The proposition to delay the second half of the Hospital Modernisation Project is significantly linked to the States failure to make a decision about raising tax, according to the President of P&R.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache bemoaned the stalemate GST debate during a discussion with Express about the reshuffling of the capital projects portfolio.
“The States - and I don't exclude myself from that at all - in the January and February debates concluded by not making any decision at all about tax raising matters,” he said.
“Some will say ‘well, you should have followed our [plan]... well, you should have followed this’ - but the fact is, we followed none and we made no decision at all. That means we're not going to have the money going forward to do all of these projects, even if we wanted to, without borrowing significant sums of money.”
The Assembly threw out the concept of introducing a Goods and Services Tax (GST) in February this year, opting instead to not reform the island’s tax system at all and instead review various ways of saving money and cutting costs. The review of the capital projects portfolio was one such decision.
When asked if deprioritising the Hospital Modernisation Project was a direct consequence of the GST debate, Deputy Ferbrache said:
"It's certainly a consequence, it's certainly a significant consequence. But, it's not the only concern, because the other one is what I've said about resources.
"It's not only money, but also having people to do the job. Anybody who lives in Guernsey knows the building industry is red hot. [Builders] are genuinely very, very, very busy. So, if we were to put two major projects [forward] that would be hundreds of millions of pounds coming onto the construction market at the same time.
“We've got lots of good competent builders in Guernsey, but just not of that size, who could manage that kind of project. So, that was one consideration.
“And the other is, decisions have consequences,” said Deputy Ferbrache, once again referring to GST.
You can listen to the full capital portfolio interview below:
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