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Category: States Assembly

Delivery of Phased Hospital Within Budget Cannot be Guaranteed

Jan 30, 2023

The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel (the Panel) held a Quarterly Public Hearing to question the Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Ian Gorst.

When asked about financing the Hospital, the Minister explained that it would be ‘foolhardy’ to give the Panel a definitive guarantee that the cost of the new phased plan for the Hospital would not exceed the previous plan’s agreed cost. However, the Panel heard that the new phased planning approach is being used to mitigate the risk of overspending: ‘One of the ways we should mitigate risk is to take a phased approach where we build developments when we know we can afford them, and we have the finances in place and move onto the next stage.’ The Minister added: ‘there is great uncertainty with any capital programme at this point in the economic cycle.’ 

In relation to measures being taken to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, the Panel heard: 

•    Despite widespread communication efforts informing the public of the availability of the Community Costs Bonus, uptake of the bonus has been lower than expected. The Assistant Minister for Treasury & Resources, Deputy Elaine Millar, encourages those who are eligible to continue to come forward. 

•    No plan is currently in place to implement measures to help ease mortgage pressures. The Minister explained: ‘the work the Economics Unit have been doing with mortgage providers and the banking community has indicated that the great proportion of Islanders were on fixed-rate mortgages’ and therefore implementing easing measures ‘wouldn’t be a sensible intervention at this point in time’. 

•    In relation to relief for small businesses to increasing inflation levels, the Panel questioned the Minister on whether consideration is being given to potentially increase the current £300,000 turnover threshold for small businesses to register with the Tax Office. The Minister’s response was that the current £300,000 turnover threshold ‘is reasonable and generous.’ 

Deputy Sam Mézec, Chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, said: “We thank the Minister and his Officers for their responses to our questions. We will continue to closely scrutinise the major capital expenditure that is Hospital financing. The Panel looks forward to regular updates from the Minister on emerging developments aimed at helping to ease pressures bought by the rising cost of living. Furthermore, the Panel echoes the Assistant Treasury Minister, Deputy Millar, in calling all those eligible to apply for the Community Cost Bonus to come forward.’ 

A full recording of the public hearing can be watched here

States Assembly Press Notice

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