States of Jersey

Islanders can have their say on politicians' pay

BBC Radio Jersey

Islanders are being asked for their views on how much Jersey's politicians are paid.

At the moment, States members are paid £46,600 a year.

That figure is set until 2022, but the States Members Remuneration Review Body, which advises on politicians' pay, has released a public survey to consult on whether that should change after the next election.

States Chamber

Earlier this year, Jersey's Assistant Education Minister Deputy Jeremy Macon called for the Review Body to be sacked, claiming it didn't fully understand what States Members do.

But its chairman said he will ignore any inappropriate lobbying from politicians on the issue.

Last minute talks on school strikes

BBC Radio Jersey

Jersey's government is due to hold last minute talks with teaching union representatives today - on the eve of a series of school strikes.

The National Education Union has previously said there will be eight separate walkouts - starting on Wednesday - unless a new pay deal is put on the table.

It comes after teachers rejected their latest pay offer - worth inflation plus 1.3% from January 2020.

Parents are being warned to prepare for varying levels of disruption if the strikes go ahead.

States of Jersey

More than £400k spent on three employment payouts

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Jersey's government paid three senior staff a total of more than £400,000 for retiring or leaving their jobs early.

The payments have been detailed in the States of Jersey financial accounts for 2018.

John Richardson, the former chief officer of the island's government received £130,803 as a payout for leaving office in November 2017.

John Richardson
John Richardson was paid £130,803 when he left his position

Justin Donovan, a former chief officer in the Education Department, resigned and left office at the end of August 2018.

He was entitled to a hundred and two thousand eight hundred pounds £102,805 plus an additional £5,500 in holiday pay.

And when Julie Garbutt stepped down as chief officer of the Health and Social Services Department in July 2018, she received £187,600.

Half of that, nearly £94,000, was paid instead of a notice period.

Falling investments could lead to GST rise

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Jersey's treasury minister has said the island's tax on goods and services will probably have to rise in future.

The States of Jersey has published its annual accounts for 2018, which show big drops in the public cash reserves.

Finance infographic
States of Jersey

More than £25m was lost on investments, while £8m was spent on the project to build a new hospital, plans for which are still yet to be agreed.

In total, the Strategic Reserve lost nearly 4% of it's value during the year, and is now worth £807m.

Deputy Susie Pinel said there are no immediate plans to raise GST, but the current 5% rate could be reviewed.

The island's government received a total of £635m in taxes last year, an increase of 5%.

Maternity laws 'could force businesses to close'

BBC Radio Jersey

Plans to give new parents extra maternity leave in Jersey could be put on hold after a scrutiny panel said they did not cater for small businesses.

Getty Images

Deputy Kirsten Morel, from the Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel, said he was worried the laws were pushed through the island's government in a hurry - partly because politicians did not want to be seen obstructing parents' rights.

But he said the changes could force some businesses to close.

He said he wanted to postpone the debate on introducing the laws so they could be adapted to suit everyone, and give politicians the chance to look at it again.

Legal aid costs could be shared under new plans

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Jersey's government has asked people who should foot the bill for people who can't afford legal representation for criminal trials.

Legal aid is currently paid for by lawyers, but politicians are now reviewing plans for the government to share the cost.

The government would fund criminal case costs and the lawyers would cover civil cases.

Legal aid
Getty Images

Under other proposed changes, the legal aid scheme could become legally recognised - it isn't written into Jersey law at present.

A panel which is reviewing the proposals is hoping to hear the views of people before the States debate next month.

'Very difficult' pension decisions ahead

Freddie Miller

BBC Jersey political reporter

It will be "very difficult" to decide how to make sure Jersey can pay for old age pensions and medical care in the years to come, according to the social security minister.

A new report claims that, if Jersey workers continue to contribute the same amount as they do now, then the pension pot could run out completely in less than 50 years.

Woman counting coins
Getty Images

It argued that the answer would either be to raise people's contributions, or allow more workers to come into the island to pay tax.

Deputy Judy Martin said deciding what to do will be like "trying to square a circle" and the States would have to make some important decisions.

Crown Dependency chiefs lobbying MPs in London

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Chief ministers from Britain's Crown Dependencies are holding meetings in London on Monday morning in efforts to thwart transparency measures which could be forced on the islands.

On Friday, it emerged various amendments had been lodged to the UK's Financial Services Bill, being debated by MPs later.

They seek to force Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to make company ownership information of island firms public.

Campaigners said offshore leaks had shown anonymous companies were open to abuse.

The dependencies insist the move is unconstitutional and their private registers of company ownership are adequate.

Crown Dependencies chief ministers
Crown Dependency chiefs Gavin St Pier (Guernsey), Howard Quayle (Isle of Man) and John Le Fondré (Jersey)

One amendment lodged by Tory MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour's Margaret Hodge forces the islands to have publicly-accessible business registers.

Under the plans, they will be in place by the end of 2020 "for the purpose of the detection, investigation or prevention of money laundering".

Their amendment adds that the UK government must provide "all reasonable assistance" to the islands in setting the registers up.

It has the support of at least 40 MPs, including former Tory cabinet ministers Ken Clarke, David Davis and Sir Oliver Letwin, senior Labour backbenchers Margaret Beckett and Ed Miliband, and deputy Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.

Ian Blackford, who leads the SNP group in Westminster, and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas have also put their name to the amendment.

The dependencies governments said they were "proactively engaging with the UK government and parliamentarians" to argue for rejecting the amendments.

Improved pay offer for nurses

BBC Radio Jersey

Jersey's government has made a new pay offer to the island's nurses and midwives.

While the offers for this year and last year haven't changed, they've been offered inflation plus 1.3% for next year.

Medical staff have joined other states workers in campaigning for a better deal - but until now the States Employment Board has maintained there is no more money to give them.

Jersey's hospital

Earlier this week it announced an improved offer to teachers - and has now offered a similar deal to nurses.

The new deal also includes a promise to resolve differences between staff on different pay scales from next January.

The chief minister, who chairs the pay board, said it was a very significant improvement, and showed that the States valued nurses' commitment to caring for islanders.

John Le Fondre said unions had agreed to consult their members over the offer.