20 May 2021
The Government has published the States of Jersey Annual Report and Accounts for 2020. The report covers what the Government has achieved over the last year, its response to Covid-19, and its inancial performance.
In an unprecedented year, the Government continued to deliver keys elements of the Government Plan, while fundamentally shifting its ways of working to respond to the global pandemic. At a time when its operations, its governance, financial management and financial performance were tested to the limit, the Annual Report and Accounts provides an analysis of how it weathered the crisis and helped support Islanders during this challenging time.
The Performance Report provides a breakdown of the activities and initiatives carried out by the different Government departments, both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 related. It explains what the government has done with taxpayers’ money, highlighting where projects have been delivered, delayed, or deferred.
Highlights from the Performance Report include:
- the wide range of Covid-19 public health measures introduced to save lives and keep Islanders safe during the pandemic, including those aimed at building resilience into the health and frontline workforce
- the impact of the introduction of new policies such as the physical distancing, Stay at Home and the Safer Travel Policies and many more to protect Islanders and, in particular, the most vulnerable members of the community
- the comprehensive range of packages implemented at pace to support businesses and livelihoods
- the rapid development of the contact tracing, monitoring and enforcement capability, which proved highly successful in suppressing the spread of the virus throughout much of 2020
- the launch of the Children and Families Hub to provide a single point of contact for children and families during the pandemic
- in April 2020 Jersey became the first place in the British Isles to ban smacking children
- the planning, approval and building of the 180-bed Nightingale Wing in under a month
- the Connect Me service was redesigned and rapidly implemented in March 2020 to support individuals and organisations to get the support they needed
- the adoption by the States Assembly of the Island’s Carbon Neutral Strategy in February 2020
- the continuing work to secure Islanders’ wellbeing, both mentally and physically
- the work of the Chief Operating Office to deploy significant amounts of IT equipment to enable homeworking, while maintaining capacity and resilience across the Government’s IT network
- the introduction of major reforms to the tax system, including the way that two-thirds of Jersey’s taxpayers pay their tax, by moving Prior Year Basis taxpayers to Current Year Basis.
The Financial Review explains what the Government has done with taxpayers’ money, highlighting where projects have been delivered, delayed or deferred and how it managed efficiencies during the year.
The headline financial numbers show that despite the increased costs of protecting lives and livelihoods throughout the year, the Government’s major revenue streams performed better than forecast.
While income reduced overall by 1% to £1,290 million, net general revenue income increased marginally by £6.6 million compared to 2019. This was due to increases in Impôts and GST revenue. The impact of Covid-19 on company taxation will not be seen until 2021.
In comparison, while revenue remained relatively stable there were significant increases in expenditure as a result of the measures introduced to help manage the impact of the pandemic. As announced in April, £190 million was spent on responding to Covid in 2020, with just over half (£97.9 million) supporting businesses through the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme.
In 2020, the balance sheet strengthened with Group net assets increasing by £95 million to £7.6 billion due to an increase in the value of investments and a revaluation of infrastructure and property costs.
The Government followed the advice of the Fiscal Policy Panel and did not put up taxes or cut spending to fund Covid-19 costs. Instead it took the decision to run deficits in the short term and at the end of 2020 the deficit stood at £113 million.
Other key information in the report includes:
the Social Security Funds increased in value by £105 million – up 5% on 2019
- Revenue Jersey recorded £677 million in tax revenues, including more than £10 million through compliance activity
- the Government’s investment performance held up well, with gains of £253 million, despite the volatility of the markets during the year
- at a Group level, expenditure exceeded income by £272 million and £173 million was spent on capital projects in 2020.
In line with the previous two years, the Annual Report and Accounts were produced and available for audit by mid-February. The audit was substantially complete by mid-March except for a technical matter regarding terms reached with the former Chief Executive.
The auditors have provided an unqualified opinion on the financial statements confirming that they give a true and fair view of the States of Jersey’s Core Entities and the income and expenditure of the Group as at 31 December 2020.
The auditors are also required to report on several other matters, including whether financial transactions conform to appropriate governance. They have concluded that, except for the one matter referenced above, income and expenditure have been applied in line with the purposes intended by the States Assembly.
This matter is the subject of a sole technical qualification, which requires internal control processes and associated governance to be clarified to avoid a reoccurrence.
It is important to note that the Comptroller and Auditor General has separately concluded that the overall settlement was not unreasonable in the circumstances and has made recommendations to improve policies and procedures.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “We’ve now been living with Covid-19 for more than a year and this report reflects the wide-ranging support we’ve put in place for Islanders and businesses.
“Our response to the pandemic was swift and sustained; we mobilised the largest financial support package in our Island’s history, developed a testing programme which ranks among the most effective in Europe and put in place a comprehensive track and trace programme to mitigate the spread of the virus within our community.
“Notwithstanding this immense effort, we’ve also delivered on many of our plans, including being the first place in the British Isles to ban smacking children, continuing to improve our mental health facilities and the state-of-the-art Les Quennevais School opened its doors last September.”
The Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, said: “The 2020 accounts reflect our priorities during what was an unprecedented year – having the funding and liquidity in place to protect lives and livelihoods, while also ensuring our long-term financial sustainability.
“We are pleased that our income managed well in the face of the challenges we faced. We expect further significant impacts in the coming year, however, by not using the Strategic Reserve we are in a good position to recover and renew the economy.”
2020 States of Jersey Annual Report and Accounts
2020 Departmental Annual Reports