The government intends to gift islanders £100 each to spend locally under new plans to give Jersey's battered economy a post-pandemic boost, Express understands.
The idea, which has been revealed early to Express by senior sources, is the cornerstone in a short-term stimulus package worth £100m due to be publicly announced by the Chief Minister this afternoon.
Under the proposals, Express has been told that every one of the island's 106,000 population – including children – will be given a ‘smart card’ charged with £100 in credit to spend locally over the next two months.
The scheme is estimated to cost the public purse around £11m, and will not be means tested.
Pictured: The scheme is aimed at giving the high street and hospitality a hand by boosting spending.
Consideration has also been given to providing an additional boost to those on income support.
Jersey's Council of Ministers approved the idea this week, in a meeting described to Express as "stormy", as part of a bid to revive beleaguered retail and hospitality businesses, whose revenues were hit the hardest when the island went into lockdown.
However, until this afternoon's official announcement, it remains unclear whether restrictions will be placed on where islanders can spend the credit.
In addition to the £100 spending scheme, the government is expected to announce a 2% cut in employees’ Social Security contributions.
Speculation is also mounting that proposals to renovate the Opera House and Fort Regent will form part of the stimulus plans.
Worth £100m, the overall package is more than double what was put in place in response to the 2007-2008 financial crash, which saw £44m invested in supporting affected islanders and businesses and attempts to create new jobs and opportunities. The core mantra for that package was that all initiatives should be "timely, temporary and targeted".
Pictured: The Chief Minister will announce the short-term package this afternoon.
The 2020 measures announced today are only intended to provide a short-term boost, however, with an Economic Council and Political Oversight Group working with Ministers on developing more sustainable plans to ensure the economy can recover from the hit of £100-120m it took each month over lockdown and prosper in the long-term.
Today’s announcement comes in the same week as UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a ‘mini budget’ to drive growth in pandemic-hit Britain over the summer months.
His plan included a temporary stamp duty holiday, slashing VAT on hospitality and giving diners a discount between Monday and Wednesday in a deal dubbed ‘Eat Out to Help Out’.
Ahead of this afternoon’s launch, a spokesperson for the government commented: “Jersey’s lockdown measures supported public health and saved lives. However, the economic disruption on Jersey’s economy has been significant and a co-ordinated long-term economic recovery effort is underway.
“This week Ministers will announce a package of more than £100m of stimulus to the island economy. This will stimulate demand within the economy and support the recovery effort.
“This will form a central part of the revised Government Plan 2021-24, which will be lodged later in the year, so that it can incorporate recovery and renewal initiatives from the Economic Council.”
Pictured: Earlier this week, the UK Chancellor announced a discount scheme to encourage people to dine out and help the beleaguered hospitality sector.
The full details of the Fiscal Stimulus Package will be announced at a press conference at 12:00, which will be broadcast live on social media.
The Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré, Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel, Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham and Social Security Minister Deputy Judy Martin will all be in attendance.
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