - but they range from prices for a consultation for an adult to see a G.P. from £41.50 to £33 to one surgery, to £43 to another surgery, to £42.50 another surgery, back down to £40 for another surgery.  The consultation fee, therefore, fluctuates depending upon which G.P. you visit.  Interestingly, on this website it shows that almost all of them give a consultation fee for children aged between 5 and 15.  One charges £15, one charges £20, one charges £5, one charges £10, one practice does not charge, at all.  I know, probably, since this was updated on the website, I think a few more practices have.  But, curiously, as you work along the rest of the pricing, that is now viewed for all of us to see, there are more breakdown costings.  Consultation for under 5 years old comes down every further £10, £10, zero pounds, so there is a further fee.  There are also charges for blood tests, used syringes, referral letters, flu jabs, pregnancy tests, the list goes on.  This is what we are looking at.  So, you pay your fee, or you pay your reduced fee, but then you pay another fee and another fee and now - and in my own personal health condition - I am now paying my G.P. practice my prescription as well.  So, this is where the Island is coming from and I know because, as we scrutinise the Department, as the Minister says, this is something we all share, we have all got to get to grips with this, currently.  I also add on to the situation that there are members of our society who cannot get to the G.P. depending on their illness, from my background working with brain tumour patients, or elderly, or even children with complicated health issues, suddenly finding that from one G.P. practice, where you go to the G.P., it is £41, but if you cannot get there it is £85.  So, if an elderly person cannot go and see a surgery where it would cost them £33, but they have to have a call out, it charges them £70.  Dare I go into the evenings, where one constituent phoned me up in a panic the other day.  She is a single parent with a job.  She is middle line.  She lives a good life.  Two children; one of them got very desperately ill.  She could not get hold of anybody to look after her other child and to pay the charge of calling a G.P. out to see that chid would have cost that parent, at that moment, £143.  So then had to make a decision: “How can I get to the hospital, because I know my child needs to be seen, but I cannot justify the £143?”  That is a decision that many people on this Island are making every day and it is not a class issue, it is not a pay issue, it is a reality issue.  If you look at our mental health report, it is very clear in our key findings and I know the Minister and his team again accepted most of our findings.  The reason why Talking Therapies, the service was stretched and overused, because there were delays in getting recruitment, getting people seen.  But if a person is in an issue where their mental health is deteriorating, they need to go back to their G.P. to see them again for further support, or further medication.  Of course, that has to be paid for.  We found that.  It is in our report and I urge everybody to review it.  Look at the report.  Over 380 Islanders told us what was really going on.  It is here.  It is in black and white.  Recommendation 17: “The Government should review the fees charged by the general practices, G.P.s, in relation to mental health.  It should explore, in close consultation with G.P.s, whether a different funding method could be used if a patient presents to a G.P. with a mental health problem, rather than physical problems.”  This is an issue that is happening now and it is great that we have got the Listening Lounge.  About time.  But how long has it taken to have that?  How long are we going to wait until, finally, Orchard House is fit for purpose?  Because it is not fit for purpose, but now we have a plan.  We are waiting for the Minister for Planning to work with his officers, so we can get that place fit for purpose, because, if it is not fit for purpose those people are not being cared for, they come back into society, they need to go back to their G.P. to get medication to get back referred to Talking Therapies.  My old grandmother, who is sadly not with us, fell ill one night.  We had to wait 12 minutes for an ambulance.  I then had to wait another 12 minutes to get her to the hospital.  I could not get hold of the on-call G.P.  I would have paid £143, but I could not reach him.  I am not the only one caring for an elderly relative on this Island.  These are the decisions that Islanders are making now.  I agree wholeheartedly with the Minister for Health and Social Services when he talks about the work that urgently needs doing.  He knows, because look at all the many questions, oral and written, I have asked since standing in this seat.  He is right, I will hold him to the fire, but also I want to work constructively, as we have proven as a Panel with our mental health report.  I am sorry, but this is a subject I am very passionate about, because this is Islanders’ lives.  I will end on this note.  The main thing that we did at the Jersey Brain Tumour charity, when people walk through their door of ages, creeds or financial situations, suddenly if you get given an illness out of the blue, benign or cancerous or whatever, suddenly you are paying for things that you never have thought to have paid for.  Some people have insurance and great.  Some people have savings and great.  Some people do not.  Suddenly, you are paying for trips and flights and taxis and services and help and medication.  More visits to G.P.s, more scans, more visits, more ... and it just builds up.  The first thing we would do to anybody who walked through our office: “What do you need?”  “We need some financial help.”  We would do that.  That is why we have over 400 charities on this Island.  We recognise that gap.  So, if we are going to move forward we have to recognise where this is coming from. Deputy Southern, I want to hear his summing up and just some of the tidying up of the detail.  But, equally, I am aware for us as a Scrutiny Panel, we do need to scrutinise this.  We do need to look at it.  But something needs to happen.  Something needs to happen.  It cannot wait to the next election.  I do not want to go back out to the doorstep and have the same conversations.  That is if I make it.  Because, who knows what can happen to any of us.  I might have to go home tonight and deal with my daughter and suddenly I have to say ... and it is payday for me and I am overdrawn, but I will have to draw that £143 if Beatrice needs to have a G.P. tonight.  Because I do not want to go to the hospital tonight and take up a very busy hospital.  I spent 24 hours and a Sunday, when I did my leg in.  It is like Piccadilly Circus in there on Sunday.  You cannot see a G.P. on a Sunday.  You have to go to the hospital.  This is why this issue needs to be resolved.  We have to, as an Assembly, make this a priority.  Build the hospital, sort the hospital, get our healthcare model right, because all the time people are looking to us to solve one of the biggest problems of this Island.  Yes, it taps into everything; population, migration.  But come on, everybody.  This is people’s health.  People are making choices on their health right now.  It is not just a class issue, it is every one of us.  So, let us have a debate on this.  I want to hear people talking about this.  That is what I wanted to say.

3.5.4Deputy M. Tadier:

I was slightly disappointed - and I know it is largely to do with the time of the day, rather than necessarily the subject matter, or the mover of the Proposition - to see that people were leaving the Assembly.  It is true that, perhaps, this Proposition is not one of those subjects, which is as emotive, or motivating, as when we talk about land and things that cost a lot of money, like tangible property, buildings or Parish boundaries or youth clubs, which seem to get the juices flowing.  But have no doubt, it is probably one of the biggest issues out there, along with housing, that people have concerns on the doorstep.  When I was out delivering our leaflets on Saturday I went to a ... this is partly where I was talking about it yesterday, I think I got slightly confused halfway through, I was talking about that.  Partly to do with the houses.  It was a particular park, which is not far from Deputy Truscott’s patch.

[16:45]

Where some families had bought these houses, probably a long time ago, when they were genuinely affordable and they are not small houses by any means anymore and they would fetch a pretty penny, I am sure, if they were sold.  I knocked on one of these doors.  There was a slightly elderly couple.  They were fit, but they were probably around 70, shall we say.  The gentlemen had, quite clearly, just had an operation, of some kind, but seemed to be well and recovering well.  When I gave him a list of all the Amendments that we were putting in as a Party, the one that immediately stuck out to them was the one about the affordable G.P. visits, because they understood, certainly, that probably because of their age, but also the fact that they are used to living in Jersey, no doubt they have family here, is that G.P. visits are one of the big issues, the affordability factor.  It is OK talking about pie in the sky and what we might have in the future, a future service delivery model, but we need to perceive things, as Deputy Pamplin has really said, on what we have now.  The G.P. model that we have, our system of healthcare, is that that is the first line of defence  That is the first port of call.  If you are not feeling well, or you just need a general check-up, you go and see your G.P. and then, if there are any other issues that need to be referred, they get referred on from there.  Just to lift spirits a little bit.  Let us play a relevant game, which I said is related to this.  It is called “Guess the manifesto”.  So, I am just going to read selectively from perhaps 4, or so, manifestos.  Let us see if we can guess the individual.  If you think it is you, put your hand up, but not until I have finished, because we do not want to spoil the exercise for everybody.  The first one is: “I have held weekly surgeries and made myself available to assist parishioners at all times.  I am a regular questioner, holding Ministers to account for their decisions.  I contribute regularly to debates, in particular to speak out for those affected by poverty, or vulnerability.  My vision: poverty eradicated in Jersey, all children to be safe, a fair taxation system all contributing according to their means and lastly a health service focused on prevention and early intervention.”  Do we have any takers for that one?

The Bailiff:

That was just one manifesto, was it?

Deputy M. Tadier:

That is just one, Sir.  It is not the entirety of the manifesto and I saw the Deputy of St. Ouen go to put his light on and he is entirely correct.  It is him.

The Bailiff:

I assumed you would be referring to manifestos as a rhetorical tool.  I am not sure it is in accordance with the dignity of the Assembly to make a game, no matter how serious the game might be.  By all means refer to manifestos as a rhetorical tool.

Deputy M. Tadier:

I will refer to the manifestos; whether, or not, we play a game, I will take your guidance on that.  Let us not play the game anymore, but I am going to be reading from a few more manifestos, because it is important what people say.  I did think that was a socialist manifesto when I first read it just now and it would have been quite happily a member of our Party making that, but it is the Minister for Health and Social Services, which is good.  We have got more socialists in Government than we thought.  The next one is: “I am concerned about the new hospital location.”  But that is another matter.  “G.P. fees mean that some families avoid seeking medical assistance until there is an emergency.”  That is pretty much the bit I will quote there and that was made by the Deputy in front of me, the Deputy of St. John.  He recognises that point very much.  “Accessibility of primary healthcare for all, with special attention to the most at risk members of our society; children, pensioners, the disabled and people with mental health issues.”  That one goes to our newest member, Deputy Gardiner.  This one I particularly like, because I am hoping he might speak in the debate, because I was at his hustings, at least one of them and I was really interested in this great idea, which I thought was progressive and another way of doing things, which could work with this: “I am greatly in favour of a drop-in medical centre, with nominal charge, to alleviate the pressure on the Emergency Department at the hospital.  So many residents find it impossible to afford the exorbitant costs of visiting a G.P.”  What a damning - but correct - statement from Deputy Ahier in front of me, as well.  The reason I read that is because it chimes with so many things that we all know to be true and some of the things that have been said already.  People are going to Accident and Emergency, because they cannot afford to see a G.P.  What is the response over recent years to that crisis, is that we say rather than making G.P. visits more affordable let us charge people for going to A. and E. (Accident and Emergency), because that is what is creeping in now?  If you go to A. and E. and there is a big queue, you can and you will pay to see a doctor.  Certainly, if it is after hours.  I have been in that situation, where I had to go down there with a family member, an inopportune moment after hours and that was exactly what happens.  You pay to see the G.P.  It is almost like, by stealth, Deputy Ahier’s model is happening, but it is certainly not in a proper costed, or collective, way. The other reason I raise it is because Deputy Southern cannot do right for doing wrong.  Quite clearly and the Minister again has started with misinformation - be very careful what I say there; it is misinformation - because it is not true.  He says that Deputy Southern is being too restrictive here.  Clearly, like any individual, who cites in their manifesto that they want to target certain groups, Deputy Southern has simply put some suggestions in his report as to who those groups might be.  It is the same groups which other people, who have been successful in their election, in this Assembly, have said; children.  Of course you target children, because there is a consistency.  Some G.P.s already recognise the fact that children should not be excluded from going to see them on grounds of costs and it is often very difficult, so some of them do adjust their prices accordingly.  But that is not good enough.  We should not be relying on the discretion of certain doctors to give these benefits.  That is the job of Government.  That is the job of the Minister and this Assembly, so quite rightly Deputy Southern has got his own list; the children, the elderly, pregnant women ties entirely within what we are trying to do with the 1,001 Days, putting children first.  So, I really do not understand why there is such resistance to this.  I would hope that other people speak on this important issue.  I do not think we can simply have a jam tomorrow situation.  The other thing is that if any new changes do come and we have a fundamental shake up in the way our health system works, it is going to take years to come through.  If and when that does happen, that does not mean that Deputy Southern’s model that he is putting forward cannot be flexible, because this is an interim solution at the very least to make sure that, between now and whenever this new system is put in, that people are catered for.  I do not understand how this is going to be inflationary, but if it does lead to an increase in demand, i.e. more people are coming out, then that has got to be a positive.  It means that there are currently people who cannot see the doctor.  There is a latent demand there.  If there is not a latent demand, it does not matter, because it means that people will be going to see the doctor and affording it more.  But if there are people who currently are not seeing the doctor, who will be seeing the doctor, then that has got to be important.  Let me finish -  I know it has been a long day - with a very short personal anecdote.  It is one that I may have told some Members previously, is that I know that there are people and there have been people who have avoided going to see a doctor at least partially on cost grounds, who have then died as a result from an illness, which if it had been picked up at the correct time would have been easily curable.  I had a family friend, my parents’ friend who ... and nobody particularly likes going to see a doctor anyway, so we have got this strange disincentive.  It is perverse.  If dentists were free ... I would not go and see a dentist just for the sake of it, because I am putting it off already, so I think Members get my point.  But this individual did not go to see a doctor and it was partly due to cost and probably because he was of that generation where you just grin and bear it.  Only a year and a half later he died, because of a skin cancer related illness, which should have been picked up and he was taken from us and his family far too young.  If we can help people in that situation and change the idea that you should go and see a doctor as and when you need to, prevention as well as cure, then I think we should all support this.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Point of clarification please of the last speaker.  May I ask the Deputy to clarify that he was not required to make a payment when he attended at A. and E., but he was given an option to see a G.P. at a charge, or wait for the A. and E. staff?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I cannot exactly recall, but I recall that it felt as if we did not have a choice, because the person I was with was in excruciating pain and had she needed to wait probably 2 hours, I do not think there was any real choice in that scenario.  But technically, possibly.

3.5.5Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

I have got to say, this actual Amendment makes me angry, because the proposer and his Party are asking us to railroad months of collaborative work with the G.P.s and health professionals for a few quick political point scores.  No shame at all.  The Deputy knows that this work with the G.P.s is happening.  He knows that we are looking at trying to get better outcomes and do things.  Now, the previous debates that we just had, we had Senator Mézec stand up and say: “I do not want this money.  I do not need this money and I do not want to put it towards what it is for, because it will be using up the time and energy of my Department doing something that I do not think is the best outcome.”  This is doing exactly the same thing.  It is asking the Health Department to introduce something that is going to take time, energy and work, which will stop the actual work that we are trying to do to create a better primary care healthcare system with better outcomes.  The Party are well aware of this.  On 7th November, in a Scrutiny hearing, Deputy Alves asked the Minister for Health and Social Services: “G.P.s are in private practice and, as such, are free to set their fees as they consider appropriate. If money is transferred from H.C.S. to the G.P.s delivering the service, what safeguards will be put in place to control this, once G.P.s have an increased demand placed upon them?” and the Minister for Health and Social Services rightly said: “We would have to enter into contracts.”  If we pass this Amendment right now and we say: “Let us do this”, then the Health Department are going to have to go and work with the G.P.s to set up contracts and ensure that the prices are set in the way that is being asked within this Amendment.  Which means that now we have contracts for G.P.s and while we are doing that, we are going to start having to also negotiate about how we are going to be doing our health service in a better and more outcome driven way, delivering a far better service and getting rid of this old system that we know does not work.  This Amendment tries to bolster a system that we do not want to continue doing.  It is an old system.  So why do it?  I think it is absolutely wrong to be asking the Assembly to try and stop the work that is happening.  I think that we should trust in the fact that the work is happening.  We have never had such collaboration with G.P.s and health professionals as we have right now, in the work that the Minister for Health and Social Services and the Department is doing.  It is going forward and it is going to happen.  But this will stop that work.  It will waste time and energy trying to bolster a system that is not fit for purpose anymore and, therefore, I implore this Assembly to not give in to political point scoring and stay the course.

3.5.6Deputy J.H. Young:

I know very little about the Health Insurance Fund and I shall be supporting the Minister for Health and Social Services in the position.  Not because I do not share the passion and the objectives of the proposers of the Amendment and the sincerity of other Members.  All those things I absolutely share.  But it is because I recognise that we are facing real structural problems in organisational issues on this Island about how we run our health services.  I know that, because I had the pleasure of working within the health service for 3 years in Jersey myself as a senior hospital manager and I saw, I listened to all my colleagues, doctors and everybody saying the structure in Jersey is wrong.  The separation between secondary healthcare and primary healthcare is a massive problem, there is a real disconnect.  What we can see is the dynamics of health are quite clear, that the demand for healthcare services are ever-growing and that new drugs, new equipment, medical practice changes, new specialism, all of which drives the costs and makes the thing much more expensive and puts that pressure on the system to the public to pay for it.

[17:00]

But, of course, we have a low taxation system and this Assembly has in the past ducked looking at the fundamentals of financing a health service.  At some point I think that will have to be faced.  Of course, public expectations have massively changed.  People now expect, as they see new treatments, new interventions possible, that my generation and previous could only even dream of, are now possible.  So, when I joined that up, that experience, I had to work with G.P.s who were working through a completely different system.  They are funded by the Minister for Social Security, they have been, for many years, through this health fund.  Any time I visit my G.P., up until very recently ... and I really praise the Minister for Health and Social Services here, because for the first time I can remember we have got a real process going to try and tackle these reforms.  Because, previously, my G.P. used to spend probably at least half the appointment telling me how troublesome and unhappy they were with the relationships between the H.O.S. (Hospital Operating System) secondary healthcare system and the G.P.s and how not a day went by without numerous crises and disasters and the whole thing was unstable.  Of course, I was very keen.  One of the things they told me about G.P.s - my G.P. told me - is that the costs of running G.P. practices at the moment are pretty high in Jersey, because they are driven high by high premises costs and high employees’ costs.  He told me that, for example, out of every 5 days he works, he is working 2 days to pay the rent and the overheads.  So, it is a struggle and, therefore, they are saying to me they cannot get new partners to come in anymore.  Once upon a time, they could take their pick of new partners coming to work as a G.P.; now it is very difficult.  Some of those G.P.s, of course, the more mature ones, have had to pay big ingoings that they have got loans on that they have got to pay off.  If you compare that to alternative models, whereby government directly employs G.P.s and we go into a kind of a National Health System, there is obviously a very major difference.  So, achieving a transition from an old system into a new one is not easy, it is massively difficult.  I am so enthused that the Minister for Health and Social Services and the health team, that have been recruited, are now seriously tackling that and making inroads.  I think it is important we let that happen.  It may be that, at some point, there is going to be real money having to be put into that to make that work, to make these pilot systems turn into more ... there are some things that I hope we can do and I will flag this up constantly.  I think one thing we could think about doing is providing premises and infrastructure for some of those primary healthcare people, by making premises available.  I flag it up now, I certainly think that the former Les Quennevais School, when those premises become available, should be considered as one of the options as a base for healthcare workers, including G.P.s and others, to be able to serve an ageing community in that area, but there are other opportunities there.  But that is an example where, if Government took some of those costs off, we might be able to employ G.P.s, we might be able to reduce the costs, but all that is future.  I am totally behind the Minister for Health and Social Services and the Minister for Social Security, their colleagues and the team that I have been very impressed with.  We have got a first-class team of officers supporting that work and I am prepared to put my entire faith in it.  Therefore, I will not be supporting this Amendment and it is not because I do not care about healthcare, I put it in my own manifesto, I want to see those reforms, but it cannot be turned around overnight.  My fear is that if we make what we might call a kind of tinkering adjustment, we might mess up that work and confuse it and make it more difficult.  For that reason only, I think I am going to stick with the Government Plan.  I am sorry, it is the same thing again, jam tomorrow and maybe there will come a point where, if we have not got jam today, then maybe there is going to be a bit of a crisis.  But I am afraid it is all about the way we are trying to achieve a Plan which has got major change and it is going to take time, so I shall not be supporting the Amendment.

3.5.7Senator S.Y. Mézec:

For me, I have a basic point of principle here, which is that I think healthcare should be free at the point of need and it is as simple as that.  I do not think that any person, whether they are rich or poor, in a civilised society, should pay to get the healthcare they need when they are sick.  I do not think that is a particularly radical concept.  It may be if you live in America, but on this side of the pond that is not a radical concept.  When I look at healthcare systems in other jurisdictions and see them moving away from that system, I am absolutely horrified.  I think that it is wrong in a wealthy society that people are charged an arbitrary figure to pay to see a doctor.  Aside from being morally wrong, because of that principle I have about healthcare, I think it is not practical, because I think it puts people off going to get healthcare when they need it.  That ends up costing us more in the long run, whether that is the case of somebody who gets more ill, because they are not seeking the help at first when they need it and then ends up with some exacerbated illness that costs more to treat, or whether that is somebody who ends up in A. and E. where the public subsidy is greater than if they had gone to see their G.P. instead.  So, for me, that is a basic point of principle.  I think of 3 examples of incidents that I have witnessed to do with people going to see a doctor that helped shape my view on this.  One of those was, I think, it was either early last year, or perhaps the year before, when I was still the Deputy for St. Helier No. 2 where, just coincidentally, I had 2 people ring me up out of the blue, who had an issue to do with Social Security and the obvious thing they needed, having heard their situation, is that they needed a letter from their G.P. to sort something out.  One of these people who spoke to me said: “Yes, no problem, I will go and do that” and the other one said: “I do not really want to go and see my doctor, because I cannot afford it.”  It was the sort of thing that would require a face-to-face conversation, not just over the phone.  So, 2 people with an identical problem: one was able to get a solution to that problem quicker, because they happened to have the cash to go and see a doctor; the other person did not.  How can that be just?  It simply is not.  The other example was myself last year.  I had a minor problem with my ear and, thankfully, I am healthy in every other respect, but I needed to go see a doctor to get this sorted.  I thought: “No big deal, £40; I am lucky, I can afford that” it was no difficulty for me.  Then, just out of bad luck, it transpired that the problem was worse than I thought it was, which meant I had to go back for 2 subsequent appointments to see my doctor and so what I thought was £40 turned out to be £120.  Again, I am lucky, I could afford it; no problem.  But I could not help but think if I were somebody who was spending all of their money looking after their children, or had a low income, or any other thing like that, that would have been a real difficulty.  It was a problem with my ear that was causing me great aggravation in my day-to-day life and I think other people would simply have had to put up with it, or let things get worse until they got an awful infection, or started losing their hearing, or doing damage and ending up in hospital, anyway.  But the other example that sticks in my mind was a good friend of mine, who moved to the U.K. at the same time that I did for university and I went to visit one weekend and she happened to get ill.  It got so unbearable that she decided she absolutely had to go and see a doctor, so rung up the local health centre in her area.  They said: “No problem, come down as soon as you can and we will get someone to see you.”  I remember my friend, who was not on a very good income at all, crying her eyes out when she found out the appointment was free, because she had anticipated it was going to cost money, because that was what she was used to in the Jersey system, ended up getting given, on the spot, the medicine she needed and within a few hours started to get better.  That is a system that is much more moral and works better at dealing with people than a system where people get put off seeking that healthcare, because they have to pay for it.  There have been some strange points and I really wish people would think more deeply about this.  The Minister, in his response to Deputy Southern, asked the question: “Is it right to reduce fees for pensioners, irrespective of their income?”  Well, yes, it is.  I personally do not care if a rich person benefits from fully-subsidised free healthcare, because I want to be in a society where we come together as one community.  We all ought to benefit from the services.  I do not want to start charging rich families for the Fire and Rescue Service having to come and put out a fire at their house, because they happen to have more money.  You deal with these issues through tax and through progressive tax, people contribute that way according to their ability to pay and then can receive according to their need.  You can take out a whole load of bureaucracy that ends up making it cheaper to provide those services, rather than charging fees to people and dividing people based on their incomes, when there is a better way of doing things.  On the Jersey Care model, I am impressed by a reasonable amount of what I am reading in it and I can hear from other Members that there is a degree of excitement about it, because there is some really interesting stuff that is proposed in it.  Some of the transformation that is being suggested I think is exactly what a lot of people want.  It is not the case that there is a universal positivity about it.  I personally have had some conversations with healthcare workers, who are worried about what will happen as a result of it.  I do not know if that worry is legitimate, or not, at this point, but it will have to be dealt with at some point in this process.  So, to say it is wrong to take a step forward now, at this point, by making G.P. consultations cheaper for certain people, I cannot see how that is disruptive when surely it is a step in the right direction.  If it were a step in a completely different direction, or the wrong direction from the point of view of the patient, then, of course, I could understand it.  But it is not our aim at the end of this to have cheaper, or - I would say hopefully - free, primary healthcare for the people in Jersey, in which case this is a step in that direction and, on that basis, I hope it is worth supporting.  I will just very briefly address a point made by Deputy Wickenden.  I do not want to dwell on this for too long and I suspect, because there are quite a few more Amendments coming from Reform Jersey members in the next day, I hope this argument does not get made a lot, but he used the phrase “political point scoring”.  I listened to Deputy Southern’s speech and I listened to the tone of that speech and I think that that disparaging remark from Deputy Wickenden does not reflect the way in which Deputy Southern conducted himself when proposing that Amendment.  I hope that we are not going to lower the tone of this Government Plan debate, because I think it has been a very well-mannered debate up until this point.  There have been lots of Amendments, there have been lots of strong disagreements, but I think those disagreements have been carried out perfectly reasonably and fairly.  So, let us not make this a ridiculous idea that it is political point scoring.  It is Deputy Southern attempting to fulfil what was in his election manifesto.  I know that that is a somewhat old-fashioned idea, that a politician ought to try and achieve what they had in their election promises, but whether you agree, or disagree, with him, let us not impugn his motives, or anything like that, because he does not deserve that.  It is a perfectly decent Proposition.  In fact, it is more than a decent Proposition, it is an excellent Proposition, which I am delighted to be voting in support of, because of my interactions with my constituents on this Island, many of whom do not get the healthcare they need, because they are put off by the costs.  If we were a third world country that had poor infrastructure, that had a crumbling health service, that had been decimated by enforced privatisations paying back I.M.F. loans, or whatever, like some countries have, then I could understand an unwillingness to move in this direction.  But we are not, we are one of the wealthiest places in the world and we charge poor people, we charge pensioners, we charge pregnant women, to see a doctor.  In my view, that is completely wrong.  Deputy Southern has found a way of dealing with this, at least for a few years, without causing a problem in a budget anywhere.  We saw how difficult some of the earlier Amendments were, where Members were proposing things that were perfectly well and good, but could not demonstrate where the money was coming from, either in the short, or the long, term and then we reject on that basis, quite rightly.  Deputy Southern says, because this is a moment of transition, it is OK to spend this money, that currently exists, because we are going to be having that wider discussion anyway.

[17:15]

So, what that means is the people, who we represent, benefit from this change sooner rather than later.  If it is not to happen sooner, if it is to happen later, then I certainly hope that it will happen on these terms.  What I do not want to see is we get a couple of years down the line, we investigate what transformation there needs to be in the health service, most of which I am sure is going to be really good and we still end up in a situation where we have not dealt with the financing issues properly and people still end up put off going to see a doctor when they need it, because that costs us more in the long run and it is bad for the lives of those people, lives that ultimately we are here to try and improve.  So, I absolutely commend Deputy Southern for bringing this Amendment forward.  It is designed not to score any points, but to try and make the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our community just that little bit better.  I hope that even those Members, that will not vote for this, will certainly commend him for his intentions there, because they are the right intentions.  I have not been persuaded by the arguments against this.  I think the fact that we are in a point of transition means it is easier to do it, not harder to do it and I would be delighted, frankly, to look my constituents in the eye and say: “We work to try and make your life that bit easier by improving your access to primary healthcare”, so I will be supporting this Amendment wholeheartedly.

3.5.8Deputy G.J. Truscott:

I do commend Deputy Southern for bringing this, absolutely totally on focus with this one.  I will not be supporting it, sadly; I am on board with the Minister for Health and Social Services in what he is trying to achieve.  But, absolutely right and you are on target of what is needed here.  Without your health you have got nothing, at the end of the day.  If you are diagnosed, sadly, with something like terminal cancer, or something, all your material wealth is absolutely meaningless and it is absolutely about health.  Talking of which, we talk in this Assembly: prevention is better than cure.  I had a phone call from a parishioner the other day, I think Deputy Tadier may have put her on to me, she is on a lot of benefits and she is over 80, her health is deteriorating.  Five times she had to visit the doctor in one month: £200 and she really was struggling with that.  I could totally concur, but she has done everything right throughout her life, paid taxes and various other things, but there was no provision at all to help her out where it became difficult to heat the house, et cetera, so we do need to do something.  Without a shadow of a doubt, we need to do something.  It is about prevention is better than cure, because, in this case, if she had have delayed going to the doctor, the condition would have got worse, she would have ended up in hospital and that would have added to the costs.  So, it is a false economy in any way not to be able to assist people to get to the doctor.  P.82, my goodness, I have been in this Assembly now for 5 years.  When was it lodged?  Was it prior to that?  I think it was; 2012, absolutely.  It has been like walking through treacle.  I was involved with, I do not know how many meetings and I do not know how many hours of officer time that went into P.82 and that particular initiative never went anywhere.  It was absolutely going in circles.  But I am so pleased now that, finally, it has been picked up and it will be sent in the right direction and back on track; well, one does hope.  I look forward to the Minister for Health and Social Services bringing forward proposals in the new year, which will tackle the ability for people, who cannot afford to see the G.P., that it will bring in an Amendment, or whatever, a proposal, that will help these people.  I am just trying to think what else we could say.  Regarding hospital, it is about targeting.  Why would you pay for a wealthy couple’s child, if they can afford to see the doctor to have a private consultation, or whatever?  This has got to go to people that cannot afford it, it has got to be targeted, it is taxpayers’ money and it has got to be delivered in an efficient way.  I totally concur with the way things are going with the P.82 initiative in its new incarnation, insomuch as that you can deliver taxpayers’ money far more effectively, whether it is a specialist nurse, or pharmacies and that type of thing.  I think it is such a good idea.  But I do commend Deputy Southern, absolutely on the right track.  I am thinking exactly the way you are, but I want to see what the Government brings forward.  So, as I say, on that basis I will sit down. 

3.5.9Senator S.W. Pallett:

I am going to be relatively brief.  Deputy Pamplin brought up, I think, a lot of good points.  I think he mentioned getting to the G.P. being expensive, the cost differentials to go to the G.P., call-out services to the elderly, all the things I think that we all agree need to be dealt with.  He also brought up - which is part of the reason I am speaking - that there are issues around mental health services and he is quite right to mention, for example, some of the capacity within Jersey Talking Therapies, having to return to the G.P. if you have got issues.  There are alternatives available, but we have still got to develop them to some degree.  The Listening Lounge is often mentioned as a shining example of what we are doing and it has been a success, but we do need to review areas such as the Jersey Talking Therapies if we are really going to get to the heart of some of the issues around mental health in Jersey.  I do not want to go too much into mental health, because this is more about G.P.s, but I think he knows the passion I have and I very much appreciate the passion he has got for mental health services.  I know he is not here at the moment.  But he is making sure that he holds Government’s feet to the fire over what we are going to provide and improve in terms of mental health services.  I think we all need to ensure that we are going to deliver what we say we are going to deliver.  I can only say to him that all the things that we said we were going to do and we are going to do, are currently in play.  We are refurbishing La Chasse and we are making some minor improvements to Orchard House and we have got plans for Clinique Pinel, all of those things are things that are going to happen.  They are going to happen, because this Council of Ministers has committed a huge amount of investment, both in facilities and mental health services, in this Government Plan.  There needs to be other things.  I think we need to look at other alternatives, as well.  One of the things I am looking at at the moment, I will mention it just briefly, is I would like to see something like Men’s Sheds, for example, where guys that are isolated have somewhere to go.  I do not know what the alternative for women would be, but I am sure we can find something.  Maybe a women’s hairdresser, or something, I do not know, but something like that.  [Members: Oh!]  But I am not going to get into that.  But Deputy Southern’s Proposition talks around reduced charges for certain groups and he mentions those groups, the children, the elderly, pregnant women and, yes, they are groups that should be considered.  But, at present, I do not think we really know the numbers involved and potential cost and whether that universal coverage is affordable.  He mentions prevention and it has already been mentioned by Deputy Truscott as well, and that is vital.  I think people here know my passion, as well, around making sure that we shift a lot of our services, or how we look at our services, towards prevention and that is absolutely vital and all those reasons are put forward by the Deputy.  It is important that access for those in need is absolutely vital, but it needs to be affordable.  It is likely that and I know Senator Mézec talks about potentially making primary healthcare services free at point of contact, I think, as a long-term vision, it is something we really do have to consider.  But at the current time, it is likely to support many that do not face financial barriers and, while I support supporting vulnerable groups, I just want to ensure that it is the most in need that are targeted.  It has already been said, but I am going to say it again, I am not critical of Deputy Southern, nor his political colleagues for highlighting this issue, because it does need addressing, but it is important that we have considered the financial model for the Jersey Care model with health planners and the economists before we commit to any changes.  We are working closely with G.P.s and that work is crucial, but that work is not complete and I am sure G.P.s will want to know whether future funding is sustainable if changes such as these are introduced.  I think we all need to know that.  There may be a time, once we have done the planning work, and maybe Deputy Southern is not happy with what has become of that, that a Proposition such as this is needed, but I do not think it is needed at the current time.  I think it is a little bit too early.  I think he understands what we are trying to achieve and what he is trying to do, although I believe is laudable, I think it just comes too early.  So I cannot support this Proposition and, again, I would ask Members to support me in not supporting this Proposition.  But I do understand where he is coming from and I understand his frustrations, but I just think it is a little bit too early.

Senator L.J. Farnham:

As we approach 5.30 p.m., I was going to propose the adjournment at 5.30 p.m., but I wondered if the Chairman of P.P.C. would like to comment at this stage.

Deputy R. Labey:

I think we should finish this debate.  I do not think it is good practice to go overnight with debates and I think we should finish this debate.

The Bailiff:

Well, I think, unless there is a Proposition before the Assembly, I propose to call upon the next speaker and at the end of that, ask Members whether or not they wish to move the adjournment and we will take it on the normal vote at that time.

Senator S.W. Pallett:

Have we an indication of how many Members still want to speak?

The Bailiff:

I have 2 listed as wishing to speak, plus, of course, Deputy Southern will respond, but there could be others, who have not spoken, who will wish to indicate that.  It might be helpful if Members would signify with their lights if they are intending to speak.  There are another 4, so that will be 6 plus the ...

Senator L.J. Farnham:

I think it is now 5.28 p.m.  I would like to test the mood of the Assembly and propose the adjournment.

The Bailiff:

Very well, is that seconded?  [Seconded]  Do Members agree to adjourn?  The proposal is to adjourn until tomorrow morning; that has been seconded.  The appel is called for and we will take the vote on that.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.  You press pour if you wish to adjourn overnight until 9.30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

POUR: 25

 

CONTRE: 15

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

Could I just ask something, please?  You keep doing this at the last minute, when we are ready to go home.  Could somebody please say, tomorrow, are we going to be expected to stay, or are we going to wait until 5.30 p.m. and then we will make a decision, because I have things at home that I have to deal with.  If I have to stay here late, not a problem, I can organise things, but I cannot organise things at the 11th hour, or the 12th hour, because I cannot get through to everybody.  So, please tell me now if I am going to be here for 9.00 p.m., organise Meals on Wheel and I will stay, but I need to know.

The Bailiff:

I think that is a legitimate question to raise to the Assembly at this point, Connétable.  I will remind Members that, on the last occasion, a vote was taken and the decision of the Members at that time was to finish at 5.30 p.m. each evening, with it being accepted that if there were a few minutes necessary to conclude a debate, then Members might be minded to extend the time on Friday.  That is my recollection of the debate that took place on the last occasion and that was the vote.  But I indicated, at the time, it is open to Members to vote for something different, because this is a procedural operational matter, so if someone wants to place a Proposition before the Assembly, then I certainly would be open to that.  Yes?

Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Just to try and be helpful, we obviously cannot deal with this officially until we reconvene tomorrow, but could perhaps the Chairman of P.P.C. attempt to liaise with Members this evening, over email, to get an indication of what we may, or not, be able to do so when that Proposition comes, we do not end up wasting a lot of time on a Proposition that ends up losing and that we try to get the right Proposition on when we may continue, if we continue at all?

The Bailiff:

Members might take that to be a helpful interjection. 

Deputy R. Labey:

I accept that point; it is very difficult.  I have been trying to take soundings from Members all afternoon.  I do think, as regards to the perfectly sensible point from the Constable of St. Saviour, it would be my Proposition that we continue tomorrow evening, to try to achieve as much as we can and perhaps finish the debate if we can do that.  So I think we should be prepared to go on late tomorrow night.  That is my feeling.

[17:30]

I have respected the views of the Assembly in terms of the indicative 5.30 p.m. vote for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  That was made very clear to me and I respect that point of view from the Assembly, but I do think we should be prepared to continue into Friday evening.

The Bailiff:

Members will notice that we have, in fact, voted in favour of an adjournment now, so this discussion cannot really continue into this evening, because the States has voted to adjourn.  But it can certainly continue outside the 4 walls of the Assembly, if that is of assistance to Members and it can be dealt with as an issue of process first thing in the morning if that is of assistance.  But, at the moment, I think, having voted to adjourn, we must stand adjourned now until 9.30 a.m.

ADJOURNMENT

[17:31]

 

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