President's December Lunch Message 2016

Thursday 8 December 15:13

Following on from last December's 2016 Wish List, read the President's newly named 'Dirty Dozen'. Our 12 wishes of government, which could form a strong and strategic starting point for the States in 2017.

Welcome everyone to our Festive Chamber lunch and the last one of the year.

I look forward to hearing after lunch, from Connetable Simon Crowcroft our guest speaker, and hopefully a lively question and answer session!

I often start a new speech by reviewing what I’d written the previous month or year. This December was no different as I read the 2016 Wish List we produced for our government. I was a little surprised to read the opening paragraph of my December speech, which reads as follows:

“Depending on who you speak to, we enter the festive period after a mixed year with differing fortunes. Increased indirect taxation, user pays beginning to bite, a controversial finance centre, discussion regarding a new hospital and yet we have some achievable, deliverable projects still sitting on the drawing board. Perhaps most importantly, there is still a perception of a lack of focus, urgency and timely delivery of important initiatives and sustainable cost reduction by the States of Jersey. I would love to see the States of Jersey prove the cynics wrong in 2016 and show that they can do more with less as the private sector achieved some years ago.”

How amazing is that! Your Chamber Executive could actually save themselves a fair bit of time if they used the 'cut and paste' button more often!

Did I mention a 2017 Chamber wish list?

Frist, let me tell you a little about our 2016 list. We put together a dozen little gems for our Ministerial government. These ranged from a fair playing field for GST, a tangible commitment to a better St Helier, and of course the old chestnut of less States members. Ironically a point that most of the population do agree on, with only 49 potential objectors!

As a large proportion of our dozen little gems don’t appear to have been successful for States members, we thought that we would rename this year’s Chamber collaboration to ‘The Dirty Dozen!’

Therefore, here are the combined results of Chamber’s Dirty Dozen for 2017!

  1. A grown up debate on the population in 2017. We cannot continue to avoid the question in case the answer is unpalatable. We need key indicators with which to plan for the future.
  2. One from last year that we would like to re-visit would be a fair GST system for local businesses. Off-island companies get enough of a tax break so let’s play fair this time!
  3. Test it out before you throw it about! Test processes, documentation, policies and systems before they are implemented. Failure to do so is detrimental to all, a waste of money for government and businesses and a barrier to business growth.
  4. Take the lead on a robust cyber security policy. This is one of the islands biggest threats but could also be one of the islands strongest selling points to new businesses.
  5. Target 5 meaningful eGov improvements over the next 12 months. Make them bold and beautiful, and market leading. Let’s not talk percentages but successful projects.
  6. If you need a consultant, buy local! Should the first opportunity to tender be given to local tax paying businesses?
  7. If you do hire a consultant, listen to their advice!
  8. Create a proactive communication strategy. Go digital and ensure the island hear the positive and not only negative news. Find a way of communicating better with the public and let us celebrate achievement as well as failure.
  9. Sort out licensing arrangements, to make it easier for those who drink sensibly to have a tipple or two.
  10. Wait until March 2018 before any electioneering begins!
  11. Review third party planning appeals, ensuring the merits of each appeal.
  12. Our twelfth and final wish would be to cut red tape and allow businesses to get on with the business of doing business!

All of the above are achievable and would create a strong starting point for 2017. Chamber’s Dirty Dozen, are recommendations and advice which could form a strong strategic starting point in the New Year.

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