28 March 2008
The Council of Ministers has published initial proposals for the 2009 Business Plan.
This year, for the first time, individual Scrutiny panels and other States members will have an opportunity to review the implications of potential cash limits for States departments and services. The Chairmen’s Committee will then present the views of all the scrutiny panels to the Council of Ministers in early May. The intention is to engage as many States Members as possible in the 2009 Business Planning Process.
One of the key points that they will have to consider is whether to agree an increase in States spending beyond the levels previously agreed, so as to fund additional priorities identified by departments. They will also have to determine whether a contingency provision should be set up to meet the costs of indeterminate items such as any additional measures introduced as a consequence of the child abuse inquiry.
Council of Ministers initial proposals
The increase in expenditure over the next three years as previously agreed by the States is between 3% and 4% per annum. This is sufficient to cover inflation, pay awards and the growth in spending on health services, residential care for the elderly and Overseas Aid.
The Council of Ministers has also had to take account of certain existing spending commitments. It has managed to find most of the additional funding required for the Prison (£1.5m), the additional financial support for non taxpayers towards the cost of GST (£400k) and funds to support the running costs of the Waterfront Swimming Pool (£370k) within those spending constraints.
In addition to these commitments, the Council is also exploring funding options for a number of other initiatives and pressures which include:
- bringing the monitoring of sex offenders up to UK standards;
- introducing a Vetting and Barring Office;
- introducing new environmental initiatives and continuing existing recycling facilities;
- improving planning and building services; and
- addressing funding pressures for Supplementation, Probation and Data Protection.
The options include charging some of these costs to funds such as the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund, increasing charges for services such as planning fees, and proposing new environmental taxes.
In summary, the Council’s draft proposals for 2009 are broadly within approved cash limits, and would involve an increase in the cash limits of 3.2% on 2008.
Proposals for additional funding
However, departments have also identified a number of additional and desirable spending pressures and initiatives for which no funding is currently available in the 2009 business plan. These include:
- the increase in demand for children with complex needs at Mont a L’Abbe school;
- the extension of the existing early years’ education provision;
- reinstatement of the funding for Discrimination Legislation which has been reprioritised to the Prison;
- additional funding pressures within Customs and Immigration and provision of additional staff to monitor increased activity at the harbour and airport;
- increased demand for services at Jersey Employment Trust providing vocational services for people with disabilities;
- improved standards of residential care homes resulting in charges to the States being increased; and
- the need for expert fiscal advice to assist the development of future tax strategies.
These would cost an additional £3.9 million in 2009, and these costs could not be met within existing agreed spending limits.
In the 2009 Business Plan there are a number of items for which the costs are currently unclear and which may require the creation of a contingency fund. These are:
- significant potential variations in the pay and inflation provision
- an increase in university top-up fees which is expected sooner or later
- costs of implementing the outcomes of the Williamson Review and the Haut de la Garenne inquiry.
Going forward into 2010 and 2011, other unfunded cost pressures are flagged. These include the costs of the Town Park, education ICT strategy and the New Directions strategy for Health and Social Services.
Notes to Editors:
A copy of the 2009 draft Business Plan can be found by clicking here.