The Government Work Plan (GWP) was debated at the July 2023 States meeting but that was only a green paper (for discussion only, no amendments).
The true debate about the island’s priorities will be at the States meeting that starts on the 17 October 2023 (new date, was 18 October). A revised, amendable version of the GWP will be discussed alongside a ten-year Funding and Investment Plan (options to raise the revenue needed) and the Capital Portfolio (which infrastructure projects can go ahead).
This landmark meeting will determine what this States wants to spend money on and how they intend to raise the revenue to pay for it. It throws up huge and challenging decisions about GST and borrowing – or cutting plans to the bone instead.
The debate has been delayed several times. Originally it was due at the June meeting, then July, then the 27 Sept meeting, now it’s happening in October.
Where to start
1. Funding & Investment Plan (options to raise the revenue needed over the next ten years):
Start with the F&I Plan as it’s new, whereas the GWP was debated in draft form in July. P&R and States Comms are trying hard to communicate the three funding options in layperson’s terms. So the best place to start is definitely the Public Finances section of ‘ourfuture.gg‘ which has graphics and an informative FAQ section.
For a good media summary of the F&I Plan, see Bailiwick Express’s article here.
2. Government Work Plan (what’s going to be delivered in this political term):
The GWP policy letter has two public-friendly GWP summaries in the appendices. Firstly, there a Monitoring Report that sets out the GWP progress so far. Then there’s a summary of the new GWP, listing the work that has been prioritised under each of three ‘strategic portfolios’.
Housing is a clear focal point. Overall, committee presidents seem to be happy with their work plans, as negotiated with P&R. The GWP also has its own page on gov.gg’s Our Future website.
3. Capital portfolio (infrastructure projects over the next ten years):
The two main infrastructure projects are the Education Transformation Programme and the Hospital – Phase 2 and these are specifically mentioned in summaries of the F&I Plan. But if you want to dig deeper into all the other capital projects, you’ll need Annex 2 of the F&I report.
Deputy Murray has written a good summary of which capital projects are included in each of the three funding scenarios here.
It’s too early for amendments to be lodged as yet but Education has already announced that it will be seeking to amend the GWP to provide more funding for the Sports Strategy.
To dive into the detail, here are the policy letters in full:
Independent panel created to oversee fiscal policy (15 Aug, BBC Guernsey)
States in talks to fund new housing at Bridge (19 Aug, Guernsey Press)
P&R seek support to invest in housing and flood defences at the Bridge (19 Aug, Bailiwick Express)
P&R warns of rising costs as it backs sports strategy review (21 Aug, Bailiwick Express)
Editor: States must get serious over GWP (22 Aug, Guernsey Press)
States set to build 400 homes in five years (22 Aug, Guernsey Press)
Committee asks for £300k budget boost to save Guernsey’s long-term sport strategy (23 Aug, ITV Channel)
Pulling in the same direction: Committee presidents’ response to P&R Policy Letter (26 Aug, Bailiwick Express)
Home Affairs President voices support for P&R reset (28 Aug, Bailiwick Express)
Commissions urge States to back Active 8 amendment (28 Aug, Guernsey Press)
Tax reform and borrowing seen as prime way to make island sustainable (5 Sep, Bailiwick Express)
Smaller outlets have “significant concerns” with GST (5 Sep, Bailiwick Express)
Meerveld agrees to scale back anti-GST protests (5 Sep, Guernsey Press)
P&R taking GST proposal to the States for a third time (6 Sep, Guernsey Press)
‘Fairer alternative’ leaders disappointed by third GST bid (7 Sep, Guernsey Press)
P&R finance plans out (11 Sep, Bailiwick Express)
Are you prepared to do what is right for the island?’ (11 Sep, Guernsey Press)
GST will not damage small businesses, P&R says (14 Sep, Bailiwick Express)
Roffey: Hobson’s choice? (14 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Claims GST will damage small businesses are untrue – Helyar (15 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Island could end up being £1bn. in debt (18 Sep, Guernsey Press)
We were right to avoid extra borrowing earlier in term – P&R (18 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Editor: True cost of borrowing must be clear (18 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Murray: A bridge too far? (19 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Hopes grow to export wind power (19 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Chance to grill President over funding plans (21 Sep, Bailiwick Express)
States likely to miss its own savings target of £10m. a year minimum (21 Sep, Guernsey Press)
‘Say no to GST’ red ribbon campaign gets resurrected (21 Sep, Guernsey Press)
Peter Ferbrache ‘has his say’ on Facebook (21 Sep, Guernsey Press)
States finances ‘better than expected’ (26 Sep, BBC Guernsey)
States media releases
Short delay to publication (10 Aug)
Fiscal Policy Panel to independently assess F&I plan (14 Aug)
Revised GWP for October debate (18 Aug)
Educations’ Sports Strategy amendment (18 Aug)
50% of small businesses won’t need to register for GST (12 Sep)
States’ 2023 financial position likely to be better than expected (26 Sep)