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Final surplus of £25m confirmed

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Public finances for 2016 have been finalised, with an increased final surplus of £25m recorded.

At the February States' meeting, Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, advised the States' Assembly on the predicted year-end financial position, with an estimated £15m surplus identified at that time, subject to audit.

Following the final year-end adjustments, the surplus for 2016 is £10m higher than previously anticipated.

Deputy St Pier said:

'When I updated the States in February, I included the normal warning that the figures were still subject to final year-end adjustments and audit, given that staff were still finalising the 2016 accounts. However, it goes without saying that this further news regarding the state of public finances is positive.

'A number of factors have contributed to the additional outturn, including additional income tax receipts and the allocation of returns from our portfolio of investments to the appropriate general ledger accounts.

'As I made clear only this week in the States, in terms of our long-term financial outlook, we are by no means out of the woods yet.

'That we ended 2016 in surplus to the tune of £25m is clearly to be warmly welcomed.  But I must again caution that substantial fiscal challenges remain. Many of the factors that contributed to the surplus cannot be relied on year-on-year, such as last year's excellent but exceptional performance of our investment portfolio.

'In addition to this year's 3% savings targets - which we are collectively well on the way to achieving - the Policy & Resources Committee previously outlined that we believed the States should be seeking further reductions of 5% in both 2018 and 2019. It is important to clarify that the 5% reductions were collective aims for the States as a whole, and had not been allocated to any committee or budget holder at this stage.

'However, and this is included in our proposed medium term financial plan for the period up to 2021, which will be published on Monday, in recognition of the improved base revenues and concerns expressed by committees in trying to deliver these substantial savings in just two years, the Policy & Resources Committee will be recommending that this reduction in the cost of the public service is delivered over four years.'

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