This will soon be written out more carefully, but this is a first shot, says daniel at 15.15 on Friday
It may not be as bad as all that, provided we clear the myths and lies away and have a proper discussion.
employment – providing good, useful, sustainable jobs for those who are here, whilst not growing the population – issues here around work permits etc.
Some expenditure leads to savings – like energy efficiency, so it can be financed by borrowing, we can even borrow from ourselves. If we borrow from tthe £600 million in our own Strategic Reserve to pump-prime investment in insulating buildings across the island, how can we lose? We need a coordinated policy across the board to achieve this – creating a stable and assured market, ensuring quality control, training for all skill levels in the energy efficiency and generation sectors.
Note that all this requires forward thinking . Is this the feeling you get as you watch the Low Value Consignment Relief shipwreck unfold? “It was good whilst it lasted” – but surely Jersey can provide its residents with better, more fulfilling, more useful and more sustainable jobs than this?
Our very very low public sector expenditure gives us wiggle-room Just as Senator Ozouf rightly spent money into the recession via the Fiscal Package, so we can do the same again. Government can take on the role of keeping people in work, or enabling and stimulating that to happen, for example with the island-wide building insulation scheme mentioned above. Further ahead, we should be far more proactive in getting on with harnessing wind and wave power. The market for energy is rather more secure than the market for tax-dodging CD’s.
Of course people in work means that instead of paying out benefits, the States are collecting taxes. What are we waiting for?
Similarly, there is absolutely nothing stopping us from spending more on health. In fact we will have to. In order to keep the costs of health within the bounds of affordability, (and the costs will inevitably rise with the increasing costs of treatment and the ageing population) there will have to be more effort put into prevention – helping us all to become more healthy. In the short term this too is an area of new employment.
Just as with energy efficiency, spending soon saves vastly more expense later.
But still, where is the money coming from? How can we raise more in a fair way? Because, make no mistake the backlog is so huge that one way or another taxes and charges will increase in the years ahead. Here are some possible ways:
iik’s paying a little bit more. I do not have the figures at my finger-tips but their tax rate is a tiny fraction of what the rest of us pay. Is this right? Could they not contribute a bit more?
or Social Security payments by employees above the ceiling. This was going to be introduced, but was withdrawn recently by the treasury Minister as we ‘did not need the money’ though he did say it would return later.
or a windfall tax on the value of land when it is rezoned. This would not be a regular predictable source of income, says the Treasury Minister, but the sums involved are very large indeed and not to be sniffed at – after the 2002 Island Plan certain land rose in value an estimated £50 million. Why should those few landowners become instant millionaires for simply owning a piece of land which happens to switch from agricultural to building land?
Some States members have called for a full study into just exactly how progressive our overall tax and benefit system is, and how our overall tax rates compare with competitors.