A top priority of the next Government must be dealing with the housing crisis. We are losing too many talented Islanders, including many of our young people, because they cannot afford to live in Jersey.
To increase supply, we must build affordable homes on States owned sites and enable developments on other appropriate sites. I successfully brought an amendment to the Island Plan to allow taller buildings in St Helier where these benefit the public realm. This gives us a greater chance of providing the homes we need, delivering more and better public amenities and protecting our green spaces.
The States should offer assistance through shared equity schemes and support for paying deposits to first time buyers. I have previously overseen successful schemes for both.
I support the introduction of tax incentives to ensure properties are not left empty for prolonged periods and the ban on foreign buy-to-let investments in the residential market. Priority also needs to be given within the Island to those purchasing their first home.
If elected, I would seek to use existing States investment funds to help pay for new housing developments and support affordable purchases.
We must support our Parish communities.
It is important that St Mary, St Ouen and St Peter remain as country parishes with minimal further development.
Where housing developments do proceed on suitable sites, I favour ensuring that Islanders with a parish connection are given priority for those homes.
The impact on our primary schools, and on any potential increase in traffic coming through our parishes, must be fully considered as part of any new developments, to ensure the infrastructure is in place to cope.
I am concerned at the speed at which some Islanders drive on our roads, notably the country lanes. Targeted police action should be taken to ensure that those who speed are brought to account and our roads kept safe for the majority of sensible drivers. Our roads are not racetracks.
I did not support the proposal for bollards along part of St Ouen’s bay. The area should be kept as natural and unspoilt as possible.
I understand that some Islanders wish to use their campervans in Jersey, but the situation at Le Port became out of control. All parts of the Five Mile Road must be accessible and open for the enjoyment of everyone. I will support efforts to find appropriate alternative arrangements for those who wish to use their campervans in Jersey.
If elected, I will ensure ongoing investment for our local youth clubs and be a supporter of our Honorary system of service, as I have always been.
We currently face a cost-of-living crisis which is making life hard for Islanders and families. Government must take action to help those who are struggling to make ends meet. Targeted assistance through the income support system should be used to help the most vulnerable through the coming months, especially with winter fuel bills.
We should be cutting fuel duty by 10p a litre and then freezing it for at least the next budget covering 2023. Alcohol duty should also be frozen for at least the next year. The proposed reduction in the de minimis for imported goods should be further postponed.
We must support business where necessary to ensure we become a living wage Island.
In recent years, I have been responsible for financial services, Jersey’s biggest industry. This core part of our economy remains strong and is growing, providing jobs for Islanders and revenue which funds our public services. We have refreshed our strategy for supporting the industry and updated our legislation, keeping us competitive. If elected, I will continue to represent the industry in our key markets, ensuring its ongoing success, and protecting livelihoods in the Island.
The industry is one of the best regulated in the world, and this must continue. I would like to steer the Island through our next international assessment, due in 2023, which is critical for the wellbeing of our economy. I have the experience and leadership needed to protect and promote good quality jobs for the future in Jersey.
Agriculture and Dairy
As External Relations Minister, I aim to promote Jersey’s international trade. This includes our world-class dairy products, our Jersey Royal potato, and other agricultural exports.
I will continue to support our dairy and agricultural industries to grow and attract markets. We must ensure the industry has access to staff through work permits and is enabled to increase its productivity with support from Government. Further short-term assistance must be available to deal with high inflation and the increased cost of doing business, including through access to business support grants and loans.
Tourism and Hospitality
Tourism must remain a key pillar of our economy. We have supported the industry through two years of Covid, and I hope a successful summer is coming. Tourism and hospitality are vital for Jersey, providing services which greatly enhance our standard of living. Again, we must be creative in supporting the sector to recruit and accommodate much needed seasonal staff.
We must encourage further diversification of our economy to promote digital businesses and creative industries. I have worked closely with Digital Jersey over the past four years to ensure we have a good variety of jobs for our young people and a more productive, broader economy.
We have negotiated new trade and investment agreements with high growth markets outside of Europe to bring trade and investment to Jersey. If elected, I will seek out new agreements to support growth and deliver more of these Investment Treaties for Jersey
I have always ensured that we support pensioners and will continue to do so, especially by reducing the tax burden, improving healthcare, housing and giving assistance with the increased cost of living.
In the past four years, I have supported work by the outgoing Constable of St Ouen to pass legislation for the regulation and greater protection of pensions in Jersey. This gives greater security for all of us who are receiving pensions or paying into them for the future.
The parishes have a key pastoral role. It is important that all parishioners, and particularly pensioners, feel that they are supported and valued by the parish and can access their parish representatives and support structures if they need to.
I have always campaigned to protect our countryside and coastline for current and future generations. I voted against the proposal to extend La Gigoulande quarry and would do so again. As Chief Minister I fully supported the purchase of the Plemont Headland in 2014 so it could be returned to nature.
No further or increased coastline development should be allowed in our Parishes and any development of green fields should be limited and carefully approached, preferably building on land which is adjacent to existing developments and is not otherwise commercially viable for agricultural use. Brown field sites should be utilised first.
I support sensible moves towards carbon neutrality and greater sustainability, but we shouldn’t be putting our own population at a disadvantage in doing so. Changes we make must be based on broad public consensus and proportionate for a small Island community.
We need people to come to Jersey to work in our industries and public services. The care sector, hospitality industry, and retail sector, as examples, would not be able to operate without inward migration.
We do need to ensure robust controls, and not always link work and permanent settlement. This is now easier to achieve post-Brexit, and we should be making greater use of work permits which allow people to come to Jersey to work for specified periods without necessarily also gaining the right of permanent settlement at the same time.
Guernsey have developed a successful population model, and as a strong supporter of inter-island co-operation, this is an area where we can learn from our sister Bailiwick.
Education spending has increased in recent years, but more needs to be delivered.
The services delivered by Highlands need a thorough review to ensure we extend skills training and that further and higher education in Jersey is joined up and delivering what our students need.
As Chief Minister, I ensured a fair system was in place for meeting the cost of university tuition. We face a similar challenge now with university living costs which needs to be addressed equitably.
Our care services for children and young people still face significant challenges. The recent report on Greenfields has highlighted this. These are our most vulnerable young people, in our care, and we must work as one to ensure they are safe and given the opportunity for a successful future that we all want for our own children.
Overdale is not my preferred location for the new hospital. Any decision to change course must be a high priority for a new Government. We should consider alternative options if they can be delivered quickly and at no additional cost.
I am very concerned at the proposed cost and borrowing for the hospital and will work for rigorous controls on spending to ensure the project is delivered as efficiently as possible and at no more than the £800 million projected spend.
Our everyday health services are facing great challenges, with too many delays and cancellations. Staff shortages can be addressed through providing better facilities and accommodation and ensuring we are paying our staff competitively.
I believe in providing as many facilities on Island as possible, but Islanders often benefit from accessing specialised treatment in the UK. This dual approach should continue, based on what is best for the patient.
Greater investment is needed in our adult and children mental health services to improve outcomes. Providing proper mental health support is crucial to the overall well-being of our community.
I am unconvinced that all of the proposed Jersey Care Model is appropriate for Jersey. I support greater care in the community, but this must be based on a sustainable and affordable model which is supported by our medical professionals.
I supported the proposition for reinstating rehabilitation services to the same level as were available at Samares Ward. The premature closure of this ward was not a decision which benefited Islanders.
I have consistently argued that States spending, and borrowing, is too high. We need to be more prudent and live within our means. If we can keep Jersey’s taxes low and internationally competitive, we will attract more business to create grow the economy and invest in the public services we need.
I have been a minority, often singular, voice on the Council of Ministers. Spending has increased by £200 million in the past four years, excluding Covid. That is unprecedented and unsustainable.
The Island has now committed itself to £1.7 billion of debt. I have brought two propositions to reduce debt, with only partial support from the Council of Ministers. If re-elected, I will prioritise controls on any further rises in spending, reduce our borrowing and seek to keep Islander’s money in their own pockets.
I support low, simple and competitive taxes. We should be looking to increase the thresholds before which Islanders pay tax, taking those on lower incomes out of tax all together, and move towards a reduction in the marginal rate of 1% over the next four years.
Other tax increases should be kept to a minimum to assist Islanders to navigate these challenging times. Social Security contributions should also remain frozen.
I will not support any rise in GST beyond 5% over the next four years. Exemptions must be carefully chosen to keep the tax broad, simple and low.
New global tax rules, which I am navigating Jersey through, may well lead to a short-term increase in revenue. This should be used to prevent any other tax increases for Islanders and reduce the burden on the already hard-pressed taxpayer.
I regret the loss of the Senators. I have always argued and voted to keep Senators and brought a proposition to the States to save the Senator. Unfortunately, it was not supported by a majority of Members. I continue to support the Island wide mandate and, if re-elected, I will bring another proposition early in the new States to ensure Senators return for the next election.
The new electoral system now means that the Connétable often remains the only link between a Parish and the States. This is the case in our district. I have always strongly supported the Constables remaining Members of the States and continue to do so.
I am sceptical as to the use of Citizens Assemblies/Panels, which tend to be dominated by narrow interest groups and unrepresentative of the Island as a whole. The States Assembly is our Citizens Assembly and, for all its faults, it is at least elected by the public and accountable to Islanders.
I have built strong relations with the UK Government, and with governments across Europe and in the Middle East and Africa. I am able to ensure that Jersey’s voice is heard loud and clear where and when it matters for the Island.
I have sought to navigate Jersey through the various challenges created by Brexit. Our relations with France became strained in 2021, but this was not of our making and standing up for Jersey’s interests always comes first. I will continue to work for improved and positive relationships with France and other partners.
I have ensured that Jersey has responded quickly and thoroughly to the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine. We have implemented sanctions against Russia and have ensured that Jersey cannot be used to support Russia’s invasion. We stand with Ukraine, against occupation and in favour of freedom.
The work of External Relations has numerous practical benefits for Islanders. External Relations led the successful consular re-patriation efforts in 2020 when we supported hundreds of Islanders to return home as the pandemic spread.
I often assist individual requests from Islanders who face difficulties overseas or in dealings with the UK Government. Our strong links usually enable resolutions to be reached.
If re-elected, I hope to continue building Jersey’s diplomatic, economic and cultural links across the world for the benefit of all in our community.