The Chamber of Commerce has today released the results of a recent member survey, revealing alignment with the Chamber Executive’s position on tax reform and fiscal prudence.

Last week, the Chamber executive published a detailed brief for its membership on the content in the tax reform billet, ahead of surveying members to understand their views on the new proposals. Members were asked the following questions:

  1. Are you now convinced that there is a significant gap between government income and costs?
  2. Do you agree with the Chamber executive view that ‘option 3’ (the full tax reform package) is the most viable option proposed?
  3. Do you agree with the Chamber executive view that Government need to set out a clear path for cost cutting including civil service pension reform?

With 90 responses the survey can be deemed statistically significant and representative of the chamber membership.

Gap Between Government Income and Costs

A clear majority, 79% of respondents, now recognise the significant gap between government income and expenditure.  A marked change in stance from the survey earlier in the year.

Support for ‘Option 3’ – The Full Tax Reform Package

73% of respondents agree with the Chamber Executive’s endorsement of ‘Option 3’, the full tax reform package, marking it as the most viable proposal on the table. With only minor support for other options, it appears that the breadth and depth of ‘Option 3’ addresses most of the respondents concerns regarding tax reform.

Demand for a Clear Path on Cost-Cutting: Almost unanimously, 89% of respondents are in agreement with the Chamber Executive’s view that the Government needs to set out a clear path for cost reduction. This overwhelming consensus highlights a shared belief in the necessity for financial discipline alongside any tax reforms.

Steven Rouxel, finance lead for the Chamber of Commerce said, “We urge all the States Assembly to take note of this collective viewpoint, and to focus on the full tax reform package – not just GST. Guernsey’s future depends on responsible, forward-thinking measures – and to fund our future, a whole host of changes are necessary, no single thing can fix this big problem.

“We need Government to set aside their differences and come together to agree a set of measures that will allow the much-needed investment in infrastructure and services.”

The executive believes that “managed decline or live within our means” options will see many of the services we take for granted and are proud of, such as our enviable healthcare system, be reduced. On the basis that managed decline is not a solution, out of the options set out, Chamber executive supports scenario 3.

The Chamber executive are pleased to see an amendment submitted which looks specifically at increasing the local workforce by reviewing childcare options.  Achieving workforce parity in Guernsey is not just a matter of fairness but of economic necessity.

Steven continued “A lack of talent is constraining our growth. Put simply: we need more people in the workforce, and the government needs more income.  And by matching Sweden’s female labour force rates, we could see a 6% increase in GDP in Guernsey, amounting to £194 million annually.”

There is a sizable untapped talent pool in Guernsey. Approximately 8,000 non-employed Guernsey residents have the potential to contribute significantly to our economy. From the data, we know that there are women of all ages, and both men and women over the age of 50. The Chamber are supportive of measures that remove barriers for people being in the workforce.

The Chamber remains committed to engaging with, and advocating for, the best interests of the business community.