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A time for optimism and calculated risks

A time for optimism and calculated risks

Monday 05 April 2021

A time for optimism and calculated risks


As we enter spring, Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Carnegie reflects on the tough decisions, risk-taking, and opportunities for the island in the year ahead.

"We are now well into one year of the covid crisis – it has been a frustrating experience for us all and for many it has been a real test of resolve.

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Pictured: "There have been few winners, and many losers, here in Jersey, especially for bereaved families and for those working in the retail, hospitality and events sectors."

Against a backdrop of ‘all in it together’ there have been few winners, and many losers, here in Jersey, especially for bereaved families and for those working in the retail, hospitality and events sectors.

Government support has been generous, and has preserved many livelihoods, for now.  We seem to have balanced medical and economic dangers well, although many will feel that there is now room for a bit more risk with cases so low, and the vaccination programme rolling out well.

Jersey can take pride in being 5th in the world in terms of the proportion of the population that has received the jab – behind Gibraltar, the Seychelles, Israel and the Falklands, and just ahead of UK. Is it too early to contemplate how and when this will end – or at least permit a return to a reasonable level of economic activity and normality?

Leaders across our community have some tough calls to make in the next few weeks and months, if we are to make the most of the opportunities that flow from the improving situation.

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Pictured: "Jersey can take pride in being 5th in the world in terms of the proportion of the population that has received the jab – behind Gibraltar, the Seychelles, Israel and the Falklands, and just ahead of UK. Is it too early to contemplate how and when this will end – or at least permit a return to a reasonable level of economic activity and normality?"

It may well be that, notwithstanding the tough decisions that have guided us through the past year, the hardest ones lie ahead. It was an easier call to lockdown to reduce medical risks than it will be to reopen our community fully, which inevitably courts a risk of a rise in covid cases.

And paying financial benefits is politically easier than turning them off – which may be necessary before the economy returns to its former levels of activity.  Reticence to take timely decisions in these areas could carry stiff penalties, especially for businesses in the more vulnerable sectors that depend on making the most of the summer season.

Businesses are facing tough calls as well, especially on returning to the workplace versus hybrid or home working. Opinions and preferences (and insurance restrictions) differ on these points and employees will rightly be looking for clarity so they know where they stand.

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Pictured: "Businesses are facing tough calls as well, especially on returning to the workplace versus hybrid or home working."

These decisions could have significant implications for the future of office space in Jersey, the environment that we all work in and ultimately the vibrancy of life across the island.

As an Island community we all have a role to play in seizing this opportunity for our economy and livelihoods, whilst preventing a resurgence of the pandemic.

Our collective will and initiative to move forward positively can make a decisive difference to our fortunes, and our prospects of making the very best of our situation with the cards we have been dealt.  As spring approaches it’s a time for optimism and for some calculated risks."

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Posted by Peter Richardson on
I have concerns for the 18-30 age group who are more likely to be in the hospitality industry. We have been good at protecting the over 50s but times will be even tougher for the fun loving generation when furlough ends and companies have to make tough choices about profitability, loan repayments and young staff. Opportunities for 18-30s will not be good until the baby boomers retire or shorten their hours, which I believe it is their duty to do as soon as possible. To achieve this we need a change in the social security rules so they are not penalised as they currently are with charges based on what they earned 2 years ago.
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