States Assembly 8 & 9 September 2020


8th September 2020

The States Assembly met on the 8 and 9 September for their first sitting after the summer break. The meeting was held virtually in order to adhere to Government guidelines which state there can be no gatherings of more than 40 people.

Oral Questions

Topics covered in the 2 hours of oral questions included, the potential impact of compulsory house purchases, the closure of Broad Street, payment for States Employees who travel to green countries which change during October half term and the wearing of face coverings in Jersey.

Senator Kristina Moore asked for the cost per square metre of the new hospital. The Deputy Chief Minister, Lyndon Farnham answered and stated that a confidential briefing had been given to Scrutiny but that sharing the estimated costs at this time could adversely affect the potential costs that are being negotiated at this time.

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The Minister for Education, Tracey Vallois and the Chief Minister John Le Fondré then faced 15 minutes of questions without notice.

The Minister for Education, Tracey Vallois answered questions about staff turnover, the closure of schools for Battle of Britain and the recent report on recruitment and retention of teaching staff in the Island.

The Chief Minister, John Le Fondré answered questions including one about closing border with the UK following the rise in Coronavirus cases.  

An hour of Questions without Notice to all Ministers followed, topics included the Jersey Care Model, borrowing to assist economic recovery, the reopening of Social Security to face to face visitors and the issuance of licenses for new taxi drivers.

Statements 

The Minister for Home Affairs, Len Norman made a statement regarding the response of Home Affairs services to Covid-19, expressing his thanks to all emergency and frontline services for their "service, dedication and commitment" during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Read the full statement HERE

Public Business

The first item up for debate was the DRAFT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY (RENTED DWELLINGS) (LICENSING) (JERSEY) REGULATIONS 201- (P.106/2019): SECOND AMENDMENT

The Minister for the Environment, John Young proposed the regulations and highlighted that this proposal has been ongoing for a long period of time and that he wanted to ensure it moved forward to introduce safeguards for people in rented accommodation.

Read the proposal HERE

Deputy of St Peter, Rowland Huelin spoke against the proposal and used the example of Newham Council and the cost of introducing and enforcing licenses and the following low number of convictions.

Senator Sam Mézec spoke about the importance of the regulations and said that there are many landlords who would be happy to introduce the regulations.

The States Assembly voted to REJECT the proposal

RESULTS: 

20 FOR vs 24 AGAINST – 1 ABSTENTION


The States then debated the, DRAFT TAXATION (IMPLEMENTATION) (INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPLIANCE) (MANDATORY DISCLOSURE RULES FOR CRS AVOIDANCE ARRANGEMENTS AND OPAQUE OFFSHORE STRUCTURES) (JERSEY) REGULATIONS 202-

The Minister for External Relations, Ian Gorst made a proposal which would introduce regulations around data management for offshore fund administrators.

Read the proposal HERE

Very little debate followed and the States Assembly voted to ADOPT the proposal

RESULTS:

39 FOR vs 0 AGAINST

 

The next item was FIRST TOWER PARK: PROTECTION FROM STATES' DEVELOPMENT

Constable Simon Crowcroft briefly spoke on his proposal but withdrew it from debate due to the site being removed from the Hospital site shortlist.


Following this, the States Assembly debated LES ECRÉHOUS AND LES MINQUIERS: PROHIBITION OF THE LANDING OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS (P.94/2020) – AMENDMENT (P.94/2020 AMD.) – AMENDMENT

The Constable of St Martin, Karen Stone then accepted the amendments from the Constable of Grouville, John Le Maistre and the Deputy of St Martin, Steve Luce on her proposal to ban the landing of dogs and other domestic animals on the Les Ecréhous. The amendments introduced a framework which could allow the same rules to be applied to Les Minquiers if deemed necessary by the Minister for the Environment and then approved by Scrutiny.

Read the proposal HERE

The Minister for the Environment, John Young spoke on the proposal. He stated he had been happy to work with the Constables and Deputy on this proposition and that it would help protect the wildlife on the reefs.

The States Assembly voted to ADOPT the proposal

RESULTS:

45 FOR vs 0 AGAINST


The next item to be debated was DRAFT COMMUNITY COSTS BONUS (JERSEY) REGULATIONS 202-

The Minister for Social Security, Judy Martin then proposed the increase in the Community Costs Bonus which would increase increased from £226.95 to £258.25 to bring it in line with the cost of living.

Read the proposal HERE

The States Assembly voted to ADOPT the proposal

RESULTS:

43 FOR vs 0 AGAINST


The Assembly then moved onto DRAFT COVID-19 (SOCIAL SECURITY – REDUCTION OF CONTRIBUTION RATES) (JERSEY) REGULATIONS 202

The Assistant Minister for Social Security, Scott Wickenden presented the proposal which would see 2% decrease in social security contributions for employees and the self-employed. The proposal is part of the fiscal stimulus package which aims to help people and businesses to recover from the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Read the proposal HERE

Deputy Steve Ahier spoke against the proposal and said that it is not helping businesses or business owners who have been affected by the pandemic.

The Chief Minister, John Le Fondré spoke in support of the proposal, highlighting the role of this in the long-term economic recovery plan.

Other Members, including Senator Kristina Moore and Constable of St Mary, John Le Bailly spoke on the measures and stated that they believed the money being spent should target the needy and that measures such as these may be giving money to people who are not in need. 

The States Assembly voted to ADOPT the proposal as amended

RESULTS:

40 FOR vs 5 AGAINST


Prior to the lunch break on 9 September 2020, the Assembly voted on CI LOTTERY - ALLOCATION OF 2018 BALANCE

The Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Montfort Tadier then proposed that the remaining balance of £374,112 from the 2018 CI Lottery be allocated to the Association of Jersey Charities to continue its grants programme.

Read the proposal HERE

The States Assembly quickly voted to ADOPT the proposal

RESULTS:

44 FOR vs 0 AGAINST


Deputy Geoff Southern then made the MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE AND PRODUCTIVITY SUPPORT proposal.

Deputy Southern's proposal was made in 2 parts and asked for the minimum wage to be increased to £8.66 per hour from 1st April 2021. He also asked the Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lyndon Farnham to introduce a Productivity Support Scheme for low-pay sectors in line with what was proposed in the government plan 2020-2023.

Read the proposal HERE

The Chief Minister John Le Fondré spoke in support of part B of the proposal but rejected part A.

Deputy Lindsay Ash, said he supported the idea but not at a time when businesses are on a knife edge. Deputy Montfort Tadier followed this and stated that there would never be a good time to increase the minimum wage. He also spoke about how the lowest paid workers were the ones society relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Kirsten Morel noted that Jersey has an income inequality problem and that the minimum wage situation does need to change and said he felt it was imperative to vote in favour of the proposal.

The States Assembly  voted to REJECT part A of the proposal asking to increase the minimum wage

RESULTS:

21 FOR vs 24 AGAINST - 1 ABSTENTION

The States Assembly voted to REJECT part B of the proposal which asked the Minister for Economic Development to introduce a Productivity Support Scheme for low-pay sectors.

RESULTS:

45 FOR vs 0 AGAINST - 0 ABSTENTION


MILLBROOK PLAYING FIELDS AND ADJACENT AGRICULTURAL FIELDS TO THE NORTH: PROTECTION FROM DEVELOPMENT

The Constable of St Lawrence withdrew her proposal following the removal of the site from the Hospital shortlist.

Read the proposal HERE

The Assembly then heard from the Health Minister, Richard Renouf who proposed DRAFT COVID-19 (AMENDMENTS – EXTENSION, SUSPENSION AND REPEAL) (JERSEY) REGULATIONS 202-

The Health and Social Services Minister, Richard Renouf asked the States Assembly to vote on the extension of the emergency laws brought in to allow the Assembly to quickly and effectively draft new laws and regulations in response to any further outbreaks of Covid-19. The proposal also included necessary safeguards to limit the Government's power to interfere with the lives of Islanders. If approved the new expiration date of these regulations would be 30th April 2021.

Read the proposal HERE

Deputy Mike Higgins voiced his concern on the length of the extension period.

The Health and Social Services Minister, Richard Renouf then presented the regulations of the proposal to the Assembly as amended. Members voted on the parts of the proposal in groups and individually.

Deputy Rob Ward of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel then proposed an amendment which asked for an extension  until 30th April 2021 on the regulation which gave the Bailiff powers to cancel any public event in a bid to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Read the amended proposal HERE

The States Assembly voted to ADOPT the amendment.

The States Assembly then moved to vote on the Regulations proposed by the Health Minister

The States Assembly voted to ADOPT the proposal

RESULTS: 

42 FOR vs 0 AGAINST


The final proposal for the day was the DRAFT COVID-19 (ENABLING PROVISIONS) (AMENDMENT) (JERSEY) LAW 202-

Richard Renouf, the Minister for Health asked the States Assembly to vote on the extension of emergency powers which enable the States Assembly to draft Emergency laws in response to Covid-19 until 31st July 2021.

Read the proposal HERE

The States Assembly voted to ADOPT/REJECT the proposal

RESULTS: 

44 FOR vs 0 AGAINST



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