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Jersey Chamber of Commerce

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Category: States Assembly

Scrutiny Highlights Government Plan Challenges

Dec 09, 2022

In a report examining the proposed Government Plan 2023-26, the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel has expressed concern that it was unable to refer to certain confidential information to support its review of Government spending. The Panel’s request for the Government to consider whether it is in the public’s interest to keep Government Plan business justification cases and cost breakdowns confidential is one of several recommendations featured in the Panel’s report. 

One area of confidentiality is the £11.7 million allocated to refurbish the Opera House. The Panel cannot share the breakdown of costs for this project and, whilst a contingency for inflation has been built in for the refurbishment, the Panel has asked for further information on this. The Panel has requested that the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture reviews this contingency to ensure it can support the life of the project and that a breakdown of costs is provided once planning permission has been received.

Another area of concern is that the responsibilities for Financial Services have not yet been formally transferred to the Minister for Treasury and Resources away from the Minister for External Relations, despite the stated intentions of the Chief Minister. The Panel has requested that this responsibility is transferred without delay. 

The Panel’s review found that the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture plans to provide the rural economy with more funding than the £700,000 currently proposed for 2024 and the £600,000 proposed for 2025 and 2026, by bringing amendments to future Government Plans. The Panel welcomes this additional funding and expects to receive further information on how it will be allocated in due course. 

The Panel will continue to explore how funding is allocated to Jersey Business after hearing that the Government proposes the organisation should receive £1.56 million each year for the next four years, which incorporates £700,000 in addition to its base grant of £860,000. It also found that the Economics Unit requires additional funding, as the current base level of staffing is unable to fully support the growth in demand. 

Chair of the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel, Deputy Moz Scott, said “The tight timeline, lack of detail and confidentiality of departmental business cases has made the process of reviewing the latest Government Plan a challenging one. We wished to share the cost breakdown for the Opera House and to have more clarity on the contingency for refurbishment, however, we have been on the whole encouraged by the information Ministers have provided during public hearings. We encourage Ministers to take on board our comments and recommendations so that a richer and more informed debate on the Government Plan can take place in the upcoming States Meeting.”

The debate on the proposed Government Plan 2023-26 will take place during the States Meeting commencing Monday 12 December. 

To read the report click here

States Assembly Press Notice

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