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Three weeks later... Economic Council remains incomplete

Three weeks later... Economic Council remains incomplete

Friday 19 June 2020

Three weeks later... Economic Council remains incomplete

The membership of a council of business experts tasked with advising Ministers on how Jersey's economy should overcome the largest challenge it has ever faced is still yet to be finalised - nearly three weeks after its creation was first announced.

Amid warnings from leaders across sectors that every day without a viable recovery plan could mean more pain for the island in the wake of the pandemic, Express understands the Economic Council is only due to have its first meeting today.

But this is despite a government spokesperson confirming that all the members who will sit on the Council have still not been appointed. 

The Council is one of two key groups created by government to help shape the island's future, as it tries to rebuild the economy in the wake of the virus crisis under a strategy named 'Respond, Recover, Renew'.

Political Oversight Group

Pictured: The economic recovery organisational framework.

The Council will support the work of the 'Political Oversight Group', which is made up of a small group of senior ministers, senior civil servants, and four people from the business community: Wendy Martin (CVC), Andrew Mclaughlin (RBSi), John Riva (KPMG) and Gerald Voisin (Voisins). 

“Whilst the Economic Recovery POG has a narrower membership, the Economic Council’s is wider, which includes a number of people from a diverse array of backgrounds and industries,” the spokesperson said.

“This membership is yet to be finalised but could include a High Value Resident.”.

The creation of both the POG and the Council was announced on 1 June as part of the Government’s ‘Respond, Recover and Renew’ plans for the recovery of the island’s economy.

meeting presentation work

Pictured: Neither group has met yet.

The Government says that the scope of the economic recovery work will include:

  • "Identifying, evaluating and prioritising ideas that form the cornerstones of inclusive economic recovery e.g. national productivity strategy.
  • Identifying and considering future challenges to Jersey’s ‘foundation economy’ (agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, retail, hospitality, construction and those sectors providing goods and services to them e.g. freight forwarding and wholesale) e.g. long-term changes in consumer behaviour, and how the Government can support them through carefully-targeted interventions.
  • Identifying and considering opportunities in the ‘new economy’ (financial services, digital, telecoms and other services less dependent on local physical custom) including new sectors and markets.
  • Evaluating the ease of doing business with the Government and associated bodies (e.g. regulators) with a view to improving competitiveness, while maintaining Jersey’s position vis-à-vis international standards.
  • Researching, evaluating and recommending successful policies implemented elsewhere.
  • Facilitating the best possible outreach to business sectors, employee representatives and charity enterprises.
  • Identifying, developing and evaluating actionable sector-specific initiatives (e.g. hospitality) and thematic initiatives (e.g. productivity).
  • Reviewing available data within the Island and considering new metrics that can support better decision-making.
  • Considering a new delivery and performance framework to report across key economic and societal deliverables."

But three weeks after the announcement, neither group has formally met. The POG has met in only in its “shadow form” but its terms of reference have yet to be approved.

“The POG will have oversight of economic recovery planning and to ensure a broad consensus of ideas is evaluated and tabled for consideration as part of the Government Plan process,” a Government spokesperson said. 

At this stage, the Government has not committed to publishing the minutes of the POG’s meetings.

They simply said the matter will be discussed once the Group is formally constituted.

The Economic Council's first meeting today comes weeks after different members of the Council of Ministers put forward their visions for Jersey's economic recovery in the coming years.

In a live press briefing in mid-May, Assistant Treasury Minister Senator Ian Gorst announced that he, the Treasury Minister and Economic Development Minister would be bringing forward a “bold” new package of measures to “get the economy out of the doldrums” and “put money back into islanders’ pockets”, including reduced taxes, large-scale infrastructure projects and promotion of green lifestyles.

But there later appeared to be some backtracking from this stance, with the Treasury Minister striking a blow to the idea of the trio imminently announcing a recovery plan by stating that Senator Gorst was simply sharing his own views.

Weeks later, Reform Jersey then put forward their own 'New Deal', which include free primary health care, taxing all businesses and writing off household debts.

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Posted by Mick The Geezer on
Whats the matter with you guys? Lash out a few million quid and get a gang of advisers and consultants from the mainland.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
"This membership is yet to be finalised but could include a High Value Resident.” ~ so we all know where this group is heading ~ further away from the normal guy/girl in the street. Who's going to be paying more ..... probably NOT the High Value Mob.
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