VIEWS OF A STATES MEMBER – Feb 19

Before considering this month’s States Agenda I comment briefly on other matters that I believe are relevant. I am not though going to dwell on Brexit. The Island has made and is making provisions relating to Brexit as best it can. It is a monumental issue that is of paramount importance.

I comment thus on other issues. In no particular order they are:

(1)    A new electricity cable link to Jersey. When the current cable was laid it was expected to last 25-30 years. That has not proven to be the case. There have been serious faults in 2012, 2015 and last Autumn which means it cannot be relied upon. Thus Guernsey Electricity are taking steps to lay a new cable. It is unlikely that will be fully operative until the Summer of 2020. In the meantime, because more electricity has to be generated locally, there is an extra cost of many hundreds of thousands of pounds per month. In addition we will a few years hence need to lay a cable directly to France at a cost of around £100 million. The Island thus faces much infrastructure costs, some of which are unexpected.

(2)    Aurigny. With the concerns over Flybe, Aurigny will need to be prepared to step in. That is much easier said than done. The present Chairman’s term of office soon ends. I am aware that the steps will be taken soon to advertise for applicants for his successor. I express my own view that the reality is that Aurigny is likely to have to provide most of our regular flying needs in the future. Also I have seen the 2018 air passenger figures. They are the lowest since 1995.

(3)    That takes me to our economy generally. By most standards we seem to be fine. The reality may be different. We are complacent as a jurisdiction. The truth is we are seen to be second choice to Jersey. There is little office or hotel development. There is more and more cost and regulation. There is a lack of impetus and confidence. We are still slicing the salami which cannot be done for much longer.

I now refer briefly to certain issues before the February States Meeting.

There are ten Road Traffic Speed Limit Regulations. These limit the speed limit to 25 mph in various roads. These can only be debated if the Bailiff is approached before the meeting to give permission. I have no idea whether such a request will be made. I hope not, otherwise we will be debating whether 25 mph is appropriate for L’Aumone. I see it as part of a general social engineering policy, but the time to resolve that is at the next election.

The other item I would comment upon is the Policy Letter from the Committee for Health and Social Care on Health and Care Regulation in the Bailiwick. I am likely to be in a very small minority who oppose it. I regard it as another example of big government. In my opinion it just brings in another and unnecessary level of bureaucracy. The cost is anticipated to be £368,000 per annum of which £272,000 is said to be additional cost. Small beer some will say with a Government spend of around £400 million. My response is that it is a recurring expense, which is likely to increase and in any event is not necessary. The States though will pass it overwhelmingly.

Until the next time – Kind regards,

Deputy Peter Ferbrache

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