Hansard 19/06/2019

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

WEDNESDAY, 19th JUNE 2019

PUBLIC BUSINESS – resumption

1.Bus services: proposals to make free of charge (P.52/2019) - resumption

1.1Senator K.L. Moore:

1.1.1Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

1.1.2Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

1.1.3Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

1.1.4Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

1.1.5Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

1.1.6Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

1.1.7Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

1.1.8Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

1.1.9Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour:

1.1.10Senator S.C. Ferguson:

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

1.1.12Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

1.1.13Deputy R.J. Ward:

ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

2.Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier (Chairman, Privileges and Procedures Committee):

ADJOURNMENT


[9:30]

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

PUBLIC BUSINESS  resumption

1.Bus services: proposals to make free of charge (P.52/2019) - resumption

The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

We return to the debate on Deputy Ward's much-amended proposition, Bus services: proposals to make free of charge.  The proposition as it now stands has been circulated in hard copy to Members, so you all have it in front of you and I thought for the benefit of the public I would ask the Greffier to read it out.

The Deputy Greffier of the States:

The States are asked to decide whether they are of the opinion (a) to ensure that school bus services can be used free of charge by school students from the start of term in May 2020, without detriment to the general bus service by investigating, consulting upon and implementing a range a income-raising measures, which provide sufficient funding for a range of sustainable transport initiatives and incentives with particular reference to the school run, in conjunction with the introduction of free school buses; (b) to bring forward a plan to enable all bus services to be free of charge to people under the age of 18 and people in full-time education from the start of term in May 2020, without detriment to the general bus service, by investigating, consulting upon and implementing a range a income-raising measures, which provide sufficient funding for a range of sustainable transport initiatives and incentives in conjunction with the introduction of free bus travel for people under the age of 18 and people in full-time education; (c) to research, consult upon and identify funding for a sustainable transport strategy, including safe routes for walking and cycling and provision for those with impaired mobility by the end of 2019; and (d) to prepare a plan by the end of 2020 for working towards and then enabling free bus transport for everyone in Jersey subject to full funding being provided.

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

Excuse me, could I say thank you very much for this, because I was in the dark, utterly and completely yesterday.  I know I am old, but I was in the dark.  This is fantastic, so thank you very much for your hard work.  [Approbation]

The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you very much.  The first name from yesterday on the list is Senator Moore.

1.1Senator K.L. Moore:

It was timely that we called an end to the debate yesterday, because I had to go and do the school run.  That reminded me absolutely why this debate is so very important and I will be supporting part (a) of this proposition.  It is in order to make the school run easier, so that we can change the habits of many people around the Island.  We all see and acknowledge the difference that the lack of school makes to traffic in the morning as we all make our way to work and so it seems to me somewhat of a no-brainer to encourage that change of habit at the very beginning of life.  There was discussion yesterday about the lack of correspondence on this matter and I did, in fact, receive an email from one member of the public, who supported the proposition as a whole, I must say, but he also drew our attention to the fact that it is important and particularly important to change these habits at school age, because, if those habits are embedded at an early stage, they will last for life.  But in these times of a void in terms of vision and direction for the Island, I must applaud Deputy Ward for his efforts in bringing the matter of climate change to this Assembly and encouraging us to think about the environment, because it is absolutely critical that we do so.  That caused me to go back and reflect upon what we have all agreed to do, not only in recognising a climate change emergency, but also in the Common Strategic Policy, so protecting and valuing our environment was a core part of that policy.  There are also common themes specifically encouraging the Assembly to make decisions around and about those agreed themes.  Theme 5, for example: Improve transport infrastructure and links and theme one: Enable active lives.  These are really important for us to consider when we vote today, because they have guided us and we all agree upon them, so why not?  I have to say though that, in supporting part (a), absolutely part (c) is also a no-brainer, because we need to have a sustainable transport policy and to have a joined-up approach to how we are going to encourage people to travel differently around the Island and that again is the common theme number one of enabling active lives.  But where I fall down is in parts (b) and (d), simply because, at the moment, we do not have an adequate service to properly change people’s habits and encourage them to use alternatives.  I also do think that travelling actively is a really important alternative to shared transport and something that we should be encouraging and I do hope that the Government will be bringing in their Government Plan proposals to have another e-bike scheme, for example.  If they do not, I will certainly be lodging an amendment to do that.  I do agree with the Deputy of St. Martin that the buses on our roads, some of them are really quite concerning in terms of the emissions that they are subjecting us all to and the impact that has on our air quality, which is another point.  But it was when canvassing last year that the issue of bus service really became very clear in my mind.  I went to Langtry Gardens, where I enjoyed meeting many of the residents there and I said to one person: “So, it must be great having that bus stop outside Langtry Gardens and you have a fantastic route into town, have you not?”  They said: “Well, it is brilliant during the day, absolutely brilliant, but if we want to go to the cinema in the evening, we drive.”  Why, oh why, can we have a densely populated part of the Island, where people are in that position?  It was quite inconceivable to me and it made absolutely clear that, in order to properly encourage a change of behaviour, we need to ensure that the service provision is there first.  In moving these funding proposals as they are in the proposition, I think it is sadly a step too far at this moment in time.  It is always difficult being the first speaker first thing in the morning, on the second day.  That does bring me to think again about funding and yesterday we saw the Minister for Social Security withdrawing, for the time being, the familyfriendly proposals.  The Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel have put together an excellent, well-researched report, which questions why Social Security have brought forward these proposals, without properly funding them, which is what the Employment Forum told them to do.  So, it seems very difficult and uncomfortable to be considering funding a bus service being free to use for all, when we cannot afford to properly fund adequate parental leave for Islanders.  That, when we are putting children first, would come first.  So, I hope that Members will also consider voting for part (a) and part (c), but part (b) and part (d) will perhaps follow at a future date.

The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

It might help if I run through the list of people, who previously indicated they wish to speak; the list I have is Deputy Perchard, Deputy Martin, Deputy Southern, Deputy Young, Deputy Ash, the Constable of St. John and Deputy Morel.  That means Deputy Perchard is next.

[9:45]

1.1.1Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

In its pre-amended form, I concede that there were some issues with the original proposition.  I know that Members were particularly concerned around funding, although, to Deputy Ward’s credit, he did indicate one method by which this could be funded, although it might not have been the preferred method by Members, or perhaps not even the best method, but he did propose an idea for funding.  But I do appreciate that, before it was amended, it perhaps was less palatable.  I do, however, now feel in a much more secure place to be able to support this and that is due to mostly the wording of all parts, which I will briefly go over and hopefully also address some of the concerns that were raised yesterday around consultation, air pollution and safeguarding, all of which I believe are now covered by the amended version of the proposition.  Taking part (a) as an example, we clarified yesterday that parts (a) and (b) would mean that a bus service would be free for school students by the start of the May term.  Part (b) for me is a catch-all.  I do not understand why the Senator, who has just spoken, is supportive of (a) and not (b); for me that is contradictory, because (b) is a catch-all simply to include students, who might not come under the title of school students.  As we know, there is a difference between Highlands College students, because of the nature of the institution and, say, students doing their G.C.S.E.s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in another secondary school, which finishes at 16.  So I believe (b) is a catch-all and includes a small minority of additional students.  I think, if you are supporting (a), I think you are inherently supporting (b); I cannot understand the difference there, because it is just for people under the age of 18, in full-time education.  In terms of part (c), I have not heard anyone saying anything strongly against it, but just in case, I have no problem with the idea of researching and consulting and identifying funding for a sustainable transport strategy and, hopefully, the Assembly is in agreement with (c) in general; there is nothing offensive to worry about in there.  There were a couple of Members yesterday, who said: “Where is the consultation?  Where is the due process?”  I will tell you where it is, it is in the amended form of the proposition, which now gives us a year of part (a) and (b) where it says consulting upon.  That is a year from now; they have a year to consult upon this, according to the amended version of the proposition.  That is where your consultation is.  We, as an Assembly, adopted the amendment to the amendment, to include that consultation process.

Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

A point of order if I may, if the Member would give way?

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

I am not giving way.

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

A point of order then, I think the Member is misleading the Assembly; inadvertently misleading the Assembly.

The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I think you should let the Member make her arguments.  She is in the middle of her speech.

Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Regarding air pollution, it was proposed yesterday that: “Having lots and lots of buses on the road is bad for air pollution and, therefore, I will not be supporting parts of this proposition.”  That was made by a Member yesterday.  I do completely accept the fact that carbon-emitting buses are perhaps worse than a carbon-emitting car, except for the fact that if you have hundreds of carbon-emitting cars in gridlock, in standstill, for an hour in the morning, that has to be worse than much fewer buses moving a lot more quickly and frequently throughout the morning.  It has to be better to have 45 children on a bus than 45 cars stood still on a road.  In my district alone people are despairing; in St. Saviour District 3 even the lanes in my district are crammed in the morning.  If you go down Boulivot, Rue de la Retraite, Rue du Tapon, all of these roads are completely crammed with cars in the morning; so, in terms of encouraging cycling, or walking, no one is going to cycle, or walk, on the lanes, let alone the roads, during school hours.  Our Roads Committee are doing their absolutely best to combat numerous complaints they keep getting from these residents.  They cannot do anything about it, because people are choosing to drive on those lanes.  If you want children to walk, or cycle, you need to get the cars off the lanes first.  Free buses will incentivise cars coming off the road, which will in turn encourage walkers and cyclists.  If we do nothing, nothing is going to happen to improve things.  In terms of the safeguarding element, that was raised by a couple of Members, I completely and utterly agree that for primary school, in particular, you have to have supervised bus transport.  But, again, I do not know what led Members to believe that would not be included as an idea under part (c) where it says: Research, consult upon and identify funding for sustainable transport strategy, including safe routes for walking and cycling and provision for those with impaired ability by the end of 2019.  Research, for me, includes asking all of the right questions, not just the ones pertaining to the physical vehicle itself.  That includes asking questions about safeguarding and about protecting our children, while they are using the transport that we are encouraging.  There is absolutely no reason to not include those kinds of questions; in fact, I would be appalled if they did not include those kinds of questions in that kind of research process.  For me, safeguarding is included within the language of the proposition.  It is absolutely right for Members to mention it and it is absolutely right for us to point to anyone involved in this research and say: “Remember to ask about safeguarding but for me it is a no-brainer and I would absolutely assume that it would have been in there, anyway.  Part (d), I appreciate, is a little bit more contentious for people, but again, if we look at the wording compared to parts (a) and (b), which is a bit more definite, part (d) states: To prepare a plan by the end of 2020 for working towards and then enabling.  That is not implementation.  The word enabling means to allow something to happen; it does not mean that it will happen.  It is a plan, working towards enabling transport, subject to full funding.  I do not know how many more caveats you could put into that sentence.  I do not have a problem with passing that language in its current form, because I do not think it does tie people down to what I think people are thinking it does.  It does not force you to implement a thing.  So, all in all, if you support the idea of school students having free buses from May, while ensuring that the current bus service is not impacted and while ensuring that we are using appropriate income-raising measures, which is what it says in the wording, then I think part (a) is fine.  If you support part (a) I think you inherently support part (b) for the reasons I laid out before.  Part (c), I have not heard anyone talk actively against it and the mood of the Assembly strikes me as such that we are happy with the transport strategy to be developed and researched.  As I said, for part (d), the language, there are so many caveats in there; I do not see why anyone would object to preparing a plan to enable something to happen, subject to something else.  That is all I have to say.

The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Deputy Maçon, did you wish to ask Deputy Perchard to clarify anything in her remarks?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

She kind of covered it, so I will leave it there.

1.1.2Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

I could not agree less with the last speaker.  I think the amendments made this worse yesterday, because, from May, we are agreeing free bus services for children on the hoof, but we have added: Without the detriment to the other bus service, more money.  If someone else quotes free to me today, I want to know how much that free is going to cost the Island, because it is ridiculous.  The only thing that is feasible in here is (c).  Deputy Perchard, on Scrutiny and Senator Moore, stood up and said more free school buses will get people out of their cars, 45 kids out of cars, 45 on buses, does not address the 45 cars with parents travelling into work, who need to be there as well, they are still going to do the journey.  Absolutely not one bit of evidence and no money.  Bring me the money, find out where we are going to get this range of income-raising measures from, because I can assure the Assembly now, we have already seen some bare ballpark figures for the last Deputy Ward proposition, which I was one person who did support as well, 40 of us, but I did say the minute we start coming back here with revenue-raising measures to make it too hard for people to use a car.  We had one yesterday, was it, a few pence on a unit.  Straight away, the Constables were saying it cannot work.  Where else are we going, the fuel?  What are we going to do?  There are some eye-watering numbers coming down the line, but this is all free.  Absolutely mad.  Senator Mézec needs to be very careful when adjourned overnight when he quotes places like Luxembourg and Dunkirk to me, because I have a new tablet and it was lovely to research Luxembourg.  They have a concessionary fare at the moment, which brings in €30 million.  Their transport system, for 300,000 people, costs them €2.2 billion.  Their social security is employer-led, 40 per cent and 20 per cent by the employee.  Tax, well it is so complicated, but there would seem to be nobody was earning anything that did not pay tax.  We have a pretty generous £14,000, £15,000, before you start paying a penny.  These are all 18 year-olds, living at home, paying no rent to mum, taking in a nice few hundred quid a week, thank you very much, but make it free.  I mean, we have all probably had the elderly on the email saying: “Please do not make it, if you make it free, do not means-test me.”  I do not want to do that.  The Constable of St. Brelade said: “Can we not have a ring-fenced fund?”  Yes, we could; the environment taxes that we need to raise to possibly look at what (c) and (d) ask us to do, but you need a few million pounds in that pot and it is no good Deputy Tadier telling the Minister for the Environment: “Bring these forward and hold his ground, he has to take the other 48 with him.  I can assure you, as eggs is eggs, we all went running from the health charge, we all went running from a sewerage charge, call it whatever you want and we are where we are, millions of pounds down.  I really cannot believe that when people say free’, with absolutely no evidence and I think I know where Deputy Maçon was coming from, because Deputy Perchard said: “Oh, it is easy to do now, we are not doing it until May, we can consult and we can implement by May.”  So, we are going to consult up to 29th April are we and then bring it in 2 days and have the money, as well?  If this came from a Minister, Scrutiny would be all over it like a rash and say: “Where is the evidence, where is the money and how are you going to pay for this?  To bring it free, does it get people out of their cars?”  You all have your tablets; Google Luxembourg, they are saying it is not working.  The best one is Dunkirk; they have implemented in the town centre free.  Do you know what went up overnight?  Ridership 10 per cent it rose overnight, short journeys, one bus stop and 2 bus stops, which is exactly what we want for our youth, is it not?  We want them not walking, as I said yesterday; jumping on the bus at the bottom of Wellington Hill, bottom of Mont Millais.  This is absolutely populist green measures, without no money coming in.  I absolutely admire Deputy Ward, he has brought the carbon, he has us all to agree and he has not put one penny on it.  It will be for the Council to come back, it will be for the Minister for the Environment, it will be for the Minister for Infrastructure, to bring these charges.  You are all going to go: “Oh and when you do get the hundreds and hundreds of telephone calls and emails: “Do not do this.  This is not good for industry.  This is not good for tourism.”  Also, all tourists are free in Luxembourg, as well and they are not happy about that, or will be free, not happy about that.  How do we do that?  Another income stream going down the swanny for the Minister for Infrastructure.  It is all very well and good; I absolutely admire Deputy Ward, if he had have put a price, if he had done the research.  To me, the only thing you can support is (c), do the research, get a pot of money, get it going and we can all get together, we can all test our own mettle, Deputy Tadier, and we can all stand up to the plate and say: “Yes, we are going to raise fuel prices, we are going to tax people, who have private parking.  I do not know, but these are not pleasant measures.  But, have we done one?  Have we done one?  We had 10 pence, or was it 20 pence, on parking that was unpalatable.  Unpalatable; nobody stood by it, nobody voted against the Constable’s amendment, so they could vote with the Minister.  This is how much people really want to support green.  The minute you start talking money, they go running.  So, I am sorry, no proof, no evidence and absolutely no money.  Do the research, get the strategy and start raising this money and I will be the first to go free for everybody.  I do not care.  Prove it is right, but please bring the money in to pay for it.  I look forward to hearing from the Minister for Infrastructure, because, hopefully, his officers have been overnight able to add a cost to the not detrimental to the other bus service, this and this.  It is so unprepared.  As Deputy Maçon said yesterday and a great speech as well from Deputy Gardiner, policy on the hoof with no money, populist opinions and it sounds good, who does not love free and children?  It has to have a vote, has it not?  They all cost money. 

[10:00]

1.1.3Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

I wonder where the previous speaker was yesterday, when that speech would have been appropriate about the original proposition, or may have been appropriate.  However, we have amended the proposition, so that it is barely recognisable and we have done exactly what the right things are.  If this was a Minister’s proposition, Scrutiny would have taken it apart and would have amended it in the way that it has been amended.  It says straight away, no, not this action on its own, it must be part of something wider, the Sustainable Transport Plan.  There must be some element of funding in there, you have to consider how much this will cost and that is in there.  That is another part of the amendment.  Then the timescale, we had a very rapid timescale; that has been expanded.  It is still tough, but it is doable.  So, in terms of this particular proposition, the one that faces us now is vastly different to the one that faced us yesterday, because, quite rightly, this Chamber has done its duty and amended it so that it is doable.  What I was drawn to yesterday were 2 things: one, the proposed comments for the policy, which contains a lot of fine-sounding phrases about what we will do for our population.  I looked at that in terms of a parallel produced by LibertyBus, which is called Driving Change, Creating Impact, a social impact report for 2019 and I looked at the phrases in there and I thought, what if we can expand the bus service to get it right, it will not happen overnight, but to increase the availability of the bus service and the quality of what it does, then how much better it would be to use the social impact of LibertyBus to deliver many of those issues contained in our Common Strategic Plan.  For example, a social enterprise, it says here, like LibertyBus exists to have a positive social impact.  That sounds great, but what does it mean?  It then goes on to say:  “It is about helping people get to the shops, doctors’ surgeries, community centres, or other facilities that are important to them, so the ability to get about.  Physical and mental health, helping people to get out and about, stay active and remain independent; that is the point that Deputy Tadier was making yesterday, saying people get the bus to go out and do something, activity.  It is about helping people stay connected to those they care about, the family, avoid loneliness or isolation and have a good quality of life; again stuff that is contained in our objectives; in our aims.  Helping people to have an active role in their community, getting involved in things or volunteering; making sure that people, young people particularly, can access jobs, or take part in training and education.  Helping people to save money, I will look at the costs in a little while, or to make the money they have go further, and, finally, helping people play their part in protecting the environment, getting people out of their cars, reducing emissions and tackling climate change.  One can have that vision it says and we can do this, we are a can-do society and we can make this work.  It will not happen and I will say it again and I will probably say it again after that, it will not happen overnight, but this is the direction we should and must be going in.  Yes, there will be a cost and some hard decisions to make, of course there will, but this contains the requirement to consider those costs and to study them carefully and come up with a plan, joining things together.  It can be made to work.  I just want to illustrate how effective that might be by the story contained in the social impact report of Gabriel.  Gabriel is 16, he is a student and currently studying for his G.C.S.E.s.  He used the bus daily to get to school and to get out and about.  Living in St. Ouen, remember this, living out in St. Ouen in the sticks, a bus service is absolutely essential for a 16 year-old, a good bus service.  Same applies for St. Mary, or St. John.  Living in St. Ouen, Gabriel needs transport to get to school, to work and into town to meet friends.  He is the oldest child in the family and with both parents working the bus is often his only way to get around.  He describes the bus as vital for his day-to-day life: “The bus helps our whole family, not just me as an individual, as it frees up a huge amount of time that my parents would otherwise have to spend driving me and my brothers around the place.”  I think we have all, many of us, been through that stage, where we have to give our offspring a lift here, there and everywhere, at their beck and call; Southern taxis as we used to call it: “With my student card the bus is relatively cheap and there is a stop just down the road from where I live, with a service every hour.  It is the sort of quality that could be there for all.  The fact it is a scheduled service gives me peace of mind because, while my parents’ or mates’ plans might change, or they get held up, that cannot happen with the bus.  I am always sure the bus will arrive, so I will not be late for school or work.”  Gabriel first started using the bus for school when he was 11 years old, so he is familiar with the service.  But more recently, Gabriel has realised the independence he has gained, not just during the week, but for weekends and the holidays too.  He says: “On turning 16 I got a weekend after-school job and was given more freedom to visit friends and explore the Island.  By using the bus, I do not have to organise everything with my mum and I can go places I normally would not be able to access for lack of transport.”  That sort of liberation, LibertyBus, that liberty to travel for a 16 year-old is absolutely essential.  But, let us have a look at the impact on the family.  Gabriel’s family are not enormously well off, but they are comfortable.  That is not all the case, there are brothers and himself, in a relatively low-earning family how much does that cost to get people out and about: “Me and my brothers ferried around the place.”  I believe we are talking about 3 children, for school purposes paying £1.70 a trip, 2 a day, 5 days a week, comes to £17 per week, times 3 for 3 children and we are talking about over £50 a week for a family to get them to and from school.  That is what we are proposing we charge young people for going to school, the rate of £50 a week if you have 3 kids.  Add it up; we are talking about over £600 a year for each.  This is indeed the right way to move.  I would urge the Minister himself to reconsider his position, because of the changes that have happened absolutely in the right direction, dealing with funding, dealing with timing, dealing with the overall picture.  This is a goal we can achieve; it is a goal we ought to set off to achieve now.  I urge Members to support the amended proposition.

1.1.4Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

I am going to start by talking generally about sustainable transport and particularly the role of public transport within a sustainable and then go on to the proposition.  But I think Deputy Ward has done us a very big service in bringing this subject to the States, to enable us to have a decent policy debate about the desperate need to make progress, more progress, on the sustainable transport strategy, which was approved by this Assembly in 2010.  This morning I was discussing with my Assistant Minister, Deputy Guida, who said to me: “This document, when you look at the detail of it, is excellent and we should be just getting on and doing what is in that strategy.  Of course, I looked to see why it has not happened, I was not in the States in that time, I think it was approved several Ministers ago.  I looked to see what it said about resourcing in that plan and it said that funding was to come from vehicle emissions duty, £2 million.  Frankly, a woefully inadequate amount, but nonetheless that was the plan that year on year on year we would spend the £2 million and so now we would have had nearly £20 million to go into sustainable transport.  What happened?  No, well it was not like that, the first thing is that the V.E.D. (Vehicle Emissions Duty) tax did not generate as much as was hoped, although I do not know the exact figures, but I think it was well over £1 million and then it was decided, because the States bottled out of introducing hypothecated environmental taxes and said: “No, no, no, let us shut down the environment schemes and let us put this money into general taxation and that is where it has been; the V.E.D. sits there, has been absorbed in our general spending of tax.  That is typical of what happens, sign up to a policy, have a plan, wreck it by failing to implement it.  So, I am certainly not going to be party to any criticism of previous Ministers for Infrastructure, or D.f.I. (Department for Infrastructure), or whatever they were called, because they were presented with not a good situation to do this.  But, nonetheless, massive progress has been made on the public bus service and so certainly I know, I remember, when I was elected in 2011 previously and I was chair of the Environmental Scrutiny Panel and when the Connex contract was replaced by CT Plus; it was a brave move by the present Minister for Infrastructure, who was moved out of office and is now back in thankfully and, of course, it was a very controversial business, because the old Connex effectively followed the old JMT Bus model and it was run privately for the tourism industry.  But what happened?  The new operator called LibertyBus, branded LibertyBus, secured new buses, trained drivers with better standards, eliminated the bad practice, which perpetuated, increased the fare income, which was certainly diluted one might say, there was leakage and have grown ridership significantly.  So, I praise that work.  So, I am not party to any criticism of our bus company.  But, of course, why has that not fully worked in what was expected in 2010?  I think it is because we have had years of population growth with increased vehicles, uncontrolled growth and what it has done, the bus contract and its ridership has reduced, has ameliorated that impact of traffic growth if you like and, without that bus performance, things would have been much worse.  But there are many other objectives that are yet to be fulfilled and I just read, it is all about school bus service, of course that is the one and I will come to the proposition in detail in a minute, but the issue of school bus service is the one that gives me the most difficulty in terms of a decision today.  Because it was clearly intended that the school bus services would be improved and it says here; this is what was decided: The new contract for bus services to include network improvements, incentives for the operator to encourage growth, low-emission vehicles, smart card ticketing, integration between school and main service, ability to meet a target increase of 20 per cent in school pupil use and then a needs-based review of school travel patterns and so on.  None of that.  This is not a criticism.  I understand it is on the list and perhaps the Minister for Infrastructure, when he speaks, can tell us about the plans to improve and develop the school bus service.  But, again, it is an example where the objectives are there, they are approved by the States.  The struggle is funding, resourcing and implementation.

[10:15]

So, moving now to the proposal we have on the table and we have ended up with a real mishmash.  It has been good to have a discussion, but the easier bit to deal with is part (c), which was basically the Connétable’s amendment, enhancing the proposition and, as I see it, that is a no-brainer, because what that does, it emphasises, it picks up the principles of the Sustainable Transport Policy that is already agreed by the States and sets a timetable: has to be done by the end of 2019.  So, I cannot see that any Members should vote against that, unless of course you are not prepared to resource that work, because I do not believe that we have in place the resources within our new target operating model, the S.P.3, the Strategic Policy team, we do not have, I do not believe, sufficient resources in the sustainable transport team and I want to see those resources plugged in with the Environment, the Planning, the economic people, to do this work.  We do not have those people and I think that is needed.  Chief Executive, please address that if this is approved.  So, part (d) is easy for me, as well, because part (d) says: “Let us have a free bus service for everybody, a utopian situation.  We have no options?  We have no costings?  How do we know that spending what is probably getting on towards £10 Million that we are going to get the best benefit from that?  Could we not use that investment to dramatically increase the sustainable transport elsewhere?  Could the Island not have other methods?  Again, that is the sort of thing I have asked for time and again, I want those options on the table, I want costed, I want costs and benefits and I think if we got that, then there might be a case.  But, at the moment, on the hoof, I absolutely cannot see that we can approve part (d).  Because, at the moment, what we would be doing effectively, Members know that I am very strong about a whole range of environmental improvements, not just sustainable transport, that we need I believe a hypothecated environment fund, in which the income raised for environmental charges and taxes will go into and from which we would make allocations on the priorities.  That is part of the plan that we are working on and so, if you pass part (d) now, I think you would be ending any choice in reality on that.  You would be effectively putting a stop to that and the ability of us to make those rational choices and they will be made this year in the Government Plan.  Part (b) I think is similar for me, I hear the arguments that I heard from Senator Moore.  Part (b) suffers from the same problem for me.  But where I really struggle, struggle emotionally and logically, is part (a), because school buses - and we have again a mishmash, there’s several bits of this proposition in there - part (a) says free buses and then it says income-raising measures, which I agree with; then it says sustainable transport initiatives, which I agree with; and then it says: Look at the school run.  So, we are asked to take it as a package.  Now, I like those extra bits, but I struggle with that whether, or not, spending £700,000 on fares is the right thing to do.  Of course I look at Guernsey and Guernsey have a thing called a puffinpass, all their children at school, they get a free bus service.  But, of course, Guernsey is not particularly a great sustainable transport model to follow, because they have real traffic chaos and I know that from talking to, not their Environment Minister, but Deputy Brehaut.  So, I do not know that necessarily that is the right solution and also when I look at the accounts of HCT, which I will refer to in a minute, that is a non-profit-making route.  So, I think, on balance, and also where I am absolutely with the Deputy of St. Martin, those school buses are filthy buses and so just having the measure where we give priority to low fares, or no fares, without generating any money to enable the replacement of those vehicles and some smaller ones.  For example, it was said to me: “We need all primary school buses, we need new ones, we need small buses.”  At the moment, the school buses are overcrowded and there are lots of reasons why the children feel inhibited by going on them; we need to change some of those things.  Does it help by immediately saying: “We will pre-empt a decision, a review of how we can improve it, by free fares”?  On balance, I do not think it is.  So, I really regret having to go against it, because, like other Ministers, we met at Children’s Day at d’Auvergne School and the children told us that they wanted to see improvements in the bus service and they included in that about free fares.  That tells us where their hearts are and that is something we must absolutely try to deliver, but to me the route is Government Plan, hypothecated funding and real decent money being raised is those decisions this year.  I am going to put a flag up; if my colleagues do not go with this, I shall bring an amendment and I will make sure this Assembly has the option of putting decent money into this whole area of environmental work.  So, on balance, I put my faith in the Council of Ministers that we are going to do this and so, therefore, I am going to only vote for part (c) and I will vote against (a), (b) and (d).

1.1.5Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

Can I seek clarification please?  The Minister mentioned that primary school buses were included in this, but I believe Deputy Maçon, in his speech yesterday, stated that there were no primary school buses.  I do not know who can clarify this, whether there are buses that serve primary school children.  My understanding was that part (a) was only applied to secondary school children.  So, does it include primary school buses and, for example, buses that go to the Centre Point Nursery provision as well?

The Bailiff:

I do not think part (a) is confined to secondary school children myself but, Minister for Infrastructure, you have not spoken and you are not held to it for the time being, but will you clarify that when you come to speak?  I see you are down on the list to speak, so will you clarify that point later?  Thank you very much. 

1.1.6Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

Can I first start by congratulating Deputy Ward on bringing this proposition and can I say how refreshing it is to have someone trying to bring something positive to the Assembly, rather than the negativity that we so often see.  I think you know the sort of thing:  “No one has done this, that or the other and I demand to know when they are doing it”, et cetera.  There is nothing to stop anyone in this Assembly producing a bit of work that provides a solution and presenting it to the Assembly as Deputy Ward has.  Indeed, I await Deputy Morel’s transport policy with interest.  Having praised Deputy Ward, I am afraid I must now explain why I cannot back him.  I understand that Deputy Ward used to teach physics, it was never a subject that I excelled at, which was demonstrated in a school report that consisted of just one line: “He is wasting both my time and your money.”  But although not excelling at physics, I did however manage to master the basics of the English language and consequently the meaning of the word free.  It is a word that was bandied around yesterday with some vigour and it is a word that Deputy Martin touched on earlier.  Unless Deputy Ward has used his, no doubt considerable, scientific powers to conjure up a fleet of buses that run on fresh air and are driven by volunteers, there will be a cost.  That cost will be met either directly by the taxpayer, or by increasing the fares of regular bus users or car-park charges rising.  Whatever way is used, the bus services Deputy Ward wishes to see will not be free.  It is just a case of by who and how they are paid for.  This is, I am afraid, another example of spending that many no doubt well-meaning people in this Assembly appear to be more than happy to do, without a thought to those who are paying.  Also, let us not fool ourselves that it is going to change the way that the Island’s children are going to make their way to school.  Parents have various reasons why they drive their children to school; it may be they are on their way to work, it may be that they fear their child is going to be abducted, they have various reasons and I do not think that we suddenly will find all these parents who drive their children to school going: “Great, the buses are free, now little Johnny and Joanna can pop on them”, because it just will not happen.  Too often, people in here and politicians in general do not live in the real world.  In closing, this is merely another step to placing yet more of a burden on the Jersey taxpayer, a burden that is likely to become increasingly large over the forthcoming years and with the growth in populism and thus one we need to minimise wherever we can and for that reason I urge you to reject this proposition.

1.1.7Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

If I may, I would like to first pay very great tribulation to LibertyBus.  They run a fantastic bus service.  We have seen the figures, up 40 per cent passenger numbers, more regularity of buses

The Bailiff:

Sorry, Connétable, you mean tribute, not tribulation?

The Connétable of St. John:

Sorry, tribute, it is my sore back.  They do a fantastic job.  When I first glanced over the proposition, I thought: “Good, I am retiring soon, it must be elections coming up.”  I then read it more carefully and I thought: “No, what is this trying to achieve?”  Is it trying to achieve free buses, because students cannot afford them?  The answer is no.  I have never had a parishioner say to me: “These buses are ridiculously expensive.”  In fact, to the contrary, people have said to me, parishioners have said to me: “Oh, it is fantastic, because it is so much cheaper and it is so convenient.”  So, there is not a case, as far as I am aware, to provide a free bus service, because it cannot be afforded.  I know that those on income support, part of the income support calculation is transport and I shall, therefore, be asking the Minister for Social Security as to whether she will be revising the income support to those people who receive income support, which has a transport allowance in their calculations, should this be adopted.  Then I looked again and I thought, perhaps, following the big debate about the world emergency on carbon emissions and I thought, yes, is that what is trying to be addressed?  But then, having listened to what the Deputy of St. Martin said and having followed

Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier:

Point of order, I believe we are inquorate.

The Bailiff:

We are still inquorate.  We are now not inquorate.  I am grateful.

The Connétable of St. John:

So, I looked at the environmental side of it and I thought, hold on, is this being done to try to reduce carbon emissions?  Following on from what the Deputy of St. Martin said about trying to follow a bus up Mont Millais, or Wellington Road, an experience I have had, I find it difficult to justify increasing a service, which is going to put more of the most environmentally unfriendly vehicles on this Island on the road.  That is not going to resolve that problem.  I would like to address this subject of free.  Yesterday I had a free lunch, it was a delicious lunch in wonderful surroundings with excellent company and it did not cost me a penny.  But I think the Deputy of Trinity, who picked up the tab very kindly - and I am indebted to you - may have something to say that it was not free.  It will be my turn next time.  If I could just, for a moment, ask you for indulgence.  It is my way of explaining things.  Some months ago I finished work and was heading home early and I passed the supermarket and remembered that on the fridge door there was a very long list of groceries that we needed.  So I thought, I know, opportunity to score some brownie points, I will go into the supermarket and I will do the shopping.  Got the trolley, going down the aisle, the strawberries looked delicious, so 2 punnets of strawberries.

[10:30]

A little bit further down, melons on special offer, I will have one of those.  A hand of bananas, got to the end of the aisle, 3 litres of milk, oh and a pot of cream, I like that, to go with the strawberries.  Having done the shopping, I went through the checkout:  “Help, I had better have 3 plastic bags.”  So, it is all piled into the 3 plastic bags; I get home, big grin on my face, brownie points coming up, whoopee, I have done a good thing, until the wife starts to unpack them: “What did you get strawberries for, we have some in the fridge?  They will only go off.”  “Oh, sorry, dear.”  “And cream, nobody likes cream, you are the only one who has cream, you are getting fat, you are meant to be losing weight.  Plastic bags, what is wrong with the St. John recyclable bags?”  [Approbation]  So, the moral of that story is that you need to first of all make a list.  That was the list on the fridge door.  Some items I purchased, but most I did not.  We in this Assembly have produced a list.  Every single person in this Assembly agreed to that.  It was called the Common Strategic Policy and every single Member signed up to it.  We now move on to the next stage, having got your list on the fridge door, you decide what you need.  Do you need a leg of lamb, or could you save some money and get some lamb chops instead?  Are the items all needed?  What are the priorities?  You make a list, you collect your shopping bags, you collect your freezer bag for the freezer goods and you go shopping.  That is what we are doing at the moment.  It is called the Government Plan.  We are looking at what we need, where we can make alternatives, what savings we can make and what money we can spend.  That Government Plan will come before this Assembly, but the most important thing is if we did put 10 pence a litre sorry, I am thinking of my dairy days, if we did put 10 pence on to the charge of parking and raised a sum of money, what would we do with that money?  Would we use it for a free bus service for students, or would we use it for a teaching assistant, or additional carers?  How would we prioritise the use of that money?  While I praise the Deputy for bringing this, because it highlights an issue and it makes people aware that this is a possibility, should we decide to raise this money this is one area we could spend it on, but until we know what the other alternatives are, should we raise that money, we cannot make a decision, because we may say: “Let us use it for an additional medical procedure.  Let us use it for something more important” and so I urge Members to think not in isolation on one issue, but what we, as a Government, are elected to do and that is to provide sound, good decision-making based on evidence with all the information and I urge Members to reject this proposition.

The Bailiff:

This next comment of mine is clearly not aimed at the Connétable of St. John, because nobody else has yet spoken about the recyclable bags of the Parish of St. John, but can I remind Members of Standing Order 104, paragraph 2(a): “A Member of the States must not unduly repeat his, or her, arguments, or the arguments of others.”  I say that in the context we have had I think 15 speakers so far and there are another 8 speakers yet to come and the purpose of the Standing Order is to ensure that although, of course, everyone recognises that Members want to be able to get on to the public record what they think about particular issues and this is clearly an important issue - nonetheless the purpose of the Standing Order is to ensure that the debate proceeds fairly rigorously.  It is impossible from the Chair to intervene, other than to point out that that is what the Standing Order says, so I draw it to Members’ attention for your consideration.  .

1.1.8Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

When choosing to speak in a debate and hopefully not repeating those of others, I often find the most difficult part of knowing what I am going to say is knowing where to start, so it is with some gratitude that I received a gift from the east, in the form of Deputy Ash’s intervention regarding my transport policy.  He should be more careful, because when someone is going to stand up, essentially, to make a speech that supports the Government to then start his speech by criticising that person is a danger, so I will now change slightly what I was going to say, in order to make what I think is an important observation.  That is, when a Government is failing to deliver policies that the people want other people to stand up and fill that vacuum by offering their own and that is exactly what Deputy Ward has done.  He has stood to fill the vacuum of environmental policies and in this case transport policies that this Government and other Governments have failed to deliver.  If the Deputy wants my transport policy, I will give it to him.  I will have it on his desk in the morning, because I have a clear idea of what I would love to see in a transport policy.  The problem is that it would be evidence-free, as the Constable of St. John so rightly is concerned about.  If I were to deliver a transport policy tomorrow morning it would be just my opinions, based on some flimsy evidence, without a full understanding of the funding implications, or the choice implications, the knock-on effects that would have on other policies.  That is why I have not delivered my own transport policy, because I believe it is the responsibility of Government to do such things.  I believe the reason Deputy Ash is an Assistant Minister is because we charge him with the responsibility of delivering aspects of Treasury policy.  We ask Deputy Lewis and we charge him with delivering some elements of his Sustainable Transport Policy and so on.  It is not my job to deliver those things, but when they are not delivered I, like Deputy Ward, may choose to step into that vacuum and suggest our own and I will do so, if I feel that is appropriate.  In the case of the proposition before us, the much-amended proposition before us, it is interesting.  Many people have said to me: “Oh, no one changes their mind in a debate.  Why do we sit there just talking and talking?  No one changes their mind.”  I can tell you on this, I have very much changed my mind.  I walked in yesterday morning believing that I would vote for free transport for school students and as we edge ever nearer to the vote, I do not believe I will be voting for that.  The reason is because when you really look at what we are trying to achieve, the question is what is it we want?  We want to reduce use of the motor car in Jersey.  Will free buses for school children deliver that?  We do not know and that is a very important matter.  Free buses for children is a nice policy.  It is a tough one to say no to, but there is an issue of will it take walkers and cyclists off the roads rather than drivers?  My daughter has the privilege of attending Jersey College for Girls and she gets the bus there 99 per cent of the time, but there are the odd mornings when I do have to drive her there instead, which from the west is not easy and so I see the traffic problems that are created in St. Saviour and I really do appreciate them.  But knowing that the cost, when my daughter does get the bus is £1.10 at most if she has not filled her card, it is cheaper if she fills that card, but I hand out the £1.10 in cash from time-to-time, you realise that at the end of the day those parents who consistently, day-after-day, deliver their children to the door of Jersey College for Girls, Victoria College, De La Salle or Beaulieu, which are clearly a cluster of schools in one area, are not doing that because they do not want to pay £1.10.  Removing that £1.10 charge, or 80 pence when they use a card, is not going to suddenly make them think: “Yes, I will stick my kid on a bus.”  They can all pretty much afford to pay for their kids to take the bus.  They are putting their kids in their cars for completely different reasons and we can think as to what those reasons are, but I doubt that making the bus service free will affect their decision making at all, so the problem of traffic in St. Saviour will remain, I believe, at least in that area, if we have free bus services.  I appreciate that in other schools that might not be the case, but I do question whether free bus services will remove kids off the road from Haute Vallée, from cars from Haute Vallée and from Grainville, as well.  It is more likely, I think, to probably put them onto taking one, or 2, stops on the bus, instead of walking.  I think that is going to be the most likely effect.  The truth is that, unfortunately, while we have a better bus service today, a rise in bus ridership does not mean a fall in car miles driven and that I think is what could happen.  We could end up making a free service, we might get more children on that service, but it will not necessarily affect the number of miles driven in the cars.  It will perhaps affect the number of metres walked by those children, or cycled by those kids, more so.  It is not the same.  Providing a free bus service and reducing the number of cars in the Island are not the same thing.  A Sustainable Transport Policy, that is implemented appropriately, that does have the funding given to it and successive Governments that have failed to provide that funding and we need to get to the bottom of that and I thank Deputy Ward for his proposition about climate change, because it gives us the impetus, the motivation and the stick to beat the Government with to say: “You have got to provide funding for sustainable transport measures”, but having been sitting on the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel, having spoken to Ministers and officers about their reaction to Deputy Ward’s climate change proposition, I truly believe that they are working to find out how best to deliver for that proposition, for that decision by the States, but it does take some time to do that.  It is not back of the fag packet type stuff.  It is important that to deliver the climate change proposition it is done in a managed and appropriately-funded manner.  It does mean policy from across departments.  People do need to speak together.  I worry that the Department for Infrastructure is not set up properly to work with the Department for the Environment, but that is a challenge for the Ministers there to overcome.  By just stepping in, 2 months after the climate change proposition and saying: “In order to fulfil that climate change proposition, I am going to say we need free buses” is not giving the Government the chance it deserves and needs, in order to provide the correct reaction to that climate change proposition.  It is not, therefore, in my view appropriate at all to now basically create a tactic.  It is like me stepping up and saying: “Right, the Government should fund photovoltaics for houses if we want to deal with the energy problem, if we want to have greater sustainable energy in Jersey.”  That might not be the answer.  It might be what I think is right, but it might not be the answer.  Wind energy, pulling more of the renewable energy from France, La Rance barrage, might be the quickest, easiest and better way to create sustainable energy for Jersey, but me stepping in and saying: “This is the way to do it, photovoltaics, let us give everyone free photovoltaics” is just my opinion and it is not evidence-based.  I do not want to repeat too much.  I will quickly run through the reasons why I am concerned that a fully-funded States bus service, either for school children, or for the whole population, will not deliver significant reductions in the number of cars on our roads every day.  It could, in fact it probably would, discourage other sustainable forms of transport.  I do believe that when buses are free we are likely to take people off the streets in terms of walking and cycling, rather than cars.  There is no question that to provide a free bus service will reduce funding for other forms of sustainable transport measures, as part (c) of this proposition now clearly shows.  There is a transport mix, so to speak and free buses is just one way of doing that.  I think it is really important to understand and I do not think this has been said, so at least one part of my speech is not repetition.  Once funded, I guarantee you, whether it is school bus services, or free for everybody, within a few years that funding will be reduced, because as Governments always are, they are always looking to make efficiencies and this will be a sitting duck for efficiencies.

[10:45]

£10 million today will become £9.5 million next year and £9 million the year after and so on and so forth.  The funding for the service will, I am positive, over time become reduced, making that bus service, whether it is just for the school children, or for the whole Island, worse and worse.  I think that is a really important thing to understand.  Because we currently, as users, pay something for our bus fare, it does give the operator and the Government the flexibility to try innovation and try different ways of operating the bus service, bringing in new buses, things like this.  It does that.  You remove that extra little bit that the user provides and we lose the ability to innovate.  We know that Governments as a whole, across the world, are not very good at innovation in general.  I am really worried that if we were to fund bus services, we would lose that extra forward thinking aspect and that would be made worse by reductions in funding over time.  I am afraid, Deputy Ward, £10 million today will be less than £10 million tomorrow and I am using £10 million as an example figure purely.  Another aspect of paying for it is you get better customer service and better user behaviour.  When people pay for something it is true that, in the main, they respect things a little bit more.  When things are free, there is a tendency to then take it for granted and that is both in terms of customer service delivered by the operator towards its customers and the customers and their behaviour on those buses.  I would not want to see a bus service where customer service is degraded, precisely because it is free and because there is no incentive for the operator to provide good customer service.  They are guaranteed their money, so it does not matter if they do it badly, or do it well; they are still guaranteed their money.  For those many reasons, I feel that while I came in thinking I would vote for (a) and probably (b) I feel now that I cannot.  I do not feel it is the right way, I do not feel it is evidencebased and my manifesto is clear about the need for evidence-based decision-making and to refer to the family friendly legislation, the problem the panel found there was a lack of evidence-based decisionmaking.  When you ask for evidence, it means you put yourself in difficult positions and things that look good without evidence around them suddenly do not necessarily look so good once you get the evidence.  I think we need to give the Government, the Ministers, the opportunity to really look at Deputy Ward’s climate change proposition and work out how best they think Jersey should respond to that.  We have charged the Government with making these decisions.  We do have to give them some time on issues like this that are new, which were not there a year ago.  The climate change proposition is just a couple of months old.  The Government do need the time to do that, not too much time, believe me and I will certainly be moaning if in 6 months’ time we are not seeing at least the start of a response to that climate change proposition.  While I feel that part (c) will definitely get my vote, it does hold the Government and the Ministers to a deadline to deliver their Sustainable Transport Policy and it must be a workable sustainable transport policy and the Minister for Infrastructure and the Minister for the Environment know when they face me in the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel I will be asking why if come January we do not see a sustainable transport policy, an innovative one and a well thought through one.  I will stick to voting for (c), while rejecting all other aspects of this proposition, as much as it is a shame to have to do so.

Connétable J.E. Le Maistre of Grouville:**

Sir, can I make a point of order?  I would like to notify the Assembly that I intend to propose the closing of this debate in half an hour.  I think everything has been said on the subject, if that is in order.

1.1.9Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour:

I am going to set out a number of reasons why I will be rejecting P.52 and why I would urge all Members to do the same.  The reasons all boil down to this.  P.52 will not do what it is intended to do, and it risks severely damaging the excellent bus service that we all enjoy.  Earlier in this debate I set out why free school buses would not necessarily lead to reduced traffic levels.  The same could be said for making all buses free.  Cost is very often not the principal barrier to public trust.  The main barriers are ease of use and frequency.  This is particularly true in places like Jersey, where motoring is relatively cheap and there is little cost impact on driving instead of taking public transport.  Making buses free without giving motorists incentives to get out of their cars will have little impact, therefore the environmental benefits that are suggested in the proposition are unlikely to be realised.  Our bus service is the jewel in the crown of infrastructure and I want to protect it in its current form.  LibertyBus are incentivised to increase the number of bus users.  The extra income they make from attracting additional bus users is invested by them in additional services, which in turn leads to increased bus users.  It is a virtuous circle.  This proposition would undermine this award-winning and hugely successful bus contract.  Our business relationship with LibertyBus is a success story.  It has been highlighted in the House of Commons as an exemplar.  I believe 11 times it has been mentioned in the House of Commons, which is truly staggering.  Bus use has increased significantly from 3.6 million passengers in 2013 to 4.6 million in 2017 and that trend is continuing.  It is largely because we are working with LibertyBus to be innovative.  LibertyBus operates as a social enterprise.  It reinvests at least 30 per cent of profits into the services in Jersey.  I would urge Members to read the open letter that LibertyBus has written; as they say the contract works and works well because it is a true partnership with the Government of Jersey built on shared values.  Without any potential to improve the service, without any potential for profit, we will be returning to a time when the Government paid for the bus service and the operator provided it.  We risk damaging this successful relationship if we make all bus services free.  We will be going back to a time before LibertyBus when the bus company had no incentive for offering a good service.  They knew they were being paid anyway and we have no idea how this will affect other businesses in the Island.  What incentives will there be for visitors to use coach tours if buses were free?  It would also possibly jeopardise our taxi service.  We share the belief of Deputy Ward that more needs to be done, but we do not believe that a free service is the best way to do this.  We risk unintended consequences, without achieving the goals of the Proposition and I ask Members to reject it.  We are developing revenue and policy initiatives that will make a real impact, including the Government Plan to be lodged next month.  I hope that Members will be willing to wait and see that co-ordinated and considered move towards an improved environment and reduced traffic.  I made a few notes while listening earlier on.  I had a meeting late last year with the Chief Minister and senior officers of the Department for Infrastructure and LibertyBus and we mooted the idea of electric buses.  Their reaction was quite staggering.  It was: “Great, let us do it.”  They were all for it.  I said: “We know that you have got lots of newer buses you have just bought” and they said: “Look, we have subsidiary companies in the U.K. (United Kingdom), we can send them to the U.K., we own the buses, not a problem.”  They were very open to all suggestions.  It has been mentioned there are a few school pupils who cannot afford the school bus.  I am more than happy to work with our colleague, the Minister for Social Security and we can accommodate the few people that cannot afford it.  Obviously, there are mechanisms in place for that and I am happy to do that.  I have been in the States now - honoured to be re-elected several times - and I have been in the States since 2005 and I have spent a total of T.T.S. (Transport and Technical Services)/Infrastructure of 7 years.  If people were to ask me what I am the most proud of, in my time in the department, I would have to say, without question, the LibertyBus contract.  [Approbation]  When the contracts came, in I had to do some quite brutal things and I know I was criticised by certain Members.  The old bus drivers were all in the gallery and I had to put some facts on the table and when the new contracts came in for submissions we had, I think, about 9 or 10 companies that submitted bids and I obviously cannot give away any confidential information, but I can say that LibertyBus were head and shoulders above all the others and they are just so open to our suggestions.  It is wonderful.  I will read a few extracts from the contract: The LibertyBus began providing a service in Jersey in 2013.  The contract was highly competitive with other operators expressing interest.  LibertyBus won both on quality and price and the decision was highly scrutinised.  It was not awarded because they were a social enterprise.  They receive a subsidy of £3.5 million and that is a decrease of 8 per cent since 2012, but the revenue risk lies with the operator to incentivise growth.  The contract also includes an innovative profit share arrangement, whereby any profit over a base level of 3 per cent is shared equally with the Government to reinvest in infrastructure’ - that is, such things as bus shelters ‘additionally, LibertyBus intends to use a minimum of 30 per cent of its profits for additional investment, including, but not limited to, investment in vehicles, ticket machines and social impact.  Since the contract started, they have returned £1.6 million to the Government.  The more profit HCT Group makes [that is LibertyBus] the more money the Government receives.  The contract includes biannual K.P.I.s (Key Performance Indicators), which supports the Sustainable Transport Policy, such as targets for the Euro rating of vehicles and ridership.  There are punitive penalties for failure.  LibertyBus has delivered on all its K.P.I.s and are on track to deliver those within 2019 and beyond.  I will just mention a few other things.  I believe the Minister for the Environment and the Deputy of St. Martin mentioned school buses.  I think they were referring to engine capacity.  They are bigger buses for the school run.  They are not as clean, shall we say, engine-wise as the newer buses that we have, which are Euro 6 compliant, very clean-burning, but the school buses use many of the Caetano buses that are slightly older, 6 or 7 years older, but they are due for replacement.  That is something that will be looked at.  There is a rise of 5.5 per cent of the school bus service year-on-year.  Concessionary passes for people with disability, there are 385 passes out now for persons with a disability to use the bus.  This all increases year-on-year.  I think I might leave it there.  I urge Members to vote against all of these things.  I will mention, Senator Moore mentioned about e-bikes.  That is something I announced a while ago, that we will be starting the e-bike purchase scheme again, probably early July.  As I say, this is the jewel in our crown.  Please do not damage it.  Please vote against all of these amendments in the proposition here and leave it to the Department for Infrastructure and we will be back next month with our plans.

The Bailiff:

Minister, are you able to help Deputy Doublet with her question that she put earlier in relation to buses for primary school children?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Indeed, Sir.  There are no primary school buses laid on by the LibertyBus, or States of Jersey, because very young children are not deemed to be mature enough to wait on their own at bus stops for the school bus. 

[11:00]

There are several schools, mostly the private schools, where they have primary and secondary education side-by-side; I believe, Victoria College, De La Salle and a few of the others, where very young children are allowed to be accompanied by their older sibling to catch the bus.  There are a few private establishments; I believe St. George’s lays on their own private bus, because they have a large catchment area and that is for very young children and I believe that is supervised.  I think Centrepoint have their own buses and they pick up and take children up to the Centrepoint, as well; but, as I say, youngsters, to travel on their own and wait at bus stops, is not deemed suitable.

1.1.10Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I would say, first of all, with the greatest respect to my colleagues, please do not use climate change as an excuse for an environmental policy.  If the environmental policies can stand on their own feet, fine, but if they are allegedly to defeat something that is imaginary, then it is totally unjustified.  As others have said, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Someone has to pay for it.  While the Minister originally identified increased parking charges to pay for the initial school bus for children, can I remind Members that the next easiest item to increase is G.S.T. (goods and services tax) and how much will G.S.T. have to rise to cover free bus fares for all?  Based on the figures that I have received from the Minister for Infrastructure, for which I thank him, we are talking a 2 per cent, to 3 per cent, increase in G.S.T.  The section of the community who will be most affected by the increased charges are pensioners and the elderly.  They are not all the same, usually.  They have paid their dues to society and many are living just on the States old age pension.  While they have free bus passes, for many of them the bus passes are nice to have, but not much use if the bus stop is a 20-minute walk away for a fit person and the buses run infrequently.  Many of these elderly use cars, as this is the only way they can get to St. Helier to shop, so putting up parking charges, or G.S.T., will adversely affect them.  Is it fair to make the elderly pay for the free bus passes for children, or for the working population?  When my son was in education, I attempted to arrange a local bus to school for him and his friends.  Even in those days, back in the dark ages, the objection was that the parents were already commuting and the offspring were given a lift with them.  I have learned that if something is free, it is not appreciated and often abused.  I also seem to recall some research on traffic that indicated that not only is the traffic due to people commuting and so on, older children prefer to travel in their own transport, be it a scooter, or a car and there are also a great number of teachers, who also have to commute.  Do we have to dictate that they also use the school buses?  Just a thought.  Deputy Morel states that Government funding gets cut.  My experience and I have been in the States off and on since 2002, is that like the original disabled transport grant, the required funding escalates.  In that case, what was a £600,000 a year grant suddenly turned out to be a £6 million a year grant, so I shall not be supporting this, because, as others have said, there is no evidence that it will work.  From my experience, it probably will not anyway, so I am not voting for it.

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

I am very grateful to stand and speak on this proposal and I congratulate my colleague for his work.  As it touches on many areas of the life of my parishioners, of my district and Parish, I as a young parent to 2 children, equally this issue does touch on many aspects of the big issues of Island life, which I hope to touch upon.  Firstly, as always, I look for data research, so I started with places in the British Isles that have implemented something similar.  A verified study of the impact of free charge bus travel in parts of London found it led to a big increase in bus journeys, with fewer trips made by car, or bicycle.  This had resulted in fewer accidents involving children and a fall in hospital admission rates; accident rates fell from 1.5 per 1,000 children before free bus travel, to 0.9 per cent over 1,000.  The study, by academics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that there had also been a public health and environmental benefit.  A professor, one of the co-authors of this report said: “Although the proportion of short journeys that young people took by bus increased, it did not reduce the amount of walking they did overall, because they were making extra trips and getting out and about more often.” So, he goes on: “Free bus travel has also led to a reduction in the use of cars.  Considering that all cities are facing increased congestion and rising levels of traffic pollution, the introduction of free bus travel for young people is an example of a policy that has made hopping on the bus the norm, while easing problems on the roads.”  The policy currently in England, at a more local level, is that children may be able to get free transport to school, depending on how far the walk is and any special needs they have.  All children between 5 and 16 qualify for free school transport if they go to their nearest suitable school and live at least 2 miles from the school if they are under 8, 3 miles from the school if they are 8 or older.  If there is no safer walking route, they must be given free transport, however far from the school they live.  So, let us look at it closer to home.  Our Parish has 8 primary schools, with 9 in St. Helier, out of the 31 primary schools; 5 secondary schools, with 2 in St. Helier on our border, including Victoria College.  Also, if you include d’Hautrée School from a few years ago, which is still used; so, out of 8 secondary schools, including Hautlieu and Highlands College, they all sit in our Parish.  The difference here, with having 31 primary schools dotted across the Island to then 8 secondary schools predominantly all in one Parish, there is one of the problems.  Let us also talk about the location of nurseries, which was raised earlier.  Having gone through this experience in recent years, they also do not come anywhere close to replicating the 31 primary schools dotted across the 12 Parishes.  Some, again, are in town and that is where a large number of the Island’s workforce is, of course.  A lot of businesses now have family friendly crèches and that is slowly changing.  Then personal circumstances, so a family moves, or there is a divorce, or separation, which statistically we know we have a large number of, affecting the family plans for children.  Also, speaking to some of our own States of Jersey employees in areas of health care and social workers, as we know much needed on this Island, some of whom have accepted roles and moved to the Island, they could not find a suitable home that would allow their children to access the schools they had been placed into and in fact were very close to.  The point I am making through my work here, engaging with Islanders and the research that I have done, is that this is why the issue is not so straightforward, but is one that we find we need to have joined-up thinking to finally make an impact and changes that match the changes of modern-day life against an Island that has struggled with the issues of shared spaces.  In terms of shared space, it is ironic that we are having this debate during awareness week for the brain injury charity, Headway Jersey.  As Members know, that was my last day job before taking a seat in the Assembly.  We worked very hard on working with data, to ensure that we were providing the service that was required.  One issue that we worked very hard with, the States of Jersey Police and schools and the Jersey Road Safety Panel, was shared spaces.  Again, if you look at the data of accidents on the roads on the Island most of that comes from carelessness.  It has become more of an issue, as our traditional roads and lanes now have cheaper cars on them, some bigger, some faster, add buses, more people using bikes.  We discovered that we are squeezing everyone, rushing around and accidents, statistically, have risen.  As others have mentioned, our only public mode of transport is buses.  We do not have trains, trams, cable cars and so on, so as others have said, the future has to be taking our improved bus service, to the great work done by LibertyBus since they came into force.  In the research, hopefully, the service can be improved to match modern-day life, to give better choices to Islanders, instead of driving to the cinemas, as others have given as an example.  Clearly, a big issue listening to Members and those other members of the public I have engaged with is the term free and I understand this.  The point we are talking about here is P.O.S. (point of service) free service, which is funded and subsidised between, in this case, the provider and the Government of Jersey.  I should point out that P.O.S. means point of service, i.e., in this case, children getting on the school bus not having to pay.  That is the terminology.  It is one way of doing it.  Another one would come through research, something that the parents could contribute is a top-up card system, like where my son goes to the college in the U.K., working up, joined-up thinking across Government, schools and parents, a good way to be arrived at.  I thank the Constable of St. Helier for his excellent work in making this proposition much better.  My daughter goes to St. Lawrence Primary School and for anyone who knows the school, well, the tricky situation is that the school is on one side of a very main road and on the back a small car park on a green lane.  It has been a massive headache for the school as the year goes on and more children come from further afield.  Lastly, as it was raised about the voice of the children and in this case again I spoke to my children and children of friends of various ranges, mostly young teenagers in this case, they all agreed that if the service was safer, more secure, frequent and closer to home they would be excited to use the service.  Most young people are familiar with the American school yellow bus system, thanks to T.V. (television) shows and films, so a leap of faith for them is not so hard to make.  Turning to the Children’s Commissioner Jersey, its initial Island-wide consultation report - which I hold in my hand, published exactly a year ago, which I carry around with me at all times, which the Minister for Children and Housing knows - clearly records the views of young concerned Islanders: More street lighting, pedestrian crossings, wider pavements, safer travel, more accessible, it is all in there as captured.  In terms of mental health, which has been mentioned, it will come as no surprise to Members that I will touch on this.  The Centre for Transport Studies at the University College of London carried out a survey of people with mental health conditions in order to establish the difficulties that people with a mental health condition would have travelling and identifying ways in which they could overcome this.  The evidence shows that infrequent transport problems, delays, not being able to make easy connections and hop-on, hop-off services, overcrowding, present far greater challenges for those with mental health conditions.  Having spoken to users of our outrageously behind the times service for mental health provision, mostly at Orchard House, they have had some very unpleasant experiences getting the bus from the stop right outside Orchard House.  Researchers have found that increased eligibility for a free bus service led to an 8 per cent increase in the use of public transport among older people, senior citizens and a 12 per cent decline in depression symptoms among those who started taking the bus when they became eligible for the programme.  As was mentioned yesterday by Deputy Tadier, since the introduction of a trial of a free bus pass for users with a long-term disability, it has seen good numbers of those who use that service.  I would point out that there was a fee upfront of £15 for anybody with a long-term disability to have to pay to use this and the forms to help not so straightforward to fill out.  Again, charities like Headway Jersey assisted many with the process and LibertyBus became very helpful.  I hope, once this trial ends, it is included and improved, because it does work.  In summary, no, it is not free.  It is free at point of service, to seek improvements, to improve a situation in terms of the safety of children, the chance of fewer cars on the road.  It is not the whole answer, but it is a start, I believe, in the hope of change from the relevant department and Governments now and future to get this done, to come together and find the common approach to finding the best way forward that is fair, equal, provides equality with good financial governance.  Is this the right approach?  Maybe not, but it is a straightforward choice and I share the same concerns as Deputy Morel, but I will finish my deliberations before voting on hearing the summing up from Deputy Ward who, again, I congratulate.  It is great to see a debating chamber being used for debating and backbenchers engaging in the process.  Congratulations.

1.1.12Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

I realise there is a wee bit of repetition in my speech, but I will go through it as quickly as I possibly can.  For the record, last Friday was the last time I used the bus service and I do use it on a fairly regular basis.  I was pleased to support Deputy Ward, when he brought his climate change proposition.  Undoubtedly, we need to act now and do our bit to save the planet.  This Assembly is committed to delivering a carbon neutral Jersey by 2030 and listeners, be assured, we will do everything we can to deliver on that policy.

[11:15]

However, I am struggling to support Deputy Ward with this proposition, even with the sensible amendments attached.  The case to justify spending and this is where I am a little bit confused and this is what is a little bit worrying, as well, is it £11 million, or is it £27 million?  I had a conversation with the Minister for Infrastructure this morning and he intimated that it would cost £27 million to fully support a bus service free of charge, so there we go.  It is not good to have uncertainty, particularly when you are dealing with amounts of money and it is public money in this case that we are dealing with.  The case, in my opinion, is not fully made to deliver a free bus service.  It is simply not made.  In my opinion, alternative uses of such money could well deliver more effective ways of reducing our CO2 emissions, such as providing more electric buses into the fleet, for example; introducing a scrappage scheme for people who are buying electric vehicles; supplying more charging points in multi-storeys.  There are so many other initiatives that we could use our money to, which would deliver more of an impact in reducing our emissions.  There are a number of people who use it, but I will use it as well; as you know, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Somebody has to pick up the bill.  The so-called free bus service will, as I explained, come at a cost.  The public will have to stomp up, one way, or another, an estimated £11 million, £27 million, I do not know which one it is, to provide the so-called free bus service.  This, I would like to remind Members also, will be on a recurring annual basis.  I would like to remind Members we will be starting the next decade - some only 6 months away - facing a projected £40 million deficit.  That is 4 zero, £40 million.  Never before has the Jersey public purse been under such pressure.  The demands on revenue are enormous and they are coming from every direction.  We, as a society, are facing many challenges.  So, quite rightly, we have a new Children First Policy, but how many millions, I ask Members, of pounds is that going to cost to deliver?  We have an ageing demographic issue and how many millions of pounds will that cost to service and address?  Health and mental health, millions are going to have to be spent to improve and raise standards, but again, exactly how many millions of pounds will have to be spent?  Education, infrastructure, public sector pay; how many extra millions will they cost to provide improvement in the provision of?  We have to build a new hospital, £1 billion including interest, potentially.  Quite rightly, we have declared war and we want to reverse climate change by 2030, but how many millions of pounds - and I did ask the question the other day - is that going to cost?  Now, the U.K. have, as I pointed out yesterday, by 2050 they are carbon neutral, but that is going to come at a cost of £1 trillion.  Jersey; what are we looking at?  We are considering the figures, but could it be £1 billion?  We just do not know.  With, or without, the amendments, the case has not been made that a free service will have one iota’s worth of difference to the way people choose to travel.  I would be a lot happier if the survey had been conducted with the parents and the general travelling public, to find out what the potential uptake would be if the service was free.  As it stands, they have nothing to go on, no evidence and no impact analysis; basically nothing.  The current small, token free, arrangement for buses appears to be working well.  I think the Minister indicated the figures of the travelling public locally have gone up quite significantly and the 40 per cent I have got here seems to indicate a real success, so I congratulate the Minister for his efforts in this area.  I would be prepared to consider the bus travel, if the policy was part of a wider range of initiatives that formed part of a sustainable, thoroughly researched, fully budgeted and properly funded public transport policy, which was designed to deliver a zero carbon footprint by 2030.  On that basis, I will not be supporting this proposition, but I will support (c); it makes sense.

The Connétable of Grouville:

I did inform the Assembly that I would be asking for the debate to be closed.  All this talk of free lunches is making me hungry.  It is a very important subject, I know, but I cannot believe there is anything left to be said, so I ask that we

The Bailiff:

Standing Order 84 provides that if more than an hour has elapsed since the presiding officer opened the debate on a proposition, a Member, who has not spoken in the debate, may propose without notice the proposition be put to the vote and that a Member must, at least 30 minutes before he, or she, makes the proposal, inform the States of his, or her, intention to do so.  The presiding officer shall not allow the proposal if it appears to him, or her, that it is an abuse of the procedure of the States, or an infringement of the rights of a minority; otherwise, the presiding officer shall immediately put the proposal to the vote without debate.  More than an hour has passed since the debate was opened.  The Connétable gave notice more than 30 minutes ago.  Twenty-one Members have spoken.  I do not regard this as an abuse of the procedure of the States, or an infringement of the rights of a minority.  The Standing Order is here, so that Members can consider this proposition and so I am now immediately going to put the proposal to the vote without debate and

Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

Before you do that, could I ask the Constable to withdraw this?  It seems that I am sure it was done as a safeguard, but it is 11.20, we are on the last day, this is the last piece of business, most people have spoken and how many people do we have left to speak

The Bailiff:

It is without debate and that is just an excuse for a debate, Deputy.

Deputy M. Tadier:

I am just asking if he would withdraw it as a procedural matter.

The Bailiff:

So, I invite Members to return to their seats.  The vote is on whether to close the debate

Deputy M. Tadier:

Could I ask how many are left to speak?  It may influence how people vote.

The Bailiff:

It is without debate, but I will tell you that there are 3 other Members, so far, who have indicated a wish to debate.

Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

Do I not get to sum up?

The Bailiff:

If the vote is passed you get to sum up.  The proposition, which is before Members, for debate now before voting [Interruption] excuse me.  The proposition which is before Members, for voting now, is whether to close the debate and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 30

 

CONTRE: 10

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

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 L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier:

I am glad we can go to lunch early.

The Bailiff:

So, in those circumstances, Deputy Ward, would you like to reply?

1.1.13Deputy R.J. Ward:

I made so many notes, because there were so many speakers.  Can I say as well, what a can of worms I have opened up?  I make absolutely no apology for bringing this proposition to this Assembly.  I was elected to represent my constituents and many of my constituents do struggle to pay for the basics of life, because they are on very low incomes and I will always support those on low incomes, because inequality is perhaps the biggest scourge of our society and anything that we can do to invest in our people and lower that inequality is a move forward for this Assembly and this Assembly has not made to move forwards on that as it should.  You sit there and you talk about “nothing is a free lunch”.  Well, we all get a free parking pass, so we do get some free lunches.  I do not use mine, because I walk in, or I take the bus now.  My car battery is flat, so I could do with someone helping me charge it, but never mind we will go into that later.  It is quite difficult to sum up a proposition that has been amended so much, but I suppose this is a rite of passage to go through if you are a backbencher.  If you are going to bring propositions that look to make positive social change and not just keep things the way they have been for too long, the status quo of inequality and the lack of concern for those who really need a lift up in our society, but that is the way it goes.  I have got to say something about the original proposition and some of the words said about it.  It was not a silver bullet to solve the issue.  I am not that naïve.  I am an educated man.  I have got the benefits of education, which is a wonderful thing and I would promote it for everybody else.  It is more a catalyst for change and now Deputy Alves is going to look to the sky, because she says I do this all the time.  This is a key difference, a catalyst lowers the activation energy of a chemical reaction; the effort needed to make the reaction happen, if you like.  So, what it does is it enables a reaction to happen and so this is a catalyst, because that is what we can do.  Even with this amended version of the proposition, we can enable more people to access buses for free and in particular our children that we have pledged to put first on this Island, all of us.  Well, the majority of us, OK.  The amendment deals very specifically with funding; the amendment does.  I went through what my wording would be and to some extent, as they used to do with bus companies in the U.K., it is a loss leader bid.  Let us stimulate the discussion.  As a backbencher, how else are we to do it?  We have been here a year and now, in 6 months’ time, we will get a Government Plan, so 18 months into my 4-year term there is nothing for us to work on.  It will take another 6 months, perhaps another 8 months, for anything to happen, then it will be 2 years, 2½ years and then we will be coming up to election time and so anything that is controversial just simply will not happen and we will be trapped in that cycle of nothingness.  It is like an existential loop sometimes in this States Assembly and we really need to get out of it.  It is a first time anyone has quoted Versace, I believe, but anyway I am going to move on.  It is a shame that this Assembly which is so convinced that it works around consensus, can be so negative to a positive change.  The first thing I heard in here was: “We are in a U-shape, because we have consensus.”  Well, let us see what we can do with that consensus, shall we?  I will talk about some of the comments.  There were so many I made a mind map, which is why I never taught children to make mind maps, because I am rubbish at them, but anyway.  But the comments from Deputy Luce, or the Deputy of St. Martin, regarding buses are polluters; can we look at the facts of this?  The average bus engine is about a 10-litre diesel engine.  The average engine of a Land Rover diesel is 3 litres.  Now, that is capacity.  So, therefore, 3 or 4 large diesel cars we will have plenty of those on our roads, OK, equal one bus.  Diesel engines compress and so they put out more carbon particulates, but so do diesel cars and there are many of them.  I thank Deputy Perchard, who is an English teacher and knows more about science than most people in this room.  So, thank you, that is brilliant.  OK.  But that is the fact, so that data that notion is just simply wrong.  You have got to look at the numbers of cars.  Unless we do something about them, your dream world of us dealing with climate change will simply not happen.  That is utter nonsense to think that we can do it without addressing that issue.  I agree with the electric and hybrid buses idea; it is great.  It is a really good idea, but unless we get rid of the significant polluters, which are cars, badly maintained petrol cars and we have got an M.O.T. (Ministry of Transport) system coming through at last; diesel engines, they are the polluters on this Island and when - I will say - when we get real time monitoring of air pollution near our schools I think many of you may well change your mind about what we need to do with cars.  It is a shame that we will react, rather than being positive and be proactive to make the change that will have to come at some time if we are going to deal with air quality and pollution levels on this Island.  So, let us look to the future of that.  Deputy Maçon’s arguments were mainly dealt with by a previous speaker.  Thank you, Senator Mézec, very well put together, but I will add that and this is not a personal comment for all of us, we do not live on the minimum wage.  We do not live on the living wage, OK and I think that you have to be very cautious and simply think of your own circumstances when voting, because there are many out there that you may not come in contact with, I do not know, who really do struggle, right up to middle income earners, as they are defined on this Island, if you have a number of children that you have to keep; childcare costs, costs of rents, costs of mortgages, cost of food, cost of just about everything on this Island that puts many people on the breadline.  As I have always said, I would say 90 per cent of the people on this Island are 2 pay packets away from homelessness, because that is the real struggle that people face, so anything that we can do as an Assembly to help that the Constable of St. Brelade pointed out traffic reduction targets were not reached.  Perhaps that is because we did not offer any real alternatives and this is a chance to support one.  Please look at the amendments, look at the amendments.  The profit share we spoke about comes, in part, from the charging of children to travel to school, so is that putting children first, or is that putting profit first?  Let us talk about the buses.  Great idea electric buses and LibertyBus have been great and they can pass their buses on to their other franchises.  Well, they bought those buses from the payers of Jersey bus fares and so what they have done is managed to increase their fleet by charging our Islanders to support the rest of their businesses elsewhere.

[11:30]

If that is what you think is a great business plan that is fine, but why are we subsidising these other businesses again and again, when we cannot provide free bus fleets for our children to go to school?  There are so many others.  Senator Moore, I agree with you on so many things that you said there.  I agree with regards to extending the bus service; it does need to happen.  I would disagree that this is a step too far.  Instead, I would say this is a brave step forward and that is what we need to take in this Assembly.  Deputy Southern made a very key point about the social impact and the Common Strategic Policy.  We keep talking about this, but as yet I have not seen any real nitty gritty in what we are going to do in order to impact, or increase, that social impact that we have.  We do seem to be paying lip service to it, because that is what we do in a sort of caring conservatism that we have and we need to deal with.  Deputy Young, I believe your heart is in the right place.  I really wish you well in your endeavours.  It is a shame that you cannot support this, because I think it would have helped you in what you are doing.  Deputy Ash, well, he was nice to me at the start, so we will just leave it at that.  Deputy Martin, where do I start?  You were not nice to me at all, but there you go, I am used to that now.  It is another rite of passage, but I would say to you I think and the notion you said about populist green measures and I think one of the Constables here said about: “It is not an election year.”  I am sorry, I am not so contrived just to only be doing things in election year.  That is not the way I do things.  I see this as a 4-year term, in which I will have as much impact from my constituents and my party and the building of genuine politics on this Island as I can and then, if the electorate wants me, they do it, if not I will go and find something else, because I have made a brave change in my career, so I can do it again.  So, that is not my drive when I do this, so I resent that, thank you.  In addition, I would add I am afraid unless you accept - and it is not this notion of green - it is about where we need to be in the future if this planet is going to survive and we are going to survive as an Island when the fossil fuel economy collapses.  Unless we do something and prepare for that now, we will see a shock, which is on a par to the shock of the finance sector collapsing on this Island and you are not seeing that at the moment.  You are not registering that as something that is real and upfront and personal to you all and you need to educate yourself on those things and you need to think about those things, because all of the large businesses out there and the large finance houses are already preparing for this.  They have their areas and there is a source of money for our funding of buses there, if we were to look for it.  I hope that as we go through this, if we achieve anything today, we have not wasted the last day and a half and are brave enough to make change that we could go out there and look for that sort of help, because it is there.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a part of a political era of negativity that was here and making do.  It is time for solutions now.  It is time for new politics on this Island and it is a time for us to move forward and that is what we need to be doing.  User pays models.  Well, Guernsey, there is something going viral about Guernsey user pays in their hospitals and the charges they are putting on their hospital use.  So, user pays; let us be very careful when we talk about user pays, shall we?  What else is uneconomic?  Those who cannot contribute as much to our society; I do not want to live in a world like that.  Those who are too elderly; I do not want to live in a world like that.  Those who are unlucky enough to have an accident; I do not want to live in a world like that.  We need to have a strong safety net in our society if we are going to call ourselves civilised and move away from this individualism, which is divisive and creates fear in our society, so let us do something about it.  We talk about an evidence base.  At the same time, there seems to be a strange sort of juxtaposition - I have always wanted to use that word and I think I have used it correctly - a juxtaposition between the need for evidence and then just pure opinion.  People will not get out of their cars, because they love their cars and they do not do it and they want to drop their children off to school.  We are talking about a cultural change that we, as a States Assembly, have to drive and if you cannot drive it, then do not stand for election.  Get some people in who can drive social change and cultural change and can make these changes, that we so desperately need, because what we are doing is we are resting on these failed excuses of the past about: “Who is going to pay for it?  There is no such thing as a free lunch.”  That is just an absolutely nonsensical argument.  You can take that into any area of social provision on this Island.  This is about a political choice that we want to make, or we do not want to make and, at the moment, too many of you are saying: “We will not make the political choice to put our children first and not charge them for buses.”  It is as simple as that.  So, many other jurisdictions have the bravery to do that.  What I would say to you and I will be as brief as I want, but I think I have sat here and listened to a lot, so it is nice to have my say at the end, so I will enjoy it, I think.  I do have my concerns about the proposition as it is now.  I wanted a very simple approach and again I apologise for it, but they are based around the concern over a lack of action, my concerns; not the action about the need for funding, because that is written into the amendment.  It is there and, as Deputy Perchard so eloquently put, there are so many caveats there that I believe that what we have is, if you like, an opportunity for every Member of this Assembly here with this amended proposition.  If you cannot find a way of funding this, then if you let the hawks get their way and we do not fund it and it does not happen, but then, if we have a sustainable transport system that will address some of the issues of CO2 emissions and air pollution, that we have addressed, then we have a chance for all of us to achieve something.  So, if you like, there is something for everybody there.  We need to be pragmatic about the proposition.  I struggled to accept this amendment and I am an unapologetic idealist, but if I can do that, surely so can you.  Or is it just simply a cover for tribalism that we so much deny in this cooperative and working together States Assembly?  Look very closely at yourselves and the way you are voting today in regard to that.  So, where does it leave us?  We have voted for a climate change emergency.  I think for some, obviously, it was a bit of a token gesture, but I hope - I hope - as your learning increases and you understand more about it, you will commit more to it.  I think that is very important.  There will soon be live monitoring of air pollution around schools and we can start the actions we need to do now, because when the evidence appears and I predict yes, I was a science teacher, but I predict, my hypothesis is, that we will see really poor levels of air pollution around our schools and then we will throw our arms up in the air and say: “Oh, what can we do?” and then a few months beforehand we voted to just keep things the way they are in terms of our traffic.  An absolute contradiction in terms.  I will cut that bit out.  Now we have the chance to give change a chance, to create the first steps to a truly sustainable transport system that, let us be honest, you have been talking about for so long.  So, how many years; 10, 20, 30, 40? I do not know, but a long time.  Sustainable transport system.  What do we have at the moment?  A completely unsustainable transport system, totally dependent upon fossil fuels, which will become more and more expensive and if you look at the world situation at the moment, they may become more expensive very suddenly if certain actions are taken by certain countries and we have no reaction, OK and that is what we need to be doing.  There are clear checks and balances in this amended proposition; this very convoluted, but amended proposition.  If you look at the different parts of the proposition to ensure that a bus and in every single one of them, without affecting the other school services and part (d) is the key bit, subject to full funding being provided.  This notion that if we fund this then we will not spend it on something else like schools.  Schools are underfunded; they have been for years.  You are not spending it on schools.  On children.  It has been underfunded, our Children’s Services, for years.  You are not spending it on the Children’s Services.  Our hospital provision; they have been underfunded too.  So, we are not spending this money.  That is a white elephant of an argument and we need to direct our funding and be very careful about the way we fund things, of course, but this is something that will have a benefit for a wider audience than just this Assembly and perhaps the section of our Assembly that we represent.  We need to stay ahead of the wave of environmentalism and unawareness and with our climate change policy we are ahead of the game and we made a promise and we made a step forward, but if we do not act now to address our transport system and this is one ingredient of that that we could take today, then we will not stay ahead.  We will procrastinate and we will go backwards and then, lo and behold, we will not meet any of the targets that we set.  I urge you, do not be on the wrong side of history.  It may come back to haunt you, so I ask you to support this proposition, in all of its parts, as amended and make a step forward for Jersey and for the people of Jersey.

The Bailiff:

Deputy, when you opened you said you wanted to take your proposition in separate parts and although it has now been amended considerably you still want to take it in separate parts, do you?

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Yes, I think we will.  That would be best.

The Bailiff:

Right.  Very well and the appel is called for.  I ask Members to return to their seats.  I hope all Members have got the amended proposition before them.  I am told by the Greffier you have.  So, the first vote is on paragraph (a) and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 15

 

CONTRE: 29

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

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 K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

The Bailiff:

Very well, the Greffier will now reset the system and we will take a vote on paragraph (b) and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

 

POUR: 11

 

CONTRE: 33

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

The Bailiff:

I ask the Greffier to reset the system and we will now take a vote on paragraph (c) and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 31

 

CONTRE: 13

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

The Bailiff:

I ask the Greffier to reset the system and we are now voting on paragraph (d) and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 10

 

CONTRE: 34

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator L.J. Farnham

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

Connétable of St. Clement

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Connétable of Grouville

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

[11:45]

ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

The Bailiff:

Right, Chairman, we come on to the arrangement of Public Business for the next meeting.

2.Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier (Chairman, Privileges and Procedures Committee):

There has only been one change to the listing of Public Business on the Consolidated Order Paper, with the lodging, yesterday, of P.62/2019 Draft Criminal Procedure, listed for the 16th July sitting.  Our next sitting on 2nd July has only 2 items for debate so, ever the optimist, one hopes that we will be able to get through all of the business in one day and with that I propose the arrangement of Public Business.

The Bailiff:

Very well, thank you very much.  The States now stand adjourned until 2nd July at 9.30 a.m.

ADJOURNMENT

[11:46]

 

1

 

Back to top
rating button