If a Fiscal Policy is the method by which a government adjusts its spending levels and tax rates to influence our economy; Guernsey’s isn’t working as well as it could.
Anyone who tells you that all future public service demands can be paid from public sector savings, may not understand the size of future demands.
The Fiscal framework tells us that government can only raise revenue as a percentage of GDP.
Here’s Guernsey’s problem and it is very real: GDP is a fluctuating beast and almost certainly will have reduced substantially over the Covid period. It is not a measure by which we can decide the level of services or the level of taxation on the working public.
What is required is a genuine and open public conversation on a number of subjects:
- What kind of services do we want the government to provide?
- What role can the charitable sector play in providing services?
- What is the difference between ‘what we want’ and ‘what we need’? Once we have established those first principles:
- How do we effect that transformation in four years?
- What are you prepared to pay for it?
Successive governments have alluded to the higher costs of future governments but largely failed to embrace the conversation. Successive governments have told you that we need ‘public service reform’ and done nothing about it.
I am a realist. We all know what is coming down the tracks and we will all need to play our role.
What government cannot do is to continue to tell you to ‘look over there, but not over here’.
I am certain that the right people in new positions can have that conversation and I am more than prepared to put myself at the centre of it.