The Government is proposing to debate its approach to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the States Assembly on Tuesday, 2 June.
Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, has asked for an In-Committee Debate on the economic recovery to give States Members an early opportunity to discuss the issue and contribute their views.
In his Report, published ahead of the In-Committee debate, Senator Farnham set out the Government’s ‘Respond, Recover and Renew’ strategy to managing the economic impact of COVID-19.
In the Respond phase, which began alongside the ‘Stay at Home’ health instruction, the Government prioritised financial support to households and businesses through a range of measures. These included the Payroll Co-Funding Scheme, the Business Disruption Loan Guarantee Scheme, the COVID Related Emergency Support Scheme (CRESS) and deferrals of GST and Social Security contributions.
In the current Recover phase, the Government is considering what timely, targeted and temporary fiscal stimulus measures should be introduced to ‘kickstart’ the economy. A similar path was followed in response to the 2007-08 global financial crisis with an allocation of £44 million of stimulus monies, approved by the States Assembly at the time through P.55/2009.
The final phase of the Government’s approach to the economy is Renewal. The Government Plan 2020-23 recognised some shortcomings in economic progress and the need for the Government to focus on a more inclusive and sustainable growth agenda. Ministers have asked officers to put in place the organisational framework to support this phase of recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
In April, the Chief Minister established a new Economic Recovery Political Oversight Group, which he chairs, comprising Ministers, senior officials and external business representatives, to provide governance and oversight over the work.
The Political Oversight Group will be advised by a new Economic Council of experts from inside and outside Government and supported by a high-level working group of officers from across the Government. The Council, chaired by Senator Farnham, will contribute to economic stimulus proposals for Ministers to consider by the end of June and a framework of proposals for the future economy for Ministers to consider by September.
A separate, but related review of public finances is also underway to develop proposals to pay for the Coronavirus emergency and economic stimulus measures, so that Jersey can return to a sustainable and balanced public funding position in the medium term.
Senator Farnham said: “The measures that the Government put in place to protect Islanders from COVID-19 have been very successful, but they have come at a significant cost to the wellbeing and livelihoods of Islanders and Island businesses.
“The Government must now therefore develop proposals that will be equally successful in restoring the health of our economy, both in injecting a timely, temporary and targeted stimulus to businesses and in developing a more diverse, inclusive, productive and sustainable economy for the long term.”
The scope of economic recovery work includes:
- Identifying, evaluating and prioritising ideas that form the cornerstones of inclusive economic recovery e.g. national productivity strategy
- Identifying and considering future challenges to Jersey’s ‘foundation economy’ (agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, retail, hospitality, construction and those sectors providing goods and services to them e.g. freight forwarding and wholesale) e.g. long-term changes in consumer behaviour, and how the Government can support them through carefully-targeted interventions
- Identifying and considering opportunities in the ‘new economy’ (financial services, digital, telecoms and other services less dependent on local physical custom) including new sectors and markets
- Evaluating the ease of doing business with the Government and associated bodies (e.g. regulators) with a view to improving competitiveness, while maintaining Jersey’s position vis-à-vis international standards
- Researching, evaluating and recommending successful policies implemented elsewhere
- Facilitating the best possible outreach to business sectors, employee representatives and charity enterprises
- Identifying, developing and evaluating actionable sector-specific initiatives (e.g. hospitality) and thematic initiatives (e.g. productivity)
- Reviewing available data within the Island and considering new metrics that can support better decision-making
- Considering a new delivery and performance framework to report across key economic and societal deliverables.
Government of Jersey News Release.