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Deputies urge P&R to drop GST plans

Deputies urge P&R to drop GST plans

Monday 23 January 2023

Deputies urge P&R to drop GST plans

Monday 23 January 2023

Yesterday's protest against the introduction of a goods and services tax was substantial enough to show the States that the public don't want it, according to deputies who were present.

Among those seen by Express at the rally were deputies Charles Parkinson, Chris Blin, Carl Meerveld, Liam McKenna, David de Lisle, Simon Vermeulen, Lester Queripel, Chris Le Tissier and John Dyke.

Deputies Aidan Mathews, John Gollop and Andrea Dudley Owen were also seen at the protest.

Estimates on the size of the crowd have varied from a couple of thousand to five thousand people.

Deputy Dyke said there were enough people there to show the strength of feeling against GST.

"I find it difficult to judge the size of crowds but I think the numbers may have exceeded that," he said.

anti gst

Pictured: Deputy John Dyke was distributing ribbons ahead of yesterday's march (top) which saw thousand of people protesting against the proposed introduction of GST.

"The point to be taken on board is that one should not try to force through policies that go against the grain of Guernsey society. P and R are all good, sensible people," he added. "We all need to work together as People’s Deputies to achieve the best possible outcomes in terms of expenditure and tax. I think we can find sensible solutions that do not include GST."

Deputy Dyke remains a member of the Guernsey Party - a much reduced entity which has lost members since the 2020 general election for which the party was formed.

Deputies Dyke and Vermeulen are the only States members within the party now, with both vocally opposing GST. The former Guernsey Party Leader, Deputy Mark Helyar, is one of the P&R members proposing the introduction of GST as part of the Tax Review, having previously said numerous times that he has changed his mind since the election having seen the true extent of the island's deficit.

Fellow Guernsey Party member, Deputy Simon Vermeulen posted on Facebook to thank people for attending the rally saying: "You’ve left Guernsey in no doubt that GST isn’t wanted."

Responding to comments from voters on Facebook, Deputy Gollop said that the island does not support low earners enough - signalling his support for aspects of the Tax Review which seek to reshape the social security system by introducing a system of personal allowances akin to income tax.

While Deputy Gollop would not reply to questions asking him outright if he will vote for or against the GST element, he did say that alternatives are needed to be explored and that he is expecting the debate to last for three days and possibly into the next States meeting due to the number of amendments being lodged.

Deputy Chris Le Tissier said the rally was a success with "substantial" numbers of people protesting.

He said P&R should be changing their mind about GST in the face of the public opposition.

"I think the protest was very successful. I'll leave others to estimate the size of the crowd, but it was plainly obvious it was substantial," he told Express.

"There was a wide cross section of the public there from shopkeepers, garages, other local businesses to the general public. All united in their opposition to GST.

"We shall see if it changes P&R's mind but to date, they have shown no inclination to compromise. I have urged them to do so for the sake of Guernsey and their own positions.

"I am particularly concerned at the effect of the P&R proposals on nearly 13,000 local pensioners many of which already suffer a reduced pension.

"GST should be absolutely the last option when everything else has been tried, not the first. P&R must grasp the nettle and cut costs, and no, not by threatening to close schools and hospital wards."

Deputy Carl Meerveld has also urged P&R to drop the proposed introduction of GST. He has said the Tax Review should be withdrawn from debate and further work done to find a more welcome set of proposals.

It is currently expected that P&R will not be withdrawing the proposals and the debate will commence on Wednesday as planned.

Express is due to meet with Deputy Peter Ferbrache this afternoon to get P&R's response to yesterday's rally.

You can read the Tax Review policy letter and the amendments HERE.


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Alternative tax package promises greater States savings

Social security changes help poorer families and 'middle Guernsey'

Tax plan includes 5% GST - but P&R says most families will be better off

Why States leaders STILL think GST and tax reform is needed

"Unacceptable" and "damaging" service cuts if States reject GST

Is corporate tax the answer?


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