1 Public Announcements
Six eyes over any media announcement.
2 Inter-Island Co-operation
Chamber welcomes and supports any inter-island co-operation initiatives recognizing the value that these could deliver for both Jersey and Guernsey tax payers in terms of either enhanced efficiency of a service or process, or in real cash terms through cost reduction. However the Guernsey Chamber of Commerce is not able currently to prioritize this area due to alternative previously identified strategic objective setting for 2009.
3 Government Borrowing
The principle of government borrowing to finance essential specific key Island infrastructure projects is supported by Chamber as outlined in the Fiscal Framework and Capital Prioritisation reports, especially relevant currently when long term fixed low interest rate bonds could be successfully secured due to the all time low level of bank interest rates being charged. Chamber does not advocate borrowing per se unless absolutely necessary and clearly committed to with careful consideration of the repayment arrangements against future tax receipts.
4 Paid Parking
The principle of paid parking on States owned car parking areas is reluctantly supported to ensure that traffic can move freely and efficiently in built up areas, and to enable adequate parking to be made available for commuters and shoppers, and to provide funding to ensure an excellent public transport system is achieved. The airport paid parking operation is a perfect example of this approach, where a reasonable charge is made by users of the facility, and if Islanders do not wish to incur the cost they are able to use alternative transport options such as taxis, walking or being dropped off. Chamber believes consideration should be given as a priority to building multi storey car parks faced aesthetically and possibly with open leisure spaces on the top floor at – Beau Sejour, North Beach and Sir Charles Frossard House, with paid parking at each along with all other existing established States owned car park areas. Although an overall reduction in traffic movement would be welcomed from an environment perspective through greater use of car sharing and utilisation of public transport, Chamber does not believe that residents should be forced to take these decisions but rather educated to their merits.
Overall the Chamber Retail Sub Group believe that there already exists an over capacity of retail square footage in the Island of Guernsey, both as a ratio of space per square mile and per head of population. Therefore protecting the viability of existing retail operators especially in the key St. Peter Port, St. Sampson and St. Martin shopping areas should be regarded as a priority, also important to maintain fully let retail areas to maintain a quality shopping experience for the consumer.
6 Open Skies
Regulation is good in moderation in this regard because of our vulnerability being a small Island and the need for year round service to key locations. Protecting existing routes should be a priority but we should not portray a closed shop position to potential emerging operators who would add to consumer choice. States should look to encourage and stimulate additional route options wherever possible. The States must ensure licensees abide by the terms of their license.
7 Airport Aprons, RESAS & Runway
A full upgrade of the existing airport facility without delay and with no compromises. The runway extension to 1,700m to give Guernsey flexibility and accommodate aircraft types used by the majority of airlines and to provide a resilient infrastructure for the future. These works can be carried out back to back with the upgrade for cost effectiveness.
8 Ownership and operation of Guernsey Airport
It is essential the States maintain ownership of the airport but seek ways of running it as a stand-alone business on commercial lines. This would lead to a business development programme which would achieve the maximum return from the assets whilst providing a high quality responsive and accommodating facility. Treat the funding of this long term investment as a separate issue to the rolling annual capex programme and consider borrowing if need be. This would be a perfectly standard option in any other jurisdiction
9 States Taxation
Chamber believes that until the annual public expenditure budget of circa £345m is challenged fundamentally and reduced by at least £35m or 10% that no new taxes should be considered or implemented for the residents or businesses of Guernsey, coupled with the urgent cessation of the public sector final salary pension scheme which is simply not sustainable going forward as the ageing population creates even further affordability problems in balancing pension liabilities.
10 Guernsey Post
The ability of Guernsey Post to offer a comprehensive service to all and meet its social responsibility is an essential prerequisite for a sustained and well balanced society. The Chamber therefore agrees that, because of the limited market for such services in Guernsey, Guernsey Post should continue to have a reserved area (limited monopoly) set at a rate which is challenging to all parties. The Chamber also believes that Guernsey Post must actively seek a Down Stream Access (DSA) provider to identify an alternative way of providing a good, reliable and cheap second class service to the UK.
11 Change in Zero 10 Policy and impact on other taxes
Following the decision by the States to revert to a tax system which is more acceptable to the European Community, the Chamber of Commerce strongly advocates that the Treasury and Resources Department review all other taxes which were re-aligned to underpin the shortfall caused by 0/10 namely, Tax on Ratable Value, Social Security Contributions and Duty Rates to ensure that businesses are not unnecessarily disadvantaged by the change in the basic tax structure.
12 Reduction in the numbers receiving State Benefit
Develop a joint initiative between the business community and government (Social Security Department and C&E Department) to focus on the circa 800 island residents currently receiving state benefits to work with each one `case by case` to resolve training or re-training needs, in order for those members of society to re-enter the islands work force.
13 Return of Guernsey Graduates
Develop a structured programme to encourage and promote the return of locally qualified graduates post education completion to add to the `local pool of talent`.
14 Extensions to licenses for certain license holders
Create a discretionary facility to extend a license holders residency beyond the expiry of their housing license assuming they have demonstrated a commitment to the community of Guernsey above and beyond the normal expectation, or who possess a skill set that the island can simply not afford to dispense with.
15 I Buy GSY
Propagate the principles behind the `I Buy GSY` campaign to encourage and support the optimum level of on island spends with island based entities
16 Encouraging Start Up Companies
Provide support, help and practical resources to encourage increased business start ups in Guernsey, and to foster new business creation.
17 Archaic Laws
Many minor laws exist on the statute book which although fit for purpose at the time have now become archaic and indeed stifle aspects of modern day business activity, a comprehensive review is required to amend or delete fit for purpose going forward.
18 Funding of Environmental Policy to develop ecoGuernsey
Prioritise fund allocation to support the recently approved Environmental Policy strategy ensuring Guernsey plays its part as a responsible member of the global community in matters relating to climate change and protecting the environment, develop an `ecoGuernsey` objective to achieve best practice in preserving and enhancing the islands sustainability.
19 More Flexible Population Control
Agree to flexibility on the quantum of Guernsey`s population relevant to the current, emerging and future needs of the islands changing economic cycles over the long term, simply adopting a holding position is strategically flawed, suggesting that a population of 61,811 residents (2007 estimate) is the appropriate position for economic and social viability is naïve, especially when considering that this number itself is only an estimate. Guernsey has a finite land mass and a consequent natural limit to population numbers at any one time, however the potential for a 10% increase to circa 68,000, or indeed a 10% decrease to circa 55,000 must be considered as the economy may dictate from time to time.
20 External Representation
Chamber believes that external representation by senior government officials is vital for the continuing success of Guernsey’s international finance industry.
21 Additional Regulation and Legislation
Chamber believes business in Guernsey needs "light touch" regulation and legislation. Additional regulation and legislation should only be proposed when there is a clear and demonstrable requirement."