The Institute of Directors (IoD) welcomes the “action, not words” attitude of the new States of Guernsey.
Since the election of the new political assembly 100 days ago, there has been progress in a number of key areas, most notably the successful outcome of Guernsey’s Brexit negotiations, where the Bailiwick has:
- secured its centuries-old constitutional rights
- maintained membership of the WTO
- established a new customs agreement to maintain free trade
- retained important ‘third country’ status for the Bailiwick’s financial services sector
- put in place a new fishing licensing scheme to allow continued access to Guernsey’s waters
This is an extremely positive outcome and underlines how effectively this assembly has worked with key civil servants to get the job done.
There has also been a review of the Bailiwick’s financial position and an important review of capital expenditure, which has resulted in:
- each Committee being asked to prioritise their top 3 projects
- the approval of a £60m capital project budget for urgent repairs to sea walls and sea defences helping maintaining key infrastructure which is a top priority for our members
- an increase in P&R’s discretionary spend from £2m to £5m to speed up the delivery of smaller projects
- greater collaboration and communication between Committees to deliver more coherent, aligned policies across the States
This approach is aimed to focus expenditure and effort on areas that will generate the greatest results for the Bailiwick and we look forward to seeing the outcome of this prioritisation process.
The new assembly has also introduced the ‘Guernsey Expects’ policy, which ensures the highest calibre independent members are appointed to each States Committee. This is another key priority for our members, who want to see greater engagement between government and the business community.
The addition of non-States members on each of the Committees was something our members felt would make a real difference, and we are delighted to see the addition of Mark Thompson to the Department for Employment and Social Security and Tony Mancini to the Department for Economic Development.
Our members also highlighted the importance of full fibre broadband rollout across the island. This is a key priority for this Assembly and, with talks ongoing with the major telecoms providers, our members are keen to see a plan, and timescales, for delivery. We will continue to press for progress in this area.
The topic of air links is another key member priority and, as a key strategic asset to the Bailiwick, we look forward to further engaging with P&R on how Aurigny can deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable links to the Bailiwick, once travel is resumed.
Finally, we are pleased to note that a policy letter is due in Q1 for the seafront enhancement project, which will look to establish a Development Authority. We, and our members, are very supportive of this approach - as this is an important enabling structure to deliver large, complex infrastructure projects.
Our members believe that the States need to be decisive and act with determination and speed. In these difficult times this is more important than ever - and we, along with the other business groups, will continue to work with the States to enable them to make policy decisions based on information and evidence from the wider business community.