News

GUERNSEY Electricity has been providing electricity to the island for over 100 years.

Until 2001 all electricity was generated on-island but completion of a cable link to France via Jersey has given the opportunity to import units from the European Grid in conjunction with on-island generation.  The change has brought significant environmental benefits for the Island.

Guernsey Electricity is committed to providing a safe, stable, value-for-money energy supply, while maintaining a responsible attitude towards the environment.

We have linked up to offer CGi members with a tour and social event at the St Sampson's facilities on Tuesday 18 September. This provides a great opportunity to view the power station and  pose questions to the senior officials at Guernsey Electricity.

4:00pm – 5:00pm – Tour of the power station with Lloyd Le Page, Asset Controller.
5:00pm – 5:30pm – Discussion and Q&A on the future of the energy market.
5:30pm – 6:00pm – Drinks & Nibbles (sandwiches, cakes, fruit)

To reserve your place, please email Ian at enquiry@thecgi.net

BACK in June, I highlighted our ongoing concerns with the Population Management Legislation. We therefore resumed our campaign privately with senior politicians and civil servants and one of our committee sits on the Tourism sub-committee and is able to present the CGi’s views at this forum.

Our other two themes are States procurement and deferred pensions. Simon Steele, the Director of Procurement at the States is presenting to the committee in September on the procurement transformation programme so we will update members on the outcome of this meeting.

On deferred pensions, Guernsey is out of sync with the UK in that it does not offer an ability to defer the state pension. There are benefits for the States and to individuals who do not wish to draw their pension at the statutory retirement age so we are to explore this with a local actuarial firm and the States itself.

I am delighted to confirm that our social event and tour takes place on 18 September at Guernsey Electricity’s offices. Organised through Sally-Anne David, committee member and GEL director, the event will include a tour of the power station discuss and Q&A on the future of the energy market, followed by drinks and nibbles. Email enquiry@thecgi.net to secure your place.

The CGi remains resolutely determined to play its part in kick-starting Guernsey’s economy and continues to engage with the key decision makers on the island. The work and dialogue simply does not stop.

ONE topic that has been top of mind over recent months is GDPR.

Have you all taken steps to ensure compliance with our local laws that mirror the EU’s legislation?

We are in regular touch with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and if members are encountering issues we would be happy to discuss with the Commissioner and provide support and general advice to members on compliance. Please feel free to email enquiry@thecgi.net

THE CGi really wants to play a part in kick-starting Guernsey’s economy and continues to engage with the key decision makers on the island. We regularly meet with senior civil servants and politicians from the Chief Minister down and discussions have included the Population Management Law (PML), incentives for start-up and local businesses, deferred pensions along with and green energy and renewables.

The responses have been encouraging and the dialogue will not stop. It was also positive to see Deputy Charles Parkinson attend our AGM in March and field questions on a wide range of topics.

The PML is still a barrier to local companies expanding so we are to restart our campaign with two aims – the short term (9 months on/three months off) licences to return without the five year maximum term and the classification of longer term licences to include essential roles other than those seem to suit the finance industry.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to reply to feedback on the new Economic Vision Strategy. We compiled the responses received and sent them on to Steve Wakelin, the States’ Chief Strategy & Policy Officer, for consideration prior to the States’ Debate on the Strategy earlier this month.

The speaker at our rescheduled AGM on Tuesday 13 March needed little introduction.

Deputy Charles Parkinson has recently taken on one of the leading roles in the States Assembly, as President of the Economic Development Committee, and was keen to engage with business groups and industry. We too want to work with and support Deputy Parkinson and were grateful for his time, and that of Steve Wakelin, Head of Strategy in the States of Guernsey, who also attended.

Deputy Parkinson began by outlining that his views were very much aligned with the CGi in wanting to diversify Guernsey’s economy and lessen the Island’s dependency on finance.

He talked of the need for a greater vision for Guernsey, and in particular, the renewable energy project, proposed East coast development (the Seafront Enhancement Area, or SEA) and opportunities in data processing, cyber security and secure data storage and location.

Members were keen to ask Deputy Parkinson his views on the Population Management Law, which the CGi has campaigned for changes over the past year, and the President confirmed that a review, chaired by Chief Minister St Pier, had been underway. There was call for liberalisation of the law, even its abolishment completely, but Deputy Parkinson felt that the latter was step too far at this stage. It is likely a compromise would be reached in the coming months.

Deputy Parkinson talked in some depth of air and sea connectivity and told the audience that some progress had already been made. Eurowings, Loganair and another charter airline were due to commence flights this Summer and the Manche Iles Express inter-island ferry service was a promising start with more work required to improve links. Condor Ferries was likely to be sold by its current owner and Deputy Parkinson said the company was keeping him informed.

The Economic Vision Paper is being revised and needs high level objectives, which will focus on what we want the Island to look like in 10 years’ time. Deputy Parkinson also touched on a ‘Red Tape Audit’ and welcomed the CGi’s input in wanting to see barriers to new business removed and in particular called for evidence to show what impediments existed. The better the evidence, the stronger the case for their removal, he said.

Questions from the audience followed on the Population Management Law, notably if Brexit may make the new legislation redundant and whether deferred pensions could be introduced in Guernsey (the UK introduced these after the Second World War). Guernsey is well placed for such legislation – smaller working population and a States’ deficit but Deputy Parkinson advised there is no current appetite for its introduction.

The President talked of the need to increase Guernsey’s working population and said that there had been some improvement lately, as the numbers working had increased through the longer working lives campaign. The Brexit uncertainty in the UK was resulting in more people wanting to relocate to Guernsey.

The meeting finished with a social function and networking.

OUR rescheduled AGM takes place between 6 – 7pm on Wednesday 13th March in the Reading Room at Les Cotils Conference Centre. It will be followed by our Social Function to which members, colleagues and possible new members are invited.

At the meeting, Clive will provide an overview of the work undertaken during the past 12 months, a review of our financial position and there will follow an election and re-election of committee members.

Deputy Charles Parkinson, the newly elected President of the Committee for Economic Development, will be on hand at 18:45 to answer any questions in relation to the Population Management Law. He is also happy to discuss any matter that is of concern or interest to members.

Dr Andy Sloane, the Director of Financial Stability and International Policy Advisor at the GFSC will provide his thoughts on Guernsey’s economy today. He is currently on a sixth month secondment to Guernsey Finance with a brief to develop and deliver a policy framework and development strategy.

There will be a networking opportunity to meet other members with drinks and nibbles available at the end of the AGM.

We would be grateful if you could advise how many of you will attend so we can cater accordingly.

WE bid farewell to Larry Granger, our Managing Director and former Chairman, after his 9 years’ sterling service to the CGi, ably supported by wife Carolyn.

Amongst Larry’s numerous and notable achievements over the years have been the successful campaign against the introduction of GST, lobbying to prevent the Sea Fisheries Protection vessel (Leopardess) from being built off island as well as introducing coding into local junior schools.

Larry’s vast experience, contacts (he does literally know everyone), commercial nous and statesman-like presence will be missed by us all.

 

To show our appreciation , Larry was presented with a Christmas hamper and Carolyn a bouquet of flowers at the December committee meeting.

GUERNSEY’S new population management law needs to be reviewed urgently because the current delays in processing applications prove it isn’t working efficiently, according to a leading island business organisation.

The Confederation of Guernsey Industry said it was disappointed – but not surprised – that the new system wasn’t working well and it was worse than what was previously in place.

‘What makes the CGi so concerned is that the Population Management Office approach is overly bureaucratic and applications are taking too long to process, making some virtually impossible to deal with,’ said chairman Clive McMinn.

‘The fact is that the introduction of this supposedly improved law is actively damaging island businesses and affecting productivity. The harm being caused has to be stopped before it becomes terminal for certain sectors.’

Welcoming Economic Development Committee president Peter Ferbrache’s similar criticism of a law that wasn’t working, Mr McMinn highlighted three principal defects that needed rectification:

• A lack of clarity and flexibility built into the online tick-box application process

• Procedural difficulties with the law, including the time taken to process applications and the associated high cost of making one

• Damage to local businesses by the creation of problems that did not exist before by restricting skilled and hard-to-replace staff to terms of just five years.

‘Ultimately, the worst damage is being caused by the removal of the previous “nine months on, three off” regime combined with the removal of the ability to use the Open Market, especially in the hospitality sector,’ said the CGi chairman.

‘We know from our membership, which covers a wide range of island businesses, what damage this is doing to the island economy,’ he said. ‘Politicians and civil servants need to move quickly to reduce red tape and confusion and simplify the whole process of work permits and housing permission.

‘Our deputies have to understand the priorities here, get a message out that Guernsey is open for business, and prove it is business friendly,’ said Mr McMinn.

THE Confederation of Guernsey Industry has urged the States to take positive steps and focus on population, connectivity and growth as enablers of the economy.

This follows the current debate into the proposed extension of the airport runway and demands to spend taxpayers’ money on external consultants when, in the view of the CGi, the island itself should determine the priorities for the future.

In a letter sent to all Deputies today, Clive McMinn, CGi Chairman, believes the States needs to tackle the key issues of population, growth and connectivity.

‘We all share a common goal to see the island prosper, particularly at a time when facing considerable economic challenges. The States needs to focus on how the island should look in the future, how many people do we expect to live here and from there set realistic objectives and create the conditions for encouraging business.’

‘We cannot ask consultants to come in at great cost, time and effort without having our own firm ideas of where we are going. It is not just a question of money, it is a question of priorities,’ Mr McMinn added.

The CGi also distanced itself from calls to extend the airport runway and queried why other, more immediate options had not been taken.

‘It does seem odd that Guernsey will not support an inter-island ferry trial which would have brought visitors to the island and revenue to a struggling visitor economy straightaway, but is to consider spending a similar or greater amount on consultants to establish the viability of lengthening the airport runway with no guarantee of any future income.’

‘We are very much aligned with the views of Deputies Peter Roffey and Heidi Soulsby in that we should not be talking about a runway as the solution in isolation before we determine the problem and try to understand and solve it,’ he said.