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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.

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.

OUR AGM takes place between 6 – 7pm on Wednesday 28th February, in the Reading Room at Les Cotils Conference Centre.

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.

We are also delighted to be able to welcome two guests who will join us towards the end of the AGM.

Deputy Charles Parkinson, the newly elected President of the Committee for Economic Development, will be on hand 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 me how many of you will attend so we can cater accordingly.

Clive outlines our main priorities for this year:

The CGi really would like to play its part in kick-starting Guernsey’s economy and we discussed our ideas at a recent meeting with Deputy Charles Parkinson, the new President of the Committee for Economic Development and senior civil servants.

We firmly believe that the size of the island population is linked to economic growth and measures need to be taken to increase the numbers working and contributing to the economy. Amongst other things, this requires a further review of the Population Management Law which we campaigned for last year.

Our other key policy areas are:

• Improving strategic transport links
• Improving digital connectivity, infrastructure and skills
• Reducing over regulation
• Diversifying the economy/incentives for new industry
• Green energy/renewables
• Preventing the brain drain from the island
• Introducing deferred pensions

There have been some recent changes in the CGi committee and Larry Granger stepped down after 9 years’ sterling service. Carolyn Granger has also retired along with David Inglis and James Falla and we thank them for their hard work and dedication.

Four new committee members have been appointed who will provide valuable insight and guidance. They are Kimberly Newman, Sally-Anne David, Tony Brassell and Martyn Gaudion.

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.

GUERNSEY is in grave danger of damaging its way of life unless it changes the proposed population management legislation.

The stark warning comes from the Confederation of Guernsey Industry, which says that the new law on short-term employment permits will open a ‘skills drain’, leaving island businesses chronically short of trained and experienced staff.

And that will impact all those employers offering cleaning, catering, care, hospitality and other vital services to islanders, says CGi chairman Clive McMinn.

He is seeking an urgent meeting with Committee for Economic Development president Deputy Peter Ferbrache to press for a fresh look at elements of the new law and believes other business associations support the CGi’s concerns.

‘The people who are affected by this are classed as unskilled, but they are not. They are absolutely essential to Guernsey’s economy,’ said Clive. Unless the law is amended, the infrastructure and the way of life of the island is in peril.’

That is because so many businesses rely on the skill and knowledge of seasonal staff who work here for nine months, leave for three and then return for a further nine months.

Many have been doing so for years and that level of training and experience cannot be replaced by recruiting new people ‘off the street’, even if they could be found. The new population management regime allows for a fresh annual application for the same individual up to a maximum of five years, after which they cannot return, and the CGi says some staff have already received letters warning they have reached their five-year limit.

As a result, many other employees are already approaching the end of their five-year maximum, or else part-way through it, and are questioning whether there is any point working here at all, said Clive.

This uncertainty is compounded by the Brexit-linked fall in the value of sterling, making wages here less attractive for guest workers making it even harder for Guernsey to recruit the staff it needed.

He rejects suggestions that the CGi was consulted on the proposed population changes. ‘Individual members may have been, but we as a body were not,’ he said, ‘and in any event, we now see that the views of industry have been ignored.

‘We only realised that when the proposals were published, hence the urgency to address this potentially catastrophic draining of skills from the Guernsey economy.’

The CGi, which says the hospitality sector raised these concerns last year but was also ignored, has written to all deputies outlining the difficulties and urging a delay in implementing the regime for further consideration of the five-year rule.

‘We had just five responses,’ said Clive, ‘which is why we are looking to take this up with Deputy Ferbrache and Economic Development because the risk to the island’s economy is so widespread and risks turning the restaurant and hotel sector into a second class industry.’

These fears also reflect feedback from care homes, the care industry generally, growers, light industry, construction, retail and the financial and general service sector.

‘We have even lost the safety net of the open market,’ said Mr McMinn, because the five-year rule also applies to short-term staff living there.

He also rejects claims that amending the five-year rule will increase the size of Guernsey’s population. ‘We are talking about people who want to work here, not settle here, he said.