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Response to Scrutiny report on population policy

23 April 2014

The Council of Ministers believes that a debate should be held to direct population policy for the next two years.
The Council disagrees with the recommendation of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel that the debate should not take place in April as planned.
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said that the report released by the Scrutiny Panel recognised the challenging issues that Jersey faced in balancing limited migration and economic growth.
“The detailed findings of the Scrutiny report will need to be examined carefully over the next few days and the Ministers will report back on those findings before 29 April. However, it remains our view that it is in the best interests of the Island to not delay a debate on population policy,” said Senator Gorst.
“Islanders have consistently reported population and migration issues as their top priority for government – and it is important that we respond, providing a clear direction for 2014 and 2015 while a longer term policy is developed,” he said.
The Interim Population Policy proposes that the Island should plan for net migration of +325 people per year, supported by the Control of Housing and Work Law which was introduced in 2013. It is a policy of stability designed to credibly limit migration while supporting economic strategies.
The Interim Population Policy also supports the continued success of the Back to Work programme in promoting employment for established Islanders and encouraging higher economic and social value activities.
For the longer term, the Council of Ministers has launched “Preparing for Our Future” which creates a long-term vision for Jersey, including population. This recognises that the size of Jersey’s population has a bearing on most other policy areas, for example, the environment, public services and housing, and that setting a long term policy needs a robust framework. In the meantime, the Interim Population Policy is a clear set of proposals on this high priority issue.
Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Paul Routier said “The Interim Population Policy provides decision makers and applicants with a clear framework for how applications will be treated, and enhances the effective administration of the Control of Housing and Work Law. The policy has been lodged in the belief that the States Assembly should debate these issues.”
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