States Assembly 2nd & 3rd June 2020
3rd June 2020
The States Assembly held a virtual sitting on Tuesday 2nd June 2020 and Wednesday 3rd June 2020.
The Oral questions covered topics such as the retraining and deployment of the local workforce effected by COVID-19, Child Rights Impact Assessments and the number of people who have been subject to polymerise chain reaction (P.C.R.) testing.
Deputy Steve Ahier asked Susie Pinel, the Minister for Treasury and Resources to update the Assembly on any plans for funding the 'Our Hospital' project, and indicate the anticipated level of borrowing required, if any, to fund the project.
The Treasury Minister said a full assessment of financing can only be completed once the site has been identified. In the event borrowing is required, she added that there are favourable terms available. In answer to a further question, Deputy Susie Pinel advised that her Officers are carefully tracking interest rates so they could take advantage of the low rates, if needed, when borrowing money for
Deputy Carina Alves asked the Minister for Home Affairs, Len Norman to advise why the police are not wearing face masks when patrolling and coming into contact with members of the public at distances of less than 2 metres.
Constable Len Norman said the safety of the police is an absolute priority and the police are following local and national guidelines regarding the use of PPE. He added that masks are not deemed necessarily helpful when patrolling outside.
Deputy Kevin Pamplin asked the Health Minister, Richard Renouf to explain why healthcare workers are exempt from testing and isolation following contact with a person showing symptoms of COVID-19. The Minister for Health and Social Services said that testing for purposes of screening is voluntary. He added, that if any health care worker has symptoms of COVID-19, testing is mandatory.
Questions Without Notice
The Minister of Treasury and Resources, Susie Pinel and The Chief Minister, John Le Fondré faced 15 minutes of questions each from States Assembly Members.
Questions Without Notice to any Minister
Deputy Jess Perchard asked the Chief Minister John Le Fondré is he agreed that the likelihood of any spread of COVID is dictated by the control measures put in place.
The Chief Minister referenced much improved testing regimes which will allow improved tracking to help control the spread of COVID-19. When Deputy Perchard asked for a clear response to her questions, the Chief Minister stated that he acknowledged the direct connection to control measures and the spread and praised the efforts of Islanders for the part they have played in following guidance.
Deputy Steve Luce asked the Minister for the Environment, John Young to report any progress on a package to support the fishing industry.
The Environment Minister, John Young stated that his department are at the very final stage of putting this package together. He added the scheme, which has been in the system, is due to be approved either on the day of the Assembly or in the very near future, and once approval had come from the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lyndon Farnham. Deputy Young closed by stating his view on the importance of keeping fishing fleets in the water.
Deputy Mary Le Hegarat asked the Minister for Health and Social Services, Richard Renouf when will there be a testing facility in the harbour for when links to UK and Europe open and is there a timescale? The Minister told the Deputy that testing for the Harbour is in consideration, but his department have to receive results of the pilot first. He stated that measures will be put in place to scale up operations using the results of that.
The States Assembly then moved onto Public Business:
DRAFT AMENDMENT (No. 44) OF THE STANDING ORDERS OF THE STATES OF JERSEY
Deputy Rob Ward the Chair of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel presented proposed changes to the Standing Order of the States of Jersey to the Assembly. These proposed changes would update and clarify the responsibility for scrutinising matters relating to children and young people. The updates would also include which panels are responsible for Scrutiny of this matter. The aim of these changes is to increase the transparency of Scrutiny's role when holding the Minister for Children and Housing to account.
READ THE PROPOSAL HERE
The proposed changes to the Standing Order of the States of Jersey were ADOPTED
36 FOR vs 0 AGAINST
DRAFT AMENDMENT (No. 45) OF THE STANDING ORDERS OF THE STATES OF JERSEY
The Chair of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee, Senator Kristina Moore, then proposed changes to the structure of Scrutiny Panels. The changes would increase the number of Members that can sit on a panel from 4 to 5, including the Chair. The proposal would also remove the limitation on the number of panels Members can serve on at any one time. The changes aim to encourage involvement and engagement of as many Members as possible in the Scrutiny process.
READ THE PROPOSAL HERE
The Chair of the Scrutiny Panel Liaison Committee, Senator Kristina Moore's proposed changes to the structure of Scrutiny Panels was ADOPTED
41 FOR vs 0 AGAINST
Deputy Bailiff Robert McRae moved onto public business and it was proposed to the Assembly that the lodging period be reduced on the amendment to Deputy Kirsten Morel's Putting Jersey Businesses First.
Deputy Kirsten Morel spoke against reducing the lodging period. Deputy Jess Perchard was among other Members who supported Deputy Morel's view.
The Chief Minister, John Le Fondré asked Members to allow the amendment to be debated in the Assembly.
The Assembly members voted to ADOPT the reduction of the lodging period.
25 FOR vs 16 AGAINST - 1 ABSTENTION
Deputy Kirsten Morel then opted to defer his proposal to the next States Assembly sitting on 16th June 2020.
The States Assembly then moved onto the In-Committee debate on the Economic Island recovery plan.
IN COMMITTEE DEBATE
The States Assembly then began an In-Committee debate focusing on the Island's economic recovery plan following Coronavirus. Each Member was able to speak more than once, and ideas ranged from returning to traditional values to a focus on growing the digital sector in the Island.
The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lyndon Farnham opened the in-committee debate surrounding economic recovery. He noted that now is the time to put significant effort into the economic recovery. The Minister also stated the importance of targeting the most needed sectors and business to enable support. Additionally, The Deputy Chief Minister, Lyndon Farnham added that this pandemic has presented opportunities for substantial change and development. He noted that we needed it to "work for the whole of Jersey," and that no one sector should be disadvantaged. He added a system is needed that 'works for all'; and this should be guided by consultations with States Members, stakeholders and businesses. He ended the introduction to the debate by stating a strong sustainable and resilient economy for the whole Island and for future generations is needed.
The Minister for Children and Housing, Sam Mézec voiced his support for the debate. He encouraged Members to be being clear on the mission of this process and spoke of his hope that Island would emerge from this pandemic as a stronger community than the one that entered into the crisis.
There were a number of themes that emerged throughout the debate.
Deputy Rowland Huelin spoke about investment in digital industries with other Members such as Deputy Lindsay Ash and Senator Steve Pallett also speaking in support of this sector being central to the economic recovery.
Deputy Carina Alves spoke of the Island needing to look to less traditional methods, such as a 4-day working week. She referenced Microsoft's trial and an increase in 40% productivity. Deputy Louise Doublet also supported this and added she felt this could be beneficial for families.
Related to the topic of working from home, Constable Richard Vibert suggested that the Island Plan would need to be revisited and reworked as some additional office space in the plan may no longer be needed.
Deputy Jeremy Maçon suggested that while increased working from home had its benefits the risk of mental health issues arising from this should not be forgotten. He also added that more people working from home would have a negative impact on the economy of shops and business in town.
On this topic, Constable Simon Crowcroft suggested free parking in certain areas to encourage people back into the centre of St Helier. He also said increased licences for Alfresco dining would help local restaurants and Deputy John Young also spoke about this as an avenue which should be explored.
The Minister for the Environment, John Young, also spoke about investment in alternative, renewable energy sources as a route to explore. Constable Karen Stone also spoke about investments which promote environmental and sustainable ways of working.
Deputy Montfort Tadier, Constable Mike Jackson and Constable Chris Taylor all spoke about the investments in local agriculture and fisheries industries.
Deputy Kirsten Morel focused on life-long learning and a need to help Islanders develop their skills in digital and other sectors to build flexibility in our workforce. Deputy Mike Higgins and Deputy Rob Ward both added their views and support to this potential approach.
Affordable housing and construction were topics touched on my many members including Deputy Jess Perchard while Senator Ian Gorst stated that Jersey's model of being self-reliant financially is critical to the Island remaining self-reliant as a Government.
Deputy Kevin Pamplin said that we should not aim to return to how things were and added he believed "we can do better."
In his closing speech, the Minister for Economic Development, Lyndon Farnham thanked members for their input and reassured Members, particularly Senator Sam Mézec who had raised this concern, that Austerity was not an approach being considered.
Back to news