Guernsey States long-term plan 'pointless'

A plan aimed at preparing Guernsey for long-term challenges including the economy and an aging population has been heavily criticised.

The States Strategic Plan aims to identify the challenges and difficulties the island will face over the next 20 to 25 years.

Some members criticised a lack of clarity and direction in the report while others called it "pointless".

Despite these reservations the majority supported it, voting it through 30-15.

Deputy Andrew Le Lievre said: "The whole of this document is fatally flawed, it is full of vague and undefined strategies."

'Start making decisions'

The lack of defined objectives meant that whether States members approved the plan or not was meaningless as either way nothing would happen, said Elis Bebb.

Deputy Peter Gillson's comment that the plan was a "waste of staff time and money" was followed by a round of applause.

Deputy Mary Lowe said there had been four such reports in the last six years, nine in the last 20 and according to the latest plan there are more to come.

She said: "I want us to keep the promises we've already made... let's start making decisions on what we're doing in the short term."

'Various pitfalls'

Chief Minister Peter Harwood said he welcomed the "interesting, but bruising debate" in the chamber.

He said the plan represented progress made since 2011 and reminded members that the document pulled together the thoughts of all members at an away day so was based on their own priorities.

Deputy Harwood said: "The major challenges we face are of a long term nature.

"The economy, climate change, demographics and we need to develop a strategy to tackle such issues and it's through this plan we can formulate our approach."

He said: "I think it would be irresponsible for the States to work without a long-term strategy, we have to keep our eyes on the distinct horizon to see how we steer our way through the various pitfalls."

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