Senators Hustings Meeting - St Ouen
The States have to control their spending in the current financial climate.
That was the general consensus of the Senatorial candidates at the weekend, who were asked for ways to lower the rate of inflation in Jersey.
Around 120 people turned up to heard the 21 candidates answer questions on a range of subjects including GST and whether they would be standing if the job was unpaid. They were given 90 seconds to answer three questions.
With Jersey facing turbulent financial times, one parishioner asked the candidates how they would steady Jersey’s ship and lower inflation if elected.
Nick Palmer said that inflation was excessive but that it was not the greatest threat to the Island’s economy and that inflation had been higher in the 1970s.
Senator Philip Ozouf said that States spending had to be controlled to curb inflation. He added that the competition law which he had introduced as Economic Minister would help in the future.
Adrian Walsh said that removing GST and lowering States spending would reduce inflation.
Trevor Pitman said that Jersey needed to get to grips with population growth, reduce the number of J-cats and stop selling houses to outside investors.
Chris Perkins said that removing GST and controlling population growth would cut inflation and that the economy was being overheated by the amount of construction taking place in the Island.
Senator Paul Routier said that Jersey lacked the mechanisms other countries had to control interest rates. He added that the States should stick to their commitment to keep GST low.
Deputy Geoff Southern said that the current anti-inflation policy would not work because wages in the Island were driven by inflation and that the Island also imported a lot of inflation.
Deputy Peter Troy said that Jersey suffered because it could not use the Bank of England base rates. He added that that more competition should be encouraged in the Island.
Senator Mike Vibert said that the States should keep their spending down to combat the rise in inflation.
Ian Le Marquand said that the States should save in a period of growth and spend in a downturn to even it out.
Deputy Alan MacLean said that the main drivers for inflation were food, fuel and housing and added that the States would have to work hard in the future to reduce their expenditure.
Mike Higgins warned that the States were the main reason for inflation because they were not controlling their costs. He warned that they could raise GST because it was not a fixed rate.
Deputy Alan Breckon said that the real cost of living was what pensioners and low and middle-income earners had to pay and that the Consumer Council, of which he was chairman, regularly published prices of the cost of living in Jersey.
Cliff Le Clercq ran out of time to answer the question.
Deputy Sarah Ferguson felt that the biggest threat to inflation was government spending.
Jeremy Maçon said that Jersey needed to control the number of J-cats coming into the Island and could do this by introducing a visa or points system.
Nick Le Cornu said that the housing market needed to be controlled to curb inflation and said that speculation in the market should be stopped.
Mark Forskitt said that inflation could not be controlled because society was dependent on oil and that society needed to become more dependent on renewable sources of energy.
Montfort Tadier said that rising houses prices were responsible for the inflation rate and added that he would be in favour of charging money for the issuing of J-cats.
Mick Pashley said that he was not an economist but felt that the States had to control their spending.
Daniel Wimberley said that he blamed the Council of Ministers for the current situation in Jersey and that he wanted the States to spend when there was a lull in the economy.
[ Source : This Is Jersey ]