Cost of living support measures scrutinised
20th September 2022
Last week, the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel published a report following its review of the Council of Ministers' proposed Mini-Budget of support measures to address Islanders' cost of living concerns.
The report examined whether the proposition adequately addressed the specific needs of Islanders, including low-income families, students, pensioners, carers, children, lowest earners and small businesses. It also considered the financial implications of the proposed measures and whether, if approved, they would be realistic and effective.
The review has resulted in several key findings, amongst which include:
- There is a lack of clarity on how the measures will impact income inequality
- The proposals focus on indirect payments, not direct payments, which will not assist the most vulnerable households hardest hit by the rising cost of living
- There is not yet any tangible action to reduce inflationary pressures in the rental market
- The Government's engagement with stakeholders was minimal
- The absence of real time data resulted in assumptions when developing the support measures
The Panel has recommended that the Council of Ministers:
- Consider additional support measures such as targeted one-off payments to ease cost of living concerns for low-income households, pensioners, students and small businesses.
- Consider whether the Fair Rents Plan should be expediated or amended
- Carry out consultation with stakeholders to inform decision-making, and make this publicly available
- Identify and assess accurate real time data when evidencing proposed support measures
Chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, Deputy Sam Mézec, said: "The short timeframe in which the Mini-Budget was produced by the Government has led to a lack of inclusive stakeholder consultation, a lack of data and assumptions to inform the proposed measures. Throughout the course of our review, it has become clear through our consultation with Islanders and conversations with Ministers that further measures, including direct payments, must be considered as part of the next Government Plan to assist low-income households, pensioners, students and small businesses as costs continue to rise. We hope that the Government will take into account our report and the findings as shaped by the views of those hardest hit by the cost of living to inform future policy in this area.
The Mini-Budget is being debated by the States Assembly during today's meeting.
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