08 September 2010
The Treasury Minister is strongly urging States members to reject moves to delay ministers’ proposals for bringing the Island’s budget back into balance.
Proposition 113, which has been proposed by Deputy Geoff Southern, suggests the States should instead dip into the strategic reserve or borrow to plug the gap that has been forecast.
Ministers believe this would seriously undermine their 3-part strategy for dealing with the Island’s fiscal challenges and are stressing the need for all States members to understand the serious situation Jersey will face if the States Assembly does not agree to take positive action now to plan for the future.
The Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, says “Proposition 113 fundamentally fails to recognise the need to tackle the projected deficits. We have come through the recession in a relatively strong position but now we face the difficult decisions that are necessary to keep us on track.
“This proposal does not present members with all the correct information and fails to explain how the consolidated fund could be brought back into balance in 2012 and 2013. In contrast, the Council of Ministers’ strategy aims to balance the budget by 2013 and ensures that sufficient money is in the consolidated fund.
“We have to start now to reduce spending, identify savings and redesign the public sector to provide high quality services as efficiently as possible. This may mean changes in the way services are provided, but delaying the inevitable is not an option. I would strongly urge States members to agree to the first wave of savings highlighted in this year’s business plan and to commit to greater savings in 2012 and 2013.
“It is time to take the long view and plan for a successful future. It is not time to bury our heads in the sand and agree to irresponsible and unrealistic proposals. This business plan is the first step in a carefully planned strategy which will lead to sustainable public finances and a successful future for our citizens. We cannot put off savings, it is not what the public want and it is not the action of a responsible government.”