2014 looks like it’s going to be a numbers game. We’ve started the year with a net annual immigration limit of 325 people (which we last bettered in 2004), and at least a couple of thousand people unemployed.
Those two numbers are certain to come up time and again in the ultimate numbers game, the States elections, which take place in the autumn.
Immigration, and its knock-on effect on school places, hospital services, house prices, and jobs will be found more frequently in candidates’ manifestos than hollow statements like, ‘We must support our tourism industry’, or ‘I oppose taxes’.
In this issue of Connect we ask if actually the skills people have are more important than the simple number of them coming in? On page 12, you’ll find two local recruitment specialists who believe that the Island has jobs to fill, but not the people to fill them, despite the number of people registered as unemployed.
Describing cancer as a ‘numbers game’ would be deeply one-dimensional; but the statistics both for contracting cancer, and for surviving it, are an important part of the story you’ll find on page 34. Rob Kirkby is a well-known figure in the local financial services industry, and in this issue he details the inspirational story of his fight through bowel cancer, in his late-thirties. It’s a story about family, friendships and investing time in those around you.
Finally, from the perspective of retailers, whichever way you look at the numbers, the picture is a tough one. We have an increasing population, but fewer people shopping in St Helier; a lower sales tax rate than the UK or France, but higher than you commonly find online. The problem is obvious, the solution less so. On page 26 a retail marketing expert looks at it from a communications point of view, and concludes it’s all in the delivery.
Connect exists to tell your stories; if you have ideas for features please do e-mail them to [email protected].
James Filleul Editor