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Ministers spending plans approved... but not unscathed

Ministers spending plans approved... but not unscathed

Friday 16 December 2022

Ministers spending plans approved... but not unscathed

Friday 16 December 2022

Ministers’ spending plans for the next three years have been approved by the States Assembly – but they didn’t get through unscathed.

Among the key elements of the Government Plan 2023-2026 were a freeze on alcohol and fuel duty, an extra £20m for Health, slightly increasing super-rich immigrants' tax contributions and paying off all of the island’s covid debt by the end of next year as part of a budget Ministers’ described as “stable, affordable and sustainable”.

After a week-long debate in the States Assembly, an amended version of the plans passed by 37 votes to 11 this morning.

One of the most significant backbench battles was a bid by Reform Jersey’s Carina Alves to secure free GP visits for under-18s, which passed by just one vote. 

States Members also voted convincingly to support a Scrutiny amendment led by Health Panel Chair and Reform Jersey member, Deputy Geoff Southern, re-writing the way healthcare will be paid for in future. 

Less successful were proposals brought by the party’s leader, Deputy Sam Mézec to suspend the high-value residency scheme while a review takes place, and to oblige high earners to pay contributions for Social Security and Long-term Care at the same rate as other islanders. 

A bid by the Constable of St. Helier to secure £100,000 to kickstart the long-promised country park project was also voted down, while his push to secure immediate funding for urban renewal at Havre des Pas was also unsuccessful.  

The latter proposal would have seen £1m of funding allocated for 2023, but Ministers stated that it would not be possible to start the work in 2023, and proposed that the £1m be spread across the three-year period from 2024 to 2026 – a suggestion that received unanimous support from the Assembly.

The Progress Party’s Deputy Steve Luce had proposed a new tax to deter non-resident property investors, but ultimately withdrew the plan after the Housing Minister raised concerns about disruption to the rental market. Deputy Luce said he would continue to monitor the situation, and may bring his proposition back.

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