States of Jersey Response to Open Letter from Chamber Regarding the Jersey Infrastructure Levy
Wednesday 13 September 09:32
States of Jersey response to Chamber of Commerce joint open letter regarding the Jersey Infrastructure Levy consultation
STATES OF JERSEY OFFICAL RESPONSE
Response to open letter regarding the Jersey Infrastructure Levy consultation (dated 8 September 2017)
A wide range of comments have been received to date. Some submissions are supportive of the proposals, and some, like the one from the Chamber of Commerce and other signatories, have raised a number of points of concern. These will be reviewed over the coming weeks and then I will consider if there is merit in taking draft proposals to establish a Jersey Infrastructure Levy forward.
Specifically addressing comments that have been sent directly to the media from the Chamber of Commerce, the following points should be considered:
1. Critical JIL questions have not been addressed or responded to now or previously
- I announced my intention to introduce a land development charge in January 2016, and the Department of the Environment has been listening to industry views on the principle of a charge since then. We have held numerous meetings and discussions, individually and collectively, to gather feedback.
- After a stakeholder consultation in the autumn of 2016, we took on board many of the points made by industry, and adjusted our assumptions. These were included in the formal study we commissioned from independent UK and local consultants with considerable experience, and which was published in the spring of this year.
- We’ve only just closed the 12-week public consultation which invited written responses, and once we’ve reviewed the responses we’ll be providing another update.
2. Scrutiny have not carried out a review of the proposed levy, with regards the impact it may have on development and the islands economy
- Departmental officers have been in touch with Scrutiny officers throughout the consultation process and kept them fully informed. Further meetings will take place over the next few weeks to discuss the outcome of the consultation.
- If the States agree an in-principle proposal to introduce a Jersey Infrastructure Levy then we will develop a more detailed policy and carry out another round of viability testing and impact assessment before developing detailed policy proposals.
- We welcome the critical challenge provided by Scrutiny if they choose to assess and ‘call in’ a fully formed and more detailed policy prior to final consideration.
- The policy proposals will be subject to a comprehensive and in-depth independent examination in public led by an independent planning inspector to ensure that the detail of the policy works for Jersey.
- The States will be asked to consider detailed policy proposals again before formal adoption.
3. In light of Brexit, the fall in the value of sterling and the impact it is having on the cost of goods and a reduced migrant workforce, commerce is looking to Jersey’s government to implement measures that boost confidence and grow the economy, not increase the tax burden and costs associated with doing business in the island
- Brexit will affect many aspects of Island life and we have ensured that the viability study on the Jersey Infrastructure Levy includes a significant contingency for the potential cost of Brexit.
- We’ve looked at the potential impact to development viability under Brexit and thought about how it would affect the introduction of the levy and, given the cautious approach used in the viability work, JIL is still considered a viable policy which will benefit Jersey in the future.
Deputy Steve Luce said ‘I announced my intention to introduce a land development charge in January 2016, and we’ve been listening to industry views on the principle of a charge since then. We held numerous meetings and discussions, individually and collectively, where we listened to people’s views and then included the relevant points in the policy proposals.
‘We’ve received a mix of views on the proposals, and all comments will be considered carefully before we put forward detailed proposals for debate. On balance though, I believe there’s support for the contribution the levy will directly make to improving essential community infrastructure in neighbourhoods throughout Jersey, but particularly in St Helier, where development pressure is most focused and where there is a need to improve the town.’
By way of reminder of the benefits of JIL:
- A Jersey Infrastructure Levy aims to be a fair way of ensuring that land owners who benefit from the increase in land value that comes from development permission, invest in local communities.
- The levy will directly contribute to providing and improving essential community infrastructure in neighbourhoods throughout Jersey, but particularly in St Helier, where development pressure is most focused and where there is a need to improve the town as a place to live; work and visit.
- The system will be transparent. The public and developers will be able to see how funds have been allocated and spent.
- A new system will be faster because the policy will be clearer and more straightforward.
Examples of what a levy could fund include:
- new and improved streets, safe play spaces and recreational facilities, parks, tree planting and community gardens, such as the Millennium Town Park and the Weighbridge
- improvements to public transport services and facilities, like more bus shelters and improved services
- pedestrian improvement schemes and new footpaths, such as improvement to town streets already completed in Conway Street and Broad Street
- new cycle routes, such as the Eastern Cycle Network or the St Peter’s Valley Cycle Path
- improvements to make local areas more resilient to climate change, by introducing sustainable urban drainage schemes to help manage surface water; more tree planting to provide shade and cooling; and better flood defenses.