Saturday 13 August 2022
Select a region
News

FOCUS: How might the new Gov help with rising cost of living?

FOCUS: How might the new Gov help with rising cost of living?

Monday 27 June 2022

FOCUS: How might the new Gov help with rising cost of living?

Monday 27 June 2022


One of the most pressing matters that the new Council of Ministers will be keen to address - if election issues are anything to go by - is the rising cost of living.

The current inflation rate is 6%, which means that the average cost of items such as fuel and food is rising at the fastest rate in more than a decade.

In the UK, where Jersey sources most of its goods, it is 9.1%, and the Bank of England has warned it could rise to 11% in the next few months.

The reasons are global - including the war in Ukraine and shortages of certain basic commodities such as wheat, coffee and cotton - however, Jersey has some levers in terms of how islanders are taxed.

The Consumer Council's view

The Jersey Consumer Council has been campaigning for months for the Government to take action, although the previous Council was reluctant to take up its recommendations.

Reflecting on last week’s election, JCC Chairman Carl Walker said: “There is certainly more hope of action than there was before. 

“Earlier this year, Kristina Moore, who may be the next Chief Minister, proposed increasing the Community Bonus Scheme by 8%, so we will hopefully see some meaningful steps taken.”

Kristina_Moore_JPG.JPG

Pictured: Deputy Kristina Moore proposed increasing the Community Bonus Scheme but withdrew her plan when the Government introduced its own 'top-up' scheme.

He added: “The last Government proposed a measly £4.62 a week top-up for islanders in receipt of Income Support, and a week after that announcement, the JEC put their prices up, which wiped out that increase in an instant.

“And the minister who proposed that, and many of her Council colleagues, were ousted by the electorate on Wednesday. I think that says it all.

“But it is not just those on Income Support who are struggling. Those just above the benefit threshold are finding it equally hard, if not harder. 

“I hope this government will pay more attention than the last to our package of short-term measures that we think will help islanders through the current cost-of-living emergency.”

Those measures, which the Council think should be brought in for three months, are:

  • A reduction in fuel duty by 9p a litre; 
  • A £100 credit made available to each household to put towards their energy winter bill; 
  • Free bus journeys and free parking into town on Saturdays to encourage buying local; 
  • A commitment to not introducing a reduction in the online shopping threshold before 2023; 
  • The setting of a panel of Islanders and business leaders who could suggest further measures 

Mr Walker said: “Talking to retail bosses last week, I expect that the price of basics is going to go up a lot more by October. Unfortunately, the last government wouldn’t listen and seemed happy to pass the problem on to this Assembly.

“Of course, this is a global problem, but Jersey has the levers to make some meaningful changes.”

Moore's manifesto

Chief Minister hopeful Deputy Moore also made a number of cost of living pledges in her manifesto.

These include using the additional GST revenue from higher prices to make temporary reductions to some duties, such as fuel.

They also include introducing measures to help low- and middle-income households with rising costs before winter; and encouraging more people away from oil- and gas-fuelled heating. 

Deputy-elect and former Chief Minister Ian Gorst, who is backing Kristina Moore for the top role, previously called for the matter of fuel duty to be urgently dealt with before the election. He told Express's Politics Disassembled podcast that there should be a cut of 10p. 

Reform's pledges

Meanwhile, Deputy Sam Mezec, another politician vying to be Chief Minister, also has a set of policies - set out in the Reform Party manifesto - aimed at alleviating the burden of rising prices.

sam-mezec-2.jpg

Pictured: Reform party leader Sam Mezec will lodge a proposal on Monday calling for the minimum wage to increase from £9.22 to £10 an hour.

He said: “Tackling rising costs was a key manifesto pledge of ours. We made a conscious decision not to focus on navel-gazing issues like electoral reform but on issues that voters are most interested in.

“These include taking GST off food, rent control and raising the minimum wage.

“In the coming months, we will be fighting hard to implement them, whether that’s by ministerial order within government or outside of government, with our now-doubled Assembly membership.

“The first week, we will meet to begin work on our Housing Crisis Action Plan. That is ready to go: it needs no more reviews, consultations or money spent on it. 

“And on Monday, after being sworn in, I will be lodging a proposition to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour from October, and seek to align it with the Living Wage as soon as possible.”

It seems likely that, whoever is elected Chief Minister and whoever forms their Council, measures aimed at making everyday goods and services more affordable will be brought to the Assembly soon.

Whether they can keep up with the pace of rising prices will be the question on everyone's lips.

READ MORE...

Gov rules out cutting fuel duty in light of soaring prices at the pump

Pressure mounts on Gov to cut fuel duty

No action from Ministerial inflation group since pre-Brexit

'Chief Minister, time to act on coming price crisis'

Ukraine war 'to hit Jersey in the shops and at the pumps'

More islanders turning to food banks as inflation bites

COMPARE...

The Jersey Consumer Council has created the following price comparison tools to help islanders compare the costs of different essentials...

Supermarket goods

Prices at the pumps

The price of oil

Sign up to newsletter

 

Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by David Moon on
The cost of living might be reduced if a European supermarket group were encouraged to establish a presence in the Island. Carrefour and Lidl come to mind. The prices and range of food etc. In France are significantly better than the UK supermarkets in Jersey.
Posted by Jon Jon on
The ones hit now are middle earners,those on low incomes receive benefits,the high earners are ok.Will be interesting to see where his new house goes,if it’s all talk in their manifestos or will they actually do something.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Should add to Mezec raising the rate to ten pounds an hour won’t solve the problem.More people will then be in the tax bracket,so can’t claim benefits,costs will be passed on by businesses so higher prices again.
Posted by Scott Mills on
Jon Jon, my sentiments exactly....poorly thought out. How about taxing the global corporations just 0.1 or 0.2 % of their profits. This could lead to GST being reduced or ultimately binned. But for definite, it's time to break up the supermarket (franchises) and brewery cartels. We've had enough. Bring in competition, that's how people can then choose where to shop, rather being told "if you don't like it, don't buy it, and there's a boat in the morning". People are actually now using this boat service in the morning, and can see it continuing as we lose qualified, and experienced people, Beaches aren't even that nice anymore
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Firstly the members have to acknowledge that the actual inflation, for most families, is far higher than our official figures state. Just go to the shops two weeks in a row and but the same things !
I have you to hear of something, that Jersey can afford that is actually going to help "middle income" ~ the peoples badly hit by inflation and increasing mortgage payments.
To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?