23 April 2010
The States Employment Board (SEB) is disappointed at claims that the States of Jersey is planning massive cuts to schools, hospitals and emergency services. This allegation comes from teachers’ unions who are holding a rally in Jersey this weekend.
The Chief Minister, who chairs SEB, says the Comprehensive Spending Review is not being undertaken to impose massive cuts on essential services, but to reduce States expenditure by 10% over 3 years in order to safeguard essential services for the future.
Senator Terry Le Sueur said “The worldwide recession has had an impact on Jersey. Our economy declined by about 5% in 2009 and is forecast to reduce by a further 2% in 2010. This drop in income means we are anticipating a deficit of about £65 million in 2010, £70 million in 2011 and £50 million a year after that.
“Jersey starts from a position of strength and the first 2 years of deficits are being funded from savings in the Stabilisation Fund. But it would be irresponsible of the Council of Ministers to plan a budget that doesn’t balance.
“The spending review is part of a 3 pronged approach to tackling the deficits forecast for 2012 and beyond. We are asking all departments to consider their spending priorities and to identify potential savings and reductions in non-essential services.
“As well as the spending review we will try to improve productivity, and we will also need to consider tax increases. The States has recently agreed to provide extra funding for important areas like the health service, nursery education and the Williamson plan to protect vulnerable children. To maintain these and other services we will need to raise more money.”
The SEB is pleased to note that civil service unions and manual workers have accepted the 2 year pay deal and appreciates the understanding this shows for its pay policy in these difficult economic times. The board remains willing to restart discussions with teachers’ unions at any time.
Senator Le Sueur added “As we have said before, any funding for changes to working conditions has to be made from existing department budgets or offset against the 4% pay increase offered for 2010 and 2011.
“This situation applies to all pay groups and the SEB sincerely hopes teachers will appreciate that Jersey has to reduce public spending in order to protect jobs in the future and to bring Jersey through what is proving to be a difficult and protracted period.”