Health 'more urgent' than culture says Guernsey deputy

Image caption,
Deputy Fallaize said the move would save the lives of islanders

There are renewed calls for money due to be spent on Guernsey's heritage to be diverted to bowel cancer screening.

Funding for the preservation of cultural objects, £250,000, could be diverted if the States agree next week.

Deputy Matt Fallaize said the screenings would save lives and museum storage was the least important of the island's priorities.

Culture and Leisure Minister Mike O'Hara said money for the screenings should come from the health budget.

The money had been assigned to the Culture and Leisure Department in July when the States overwhelmingly agreed to a £1m spend on the storage of objects over a four-year period.

Deputy Fallaize, who is not a member of the Health and Social Services Department, has led the calls for the moving of the funds, which he said would save lives.

He said: "Of the list of projects, which the policy council is recommending, I think that improving museum storage has the poorest case when public finances are under the pressure they are under.

"We're in a very competitive prioritisation process and only the most essential projects can be funded.

"The case for funding bowel cancer is much, much greater than the case for improving museum storage."

Deputy O'Hara said the money should be found within the large budget of the Health and Social Services Department, which for 2010 was £106m compared to £3.9m for Culture and Leisure.

Deputy O'Hara said: "It's something which is absolutely vital to generations to come that those heritage items are protected and stored properly.

"HSSD [Health and Social Services Department] can not carry on keep having more and more budget, we can't sustain it."

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