The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel has lodged four amendments to the Council of Ministers’ proposed Government Plan 2022-25, requesting that:
- Borrowing for the Fiscal Stimulus Fund (set up to assist Jersey’s economic recovery from Covid-19 in 2021) is reduced by £20.359 million. This aims to ensure that unjustified borrowing beyond the £20 million already committed to specific projects does not take place and any future timely, temporary and targeted solutions are considered by the Assembly.
- The £20 million Technology Fund is removed from the Government Plan. In not specifying the purpose, terms and winding up clauses of the Technology Fund in the Government Plan, the Panel believes that the Council of Ministers has not met the Public Finances Law’s requirements for establishing a fund and the Fiscal Policy Panel’s recommendation that ‘no further funds should be shown without strong rationale’.
- A higher Stamp Duty rate for buy-to-let investment properties, second homes and holiday homes, be introduced no later than 31 December 2022. The Panel has requested a review to determine a specific rate and implement legislation, however, it is intended that this amendment will help to reduce demand for property by prioritising owner-occupiers and first-time buyers.
- The proposed increase of Impôt Duty on wines and spirits by 5% is reduced to 2.5% and applied to all alcohol, in turn decreasing the revenue raised by £231,000. This amendment aims to keep duty broad, simple and fair and take into account the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector by increasing duty to 1% below the June 2021 rate of inflation (3.5%).
Chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, Senator Kristina Moore, said: “After thorough examination of the Government Plan and questioning of Ministers, we have proposed a series of amendments which look to improve the way taxpayers’ money is spent over the next four years. We hope the Council of Ministers will support our amendments which aim to assist in addressing the increased demand for housing in Jersey, the uncertain cost of living for Islanders and seeks to ensure that spending of public funds is put to best use.”
The proposed Government Plan 2022-25 and subsequent amendments will be debated by the States Assembly during the States Meeting commencing Monday 13 December 2021.
Scrutiny Press Release.