IMPROVING OUR ECONOMY
We need radical changes in the way government manages the economy. The local finance industry has been supporting less successful industries, but automation and artificial intelligence threatens a third of its jobs. Global political and economic factors make it vulnerable in other ways.
Homeworking saves commercial rental costs for finance businesses and could free office sites for much-needed housing. As we saw during the pandemic, that creates a problem for those hospitality businesses that are unable to cater for homeworkers. Some of them have already adapted, others have not. Some are tied to premises by leases and struggled to find alternative business tenants to replace them during the pandemic.
Change is inevitable as the global economy changes, driven by changes in technology. For more successful businesses to grow and acquire staff and premises, less productive enterprises need to be allowed to fail rather than be propped up with public money, except where that support can be justified in the greater public interest.
Earlier this year, States Members responded to anecdotal evidence alone to reject a proposal supported by consultants engaged by government to prevent hotels on the seafront of St Brelade’s Bay from being converted into flats without further planning permission.
This highlighted the need for the Minister for Economic Development to investigate economic hardship cases better and to become more actively involved in planning matters. Furthermore, it was revealed during the pandemic that government economists did no economic modelling.
The How Proposition list proposes the following to improve the economy.
- Reform of Economic Development Department (EDD) to focus on:
- needs and gap analysis
- implementation plan
- transition plan,
to advance New Perspectives report, all to be co-produced with Economic Council under its direction.
- Future Economic Planning and Economy Modernisation to include:
- proactive Islandwide economic land management and oversight
- identification and support of
- robust planning protection measures
- related infrastructure and sustainable energy supply
- for the most economically valuable sites for tourism, international trade and Island interconnectivity
- collection of objective evidence and work with Treasury to ensure taxpayer funds are not supporting commercially unproductive enterprises with exception of specific community support operations such as:
- farmers supporting food security/environmental protection
- hospitality premises in strategic areas
- international supply chain improvement/inclusion on global indices used by New Economy businesses and global product commercialisation support
- exploration of joint ventures to support interconnectivity and goods carriage (including with Guernsey for ferry services); and
- economic modelling and development of New Economy Growth Business Models (with relatively low domestic footprint) following best known methods globally and related training plans (transformation of local work-force to one knowledgeable of global best-known practice)
- business red tape review and blitz.
- Transfer of sports and culture management to joint management of
- Education Strategic Delivery Panel and Economic Department in case of Culture and Health/Wellbeing
- Strategic Panel and Economic Department in case of Sport
- Require living wage to be paid by all business establishments other than:
- Farming establishments supporting food security/environmental protection strategy and strategic visitor economy establishments if providing employees adequate accommodation plus minimum wage
- Charitable establishments, farming and visitor economy establishments paying minimum wage or more to those receiving States or public sector pension or in full time grant-funded education.
- Visa scheme for seasonal hospitality staff to be relaxed to enable immediate employment