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POLL: Should we borrow £800m to build the new hospital?

POLL: Should we borrow £800m to build the new hospital?

Tuesday 14 September 2021

POLL: Should we borrow £800m to build the new hospital?


Once again, the day is fast approaching when Jersey's politicians will have to make a major decision on how to pay for a new hospital, which will affect islanders for decades.

This time, the States Assembly will debate proposals to fund it through two bonds of £400m each. So which way would you vote?

Announcing its preferred method of funding, the Government said the borrowing would be paid back over 30 and 40-year periods, with each bond carrying an annual charge of 2.5%.

This means that by the time the bonds have been repaid, they will have cost the island around £1.4bn.

overdale hospital drawing

Pictured: The Government's funding proposals will have to be agreed by the States Assembly.

While the 'Outline Business Case' (OBC) explained funding requirements in depth, it doesn't propose exactly how the bonds would be paid back, noting that the "payment of the annual bond coupon is a new cost to Government and a funding source will need to be identified."

The plans are currently under review by the Future Hospital Review Panel, whose chair, Senator Kristina Moore, said they wanted to examine whether borrowing is the best way to fund the project and ensure it will not place “an inappropriate burden on future generations”.

In recent hearings, Panel members have been questioning the content of the OBC and the absence of some information which should have been provided under HM Treasury Green Book - a key document setting out how governments should approach large-scale public investments.

Lindsay-Ash.jpg

Pictured: The Assistant Minister for Treasury, Deputy Lyndsay Ash said the new hospital must be built now.

Last week, the Assistant Minister for Treasury, Deputy Lyndsay Ash, justified borrowing as the best solution due to the currently low costs involved, before stressing again how further delays would affect the project.

He warned that Jersey could face higher building and borrowing costs and potential competition with the NHS in securing contractors, whilst also having to spend millions every year to maintain the current hospital, which Professor Handa previously said will not be usable after December 2026 without any reprovision.

The States Assembly is due to debate the funding proposals on 5 October.

Do you support the Government's funding proposals? Answer in the poll below.

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Please note we will not be posting comments directly on this story, as it is a poll - but we will be accepting them on the next article communicating the poll results. 

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