13 September 2011
The 2012 draft Annual Business Plan is due for debate today (Tuesday 13 September). It sets out the main aims of each States department and how they plan to spend the funds they have been allocated for next year.
It proposes the continuation of the Council of Ministers’ 3 part plan to return to balanced budgets by 2013 – incorporating savings, economic growth and a flexible tax strategy.
The Chief Minister, Senator Terry Le Sueur, said: "We welcome an informed debate on the Business Plan. However I am concerned that many of the amendments lodged suggest using funds set aside for restructuring to meet Members’ spending proposals.
"If we are to continue providing decent, reliable services while ensuring value for money for taxpayers, we need to fundamentally modernise our public sector. That is why it is vital that the funds earmarked for restructuring are used for that purpose and that purpose only. If we fail to modernise, we cannot expect to achieve long term, sustainable savings.
"I hope Members will keep this in mind as we prepare our Island for a long and difficult road to recovery. I am pleased that Members found the political resolve to see through the actions that were necessary after the financial downturn.
"We used the Stabilisation Fund to support Islanders and deal with the immediate deficit and have made the difficult decisions that will create the right environment for the Island to flourish in the coming years. The measures approved in last year’s budget, to balance income and expenditure by 2013, are in the process of being implemented and are beginning to bear fruit."
The Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, said: "Ministers remain committed to delivering our savings target of £65 million by 2013. Given the States decision to maintain the grants for fee paying schools and to postpone any budget cuts to States schools, it is clear we have further work to do to identify all the measures that Education, Sport and Culture will need to take to achieve their share.
"As well as departmental savings, we are working hard to reduce staffing and procurement costs across the public sector. It is clear that pay restraint will be an important feature of our plans for bringing States spending into line with States income. We are investigating a wide range of options, including a review of overtime, sick pay and other allowances with a view to having a simplified and harmonised set of staff terms and conditions.
"The Employment Relations team has started to invite all recognised trade unions and staff representatives to a series of talks to discuss future ways of working and proposals for pay, grading, terms and conditions. Initial meetings will focus on the need to modernise the public sector and to review employees’ terms and conditions.
"This Business Plan begins the process of making fundamental changes to the way we deliver some of our services. It keeps in mind the current economic situation and proposes changes which will put our financial management on a more sound and transparent footing."
The plan also details the economic outlook and financial forecast for 2011-2014 and detailed savings proposals for 2012.