States Meeting Summary 9-11 February


11th February 2021

​Appointments and nominations

The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre, appointed Deputy Jeremy Macon, as the new Minister for Education. Following Deputy Macon’s speech in relation to his nomination, he answered questions from States Members for 20 minutes. As there were no other nominations, Deputy Macon was appointed as the new Minister for Education.

Whilst the Chief Minister has indicated his intention to change this role to the Minister for Children and Education, he will need to make an Order and place this before the Assembly two weeks before it takes effect. 

Deputy Russell Labey was appointed and nominated as the new Minister for Children and Housing, to replace Deputy Macon. It is intended that this position will become Minister for Housing and Communities, after an Order is made and placed before the Assembly. 

Non-States Member, Mr. Paul Van Bodegom, was nominated and appointed as a new member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

To begin Wednesday’s States Meeting, Former Chair of the Privileges and Procedures Committee nominated Vice-Chair, Deputy Carina Alves, to take on the role of Chair. Senator Ian Gorst nominated Constable Mike Jackson for the same position, however, following a speech and questions put to both nominees, the States Assembly voted to appoint Deputy Carina Alves as the new Chair of the Privileges and Procedures Committee. After this, States Members appointed Constable Phillip Le Sueur as the new Chair for the Planning Committee. 

Wednesday afternoon’s meeting begun with the appointment of new members to the Privileges and Procedures Committee. Constable Karen-Shenton Stone, Constable Simon Crowcroft, Senator Tracey Vallois were voted as new members by the Assembly. Deputy Russell Labey and Deputy Gregory Guida were appointed as Ministerial representatives for the Panel, and Deputy Mary Le Hegarat was appointed as the Scrutiny Liaison Committee representative. 

Deputy Graham Truscott, Deputy Kirsten Morel, Deputy Rowland Huelin, Deputy Scott Wickenden, Deputy Steve Luce, Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, Deputy Lindsay Ash and Deputy Deidre Mezbourian were appointed as new members of the Planning Committee. 

To end Thursday afternoon's meeting, Senator Steve Pallet and Senator Tracey Vallois were appointed as new members of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel.

Question time

Following appointments and nominations, States Members asked Ministers oral questions with notice for two hours and 20 minutes. 

Catch up on questions with notice by skipping to 1 hour and 10 minutes into Tuesday morning's meeting.

  1. Constable Richard Buchanan asked the following question of H.M. Attorney General: “Will H.M. Attorney General advise whether there is any potential legal threat to the Overdale hospital project from the two avenues of legal action, under the Compulsory Purchase of Land (Procedure)(Jersey) Law 1961 and the Human Rights Jersey Law 2000, outlined in Blakeley Law’s Letter of 31st January 2021, a copy of which I recently forwarded to him?” 

  2. Deputy Kirsten Morel asked the following question of the Minister for Social Security: “Will the Minister explain how the level of long-term care payment covering the cost of care for the elderly is calculated, and whether the methodology used is based on the actual cost of care services currently available in the Island?”

  3. Constable Simon Crowcroft asked the following question of the Minister for the Environment: “Will the Minister advise the States Assembly how many new homes are expected to be provided in St. Helier within the current decade and whether it is his assessment that there is sufficient critical infrastructure already in place in the Town area to support such an increase?”

  4. Deputy Montfort Tadier asked the following question of the Minister for Children and Housing: “Will the Minister advise what safeguards, if any, are in place for tenants who find themselves homeless due to a fire or another event not of their making; and is it his assessment that they provide sufficient protection for tenants?”

  5. Constable Karen Shenton-Stone asked the following question of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture: “Has the Minister considered the position of capital allowances on the large infrastructure costs, interest payments, related party fees and other mechanisms used to reduce the potential taxable profits arising from the growing and processing of medicinal cannabis; and will he state whether this will be fully addressed prior to any Draft Regulations being proposed?”

  6. Deputy Kevin Pamplin asked the following question of the Minister for Children and Housing: “In light of the reports that there was an increase in the rise of referrals in young people seeking support for their mental health last year, will the Minister update members on the Government’s response to this increase and advise what further action, if any, will be taken to address the situation going forward?

  7. Deputy Inna Gardiner asked the following question of the Minister for Education: “What actions are being undertaken to ensure that all students who have settled status, or are yet to apply for settled status under the Jersey E.U. Settlement Scheme, are provided with clear and timely guidance relative to their status and eligibility for student funding, and the necessary steps they must take to enable them to make informed decisions and advance to the Higher Education course of their choice?”

  8. Senator Steve Pallett asked the following question of the Chief Minister: “Will the Chief Minister explain why the results of the ‘Be Heard’ employee engagement survey, that closed on 12th September 2020, have not yet been published; and will he state when he expects the results will be published and which Government department is responsible for collating and processing the survey data?”

  9. Deputy Robert Ward asked the following question of the Minister for Social Security: “Will the Minister advise how many requests have been made in the last 5 years for the redetermination of a decision regarding Income Support; of these, how many are still outstanding; how many claims, if any, have consequently been adjusted in favour of the recipient; and what is the administrative cost of this process?”

  10. Deputy Mike Higgins asked the following question of H.M. Attorney General: “With regard to major contracts (such as for the new hospital) where there is a major public interest due to the cost or impact of the project, will H.M. Attorney General advise members of the legal position of whether each individual contract as a whole is confidential or whether only certain clauses are required to be; and in what circumstances and for what time period does such information remain confidential?”

  11. Deputy Geoff Southern asked the following question of the Minister for Social Security: “Will the Minister advise what benefit payments have been available to employees who have not been able to work as a result of contracting Covid-19, or having to self-isolate to protect vulnerable family members; together with the number of any successful claims and total benefit amount paid?”

  12. Senator Sam Mézec asked the following question of the Chief Minister: “Further to the answer given to this question on 17th November 2020, is the Chief Minister now in a position to publish the Housing Policy Development Board report, and does he accept its recommendations?”

  13. Deputy Mike Higgins asked the following question of the Assistant Chief Minister: “Will the Assistant Chief Minister outline for members the number and nature of any meetings and conversations held with the Connétable of St. Helier, or his officers, between the time the project board had decided that Overdale was to be the site of the new hospital and when the public announcement was made; and what the outcomes were, if any, of those discussions?”

  14. Deputy Inna Gardiner asked the following question of the Chief Minister: “Will the Chief Minister provide the Assembly with an update on the progress of the Office Accommodation Project?"

  15. Deputy Geoff Southern asked the following question of the Minister for Health and Social Services: “In light of recent reports that healthcare workers surrounded by coughing patients are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 than first thought, is it the Minister’s assessment that healthcare staff are provided with an appropriately high level of P.P.E. (Personal Protective Equipment), including F.F.P.3 (Filtering Face Piece) respirator masks; and will he commit to providing front-line staff in non-intensive hospital areas, G.P. surgeries and care homes with such masks?”

  16. Deputy Kevin Pamplin asked the following question of the Minister for Children and Housing: “Will the Minister update the Assembly on the impact, if any, that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the commitment made to address the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry and its follow up report in 2019?”

  17. Constable Richard Buchanan asked the following question of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture: “What assurances, if any, can the Minister give that there will be no net loss of public amenity space, including publicly accessible grassed areas, nor any loss of trees, arising from the current planning application (P.2020/1263) for Springfield Park?”

  18. Senator Sam Mézec asked the following question of the Chief Minister: “Will the Chief Minister advise whether the Government remains committed to extending the Millennium Town Park over the Gas Works site, and what support, if any, will be provided to Andium Homes to ensure their plans to achieve this remain viable?”

  19. Deputy Robert Ward asked the following question of the Minister for Infrastructure: “Will the Minister state the volume, in litres, of RD100 renewable diesel fuel that has been imported to the Island in 2021 to date; and also state the total amount of this fuel imported and sold in 2020?”

  20. Constable Karen Shenton-Stone asked the following question of the Minister for the Environment: “In light of recently submitted development plans, will the Minister publish a list of sites that have been identified as suitable for the growing and production of medicinal cannabis and explain what additional information was requested in relation to these sites; and will he explain what consideration has been given, in relation to these plans, to the potential for increased activity and the impact on neighbours and on the countryside?”

  21. Deputy Kirsten Morel asked the following question of the Minister for Social Security: “Will the Minister explain what role, if any, the Government has in regulating the cost of private care for the elderly (whether in a person’s home or in a residential home); and furthermore, will she inform members how the Government ensures that any increase in long term care payments is not taken by the care sector as a signal to increase their charges?" 

Following this, the States Assembly moved onto oral questions without notice.

States Members asked the Minister for Education, the Minister for the Environment and the Chief Minister questions without notice for 15 minutes each.

Skip to 1 hour into Tuesday afternoon's meeting to catch up on questions without notice.

Public business 

New Wildlife Law

Assistant Minister for the Environment, Deputy Gregory Guida, proposed to replace Jersey’s existing ‘Conservation of Wildlife Law 2000’ with the new ‘Wildlife Law 202’, on behalf of and as amended by the Minister for the Environment. 

Read the full proposition here.

On 3 November 2020, the principles of this proposition were adopted, and it was referred to Scrutiny during the 2nd reading.

Resuming the debate in the 2nd reading, States Members voted to approve articles 1 to 7 of the proposition. 

Deputy Steve Luce proposed an amendment to the proposition. He asked to change a minor part of the proposition so that prohibitions relating to the destruction of dens and nests of protected animals which do not apply within homes, are also inapplicable to the ‘outside area’ of homes. 

The States Assembly voted to REJECT the amendment. Read the full amendment here.

Following this, the remaining articles and the overall proposition to replace the existing Wildlife Law with a new version was APPROVED by the States Assembly - click here to see how States Members voted.

Residential housing within the new Waterfront development

Senator Sam Mézec asked, in relation to the proposed Waterfront development, that:

  1. No residential properties are sold to foreign buy-to-let investors;

  2. The Council of Ministers present a report to the Assembly by 30 April 2021, guiding developers on maximising affordable homes, delivering a range of housing and maintaining community facilities whilst ensuring the project is economically feasible.

Senator Mézec asked States Members to approve the proposition as amended by the Council of Ministers.

Read the original proposition here, and the Ministers accepted amendment here.

The States Assembly voted to APPROVE the proposition, as amended – click here to find out how States Members voted.

The ‘bridging’ Island Plan

Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, asked the Assembly to approve regulations which will allow him, due to COVID-19, to temporarily changes laws which will enable the development of a short-term, ‘bridging’ Island Plan 2022-24.

Read the proposition here.

States Members voted to APPROVE the proposition – click here to find out how States Members voted. 

Amendments to Economic Substance Law

The Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, proposed an amendment to Jersey’s economic substance law to bring self-managed funds (i.e. corporate funds which manage their own investments) within the scope of the economic substance rules in terms of their fund management activities.

Read the full proposition here.

States Members voted to APPROVE the proposition – click here to find out how States Members voted.

Location of the new skate park

Senator Steve Pallet asked the Assembly to agree that:

  1. The new skate park be located at Les Quennevais Sports Centre; and

  2. A planning application be brought forward by the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Lewis, no later than 26 Feb 2021

Read the full proposition here.

Deputy Graham Truscott proposed an amendment to the proposition on behalf of Senator Lyndon Farnham. He asked that instead of Les Quennevais, the new skate park be located at South Hill Gardens, St Helier, with satellite facilities in the west and east of the Island. 

Read the full amendment here.

During the debate, several States Members suggested a new proposition should be put forward asking for a planning application for both sites to be put forward by 26 February 2021. The States Assembly decided to adjourn until Thursday morning to consider this proposal in place of the original proposition. 

Resuming the debate on the skate park location, Thursday morning’s meeting saw States Members agree to allow the proposer of the amendment, Deputy Graham Truscott, and the proposer of the proposition, Senator Steve Pallet, withdraw both the amendment and proposition. 

Click to see how States Members voted on the withdrawal of the amendment here and the withdrawal of the proposition here.

When putting this to the Assembly to vote on, Senator Pallet and Senator Farnham confirmed they had come to the agreement that, if the Assembly approved their request to withdraw, a planning application would be submitted for both sites by 26 February 2021.

'Life in Jersey' test for election eligibility

Deputy Inna Gardiner asked States Members to:

  1. Request Ministers develop a ‘Life in Jersey’ test by October 2021

  2. Agree that non-British citizens who pass this test and take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to Jersey, may stand for election. 

Read the full proposition here.

The States Assembly voted to REJECT the proposition.

The Assembly will meet again on Tuesday, 2 March 2021. 

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