Friday 12 February 2021
The policy letter outlining stage one of the Government Work Plan, which sets the direction for the political term, was lodged today for debate on 17th March 2021.
The plan focuses on three priorities -
- responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
- managing the effects of Brexit, and
- delivering recovery actions.
This sharp focus is a necessary response to the evolving context and unprecedented fiscal challenges that the States will face this term.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Policy & Resources Committee Vice-President and political lead on policy planning said:
"The need is great, time is short and finances are limited. There is a window of opportunity for the States to invest in the economy to support its recovery, enhance its infrastructure and ensure sustainability. By delivering economic stability, we can secure the revenues to fund important social and environmental policies."
Stage one of the plan contains an emerging list of recovery actions, which will be refined in the second stage. Following further engagement and assessment, the stage two policy letter will set the phasing for the recovery actions' implementation, capital and public sector transformation prioritisation, and resourcing, funding and investment requirements. It will be debated on 21st July 2021.
The Assembly will need to address the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and Brexit as well as pre-existing challenges such as climate change, inequalities among islanders' living standards, waiting lists for healthcare and Guernsey's ageing demographic. To achieve this while also discharging its responsibility to keep islanders safe, secure and able to meet their basic needs, the States must focus resources only on work that is necessary and can be most effectively delivered by government.
Deputy Soulsby continued:
"There is a virtuous circle. The urgent need to recover and enable further economic stability and prosperity will provide employment and secure the revenues to fund important social and environmental policies; implementing those social and environmental policies supports Guernsey's competitiveness, which in turn supports economic recovery. The interconnections among the economy, social inclusion and environmental sustainability are critical, and if balanced in the right way will help Guernsey build a competitive, sustainable economy."
In a move to release resources for priority activity, the Assembly will be asked to approve the rescission of Resolutions that no longer reflect the pressing needs of today or have been superseded.
Deputy Soulsby added:
"The ambition of the new Assembly is prodigious so it will need to make difficult decisions and these proposals prepare the way for this. An Assembly-wide approach is very much the way forward as it will facilitate rounded decisions that can deliver against the plan's objectives while providing value for money. Our decisions in March will flavour the approach to the phasing and resourcing proposals to follow, by which time all current government work will have been assessed. It is a huge task to bring all this work into one Plan and it is important that in March the Assembly provides the executive decisions to help the Committee carry on its work.
I am thankful for the hard work and support from Presidents, Members and officers that has enabled us to work at unprecedented speed to get this critical policy letter to the States in such a short space of time. This bodes well for the future."
The Government Work Plan has been informed by the high-level Revive and Thrive: Our Recovery Strategy for GuernseyTogether approved last year and is intended to replace the Future Guernsey Plan/P&R Plan.
The policy letter for stage one of the Government Work Plan can be found here: https://gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=136246&p=0