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WATCH: Assistant Treasury Minister pushes for GST cut

WATCH: Assistant Treasury Minister pushes for GST cut

Tuesday 28 April 2020

WATCH: Assistant Treasury Minister pushes for GST cut

The Chief Minister has insisted his Assistant Treasury Minister was talking in a personal capacity when he told business leaders last week that “a few percent” should be knocked off GST as a way of kickstarting the economy post-lockdown.

The GST suggestion from Senator Ian Gorst – which he said was not supported by his Ministerial colleagues – came during a Chamber of Commerce webinar last week, and was also raised during a Scrutiny meeting.

It was the second time in recent weeks he had spoken out on economic recovery policy without the full backing of the government.

In the first instance, Senator Gorst warned that “there is no such thing as free money” as he claimed that taxes will have to rise when the virus crisis is over

Though supported by Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel, the remarks caused disquiet among Ministerial colleagues, with Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham stating during a later press conference that he wished to “distance” himself from that view.


Pictured: The Treasury Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel, said taxes will have to rise to restore public finances.

Questioned by Express during a press conference yesterday, Chief Minister Senator Le Fondré said that Senator Gorst’s comments to Chamber were a personal view, rather than him speaking as a representative of the government.

He did not endorse or discredit his colleague’s idea when asked for his view, but simply stated that it would depend on  “what does economic recovery looks like versus what do we need to do on restoring the island’s finances”.

“That’s going to be the issues we are going to have to face, but that’s going to be over the coming weeks in bringing that package together,” he said, adding that that piece of work had started although the focus of this week was the lockdown exit plan, which will impact the recovery. 

Video: The Chief Minister answered questions during a press conference yesterday.

Asked about whether the island should be looking at longer or shorter term recovery measures, he explained: “You’re not going to restore the island’s funds to where they were in a year.”

He then went on to explain that the Government had to work out “a reasonable time period” over wish to replenish the public coffers and stating his personal view on how it should be done.

“I think, me, at this stage, subject to all the approvals that we need to get, it would be in the medium to longer term on that outlook rather than the short term.”

The Chief Minister also said that any financial recovery from the public sector would have to be balanced with the economic recovery and the island community recovery, describing the process as a “jigsaw”. 

jigsaw connect

Pictured: The Chief Minister said balancing the financial recovery of the public sector and the economic recovery was a "jigsaw".

“Basically, whatever we are going to have to do it’s a balance…” the Chief Minister explained. “This is all about long-term. It’s the economic recovery long-term, versus restoring the island’s finances long-term, and that is going to be a balance of measures…

“There’s a balance of things we can be doing and those discussions at least the very, very initial discussions actually started today [Monday] with a group of Ministers. It’s going to formulate a structure very, very quickly, that’s going to bring in key members of the community and that’s going to feed into the Council of Ministers.”

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Posted by Jon Jon on
A cut in gst won’t make any difference in kickstarting the economy.Leave it where it is ,we all know it will increase at some point.
Posted by John Henwood on
Tax increases to dig yourself out of a hole may be seen as a short term expedient, but it is not a strategic plan. Trouble is, once introduced new taxes are devilishly hard to get rid of - remember, income tax was introduced (in 1799) as a temporary measure to pay for the war against Napoleon. New or increased taxes will always depress economic growth. If you want a strategic plan to work your way out of an economic hole, then tax cuts is the way forward. The world is struggling with the effects of Coronavirus and the economic impact is very damaging; if we are to recover sufficiently to replenish and build the depleted Strategic Reserve we need to stimulate new business and we won't do that with tax increases. It's time to be bold. Make greater savings in government expenditure, and do it quickly, at the same time providing incentives which will encourage investment. That way we'll get back to the conditions that made Jersey great. By all means we must maintain our keen social sense, but that does not mean adopting a socialist agenda. That would be a disaster on top of a tragedy.
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