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Funds for Brexit, data protection and digital

15 September 2016

The Treasury Minister, Senator Alan Maclean, has approved growth funding for three initiatives: to develop a governmental Brexit planning unit; to enable the Island to respond to new European data protection requirements; and to further develop businesses and skills within the digital sector.

These initiatives are the first of a series of projects that have applied to receive funding from the Economic and Productivity Growth Drawdown Provision (EPGDP), which is designed to support initiatives aimed at improving and protecting economic growth and increasing the Island’s productivity.

The first allocation of £1.75m will ensure that the right resources are in place to allow Jersey’s Government to understand and deal with issues arising from the UK’s Brexit decision. A Brexit planning unit has been established in the Ministry of External Relations, and is responsible for all Brexit-related activities during the UK’s forthcoming period of negotiation with the EU. The team will establish and coordinate a high-level working group across all States departments to assess potential implications for Jersey and to determine the Island’s cross-cutting interests in Brexit negotiations. In addition to the formation of a dedicated Brexit team, a range of other work to assess the scale and nature of economic opportunities resulting from the UK’s changed circumstances will also be undertaken.

The second allocation of £324,000 will enable Jersey to respond to the introduction in 2018 of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This money will help to enable the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) to respond to increased regulatory requirements under the GDPR, as well as allowing Government to seek to identify alternative funding models for the OIC, which may reduce the financial cost to Government and enable the Island to explore new economic opportunities under a different data protection regime.

The third allocation of £107,000 will help to further develop on-Island digital businesses and skills. The funds will be used to address an identified shortage in local digital skills by helping Digital Jersey to establish new digital skills courses, a dedicated digital skills zone and an enhanced co-working space at the Digital Jersey Hub.

This first wave of initiatives draws from the £18.5m that will be used to bolster economic output between 2016 and 2019.

Senator Maclean said “While government cannot be solely responsible for an economy’s productivity performance, it can make a difference in key policy areas where the private sector alone may not deliver optimal results.

“This funding is part of a range of initiatives that we are introducing to help improve economic growth and productivity. Maintaining a strong, healthy economy is vital to the long-term prospects of our whole community. We must continue to sustain a strong employment market in the Island and to grow the revenues that pay for our public services.”

Senator Bailhache added “Jersey is in a strong position and progress has been made but we cannot afford to be complacent. The Council of Ministers is committed to boosting and protecting economic growth in order ensure our Island’s future prosperity.

“As the Chief Minister identified in his address to the States Assembly, our engagement with the UK Government since their referendum on EU membership has been very positive, and it is vital that this remains the case. With the formation of this new Brexit team, we can be assured that our interests will be well represented during the coming months and years.”

Senator Ozouf added “The development of a new data protection regime in Jersey and the furtherance of our improvements to the Island’s digital skill set will also be important in the post-Brexit landscape. Europe’s new data protection regime will come into force in less than two years, so it is vital that Jersey begins now in its work to establish an on-Island regime that will be compatible with that. This fundamental building block will help us to ensure that Jersey’s financial services industry can continue to thrive, as well as being an essential requirement for growing a new and innovative digital sector.

“My unit’s overriding objective is to improve our income line and secure jobs and growth. Brexit provides us not only with challenges for the future but also with opportunities for new business and continued economic prosperity.”

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