This week’s States debate will be an opportunity for many to air their grievances about recent political decisions, while other debates should deliver discussion on a more autonomous Bailiwick.
While the Billet is not jam-packed, and the issues not particularly contentious, there will be plenty of room for healthy debate during a sitting focused mainly on housekeeping.
Deputy Peter Roffey will begin with a general update from the committee he presides over, Employment & Social Security. It’s been a month since ESS failed to convince the chamber to agree an interim-increase in multiple benefits and the Committee has since come out with a proposal for a more “targeted approach to increasing benefit rates”.
The update will allow Deputy Roffey to impart how desperately low-income households need help during this period of high inflation and what his committee is doing to help. The Committee were originally meant to be bringing several pieces of legislation to the chamber for debate, including the latest Social Insurance (Rates of Contributions and Benefits) but there has been a motion to withdraw five pieces of similar legislation due to “the decision of the States on 27 April 2023 not to support proposals for an interim increase to contributory and non-contributory benefit rates”.
A second general update will come courtesy of the President of the Committee for Health & Social Care. It comes at an important time, as Deputy Al Brouard's Committee and the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture have been forced into a competition for finances by P&R’s proposal to deprioritise the second phase of the Hospital Modernisation Project. Tackling lengthy waiting lists, addressing staffing issues and a push for the build of both the hospital and staff accommodation on THAT field are likely to crop up.
The States Assembly will consider changing the process for granting Royal Assent to Projets de Loi. Projets are pieces of proposed legislation that in turn, with States agreement, can become laws. Currently all Projets need to be approved by the Sovereign through the Privy Council in the UK before they come back to Guernsey for approval. Policy & Resources is proposing that this process is amended so Projets can be ratified by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor.
“The new procedure should result in faster processing of Bailiwick Projets, which would no longer be reliant on set schedules for Privy Council meetings,” said the States of Guernsey. “There would be no change to how Projets are debated or approved by the Bailiwick parliaments themselves nor to the registration of legislation in the Royal Court.”
The debate has also given Deputy Gavin St Pier an opportunity to insert an amendment to the Policy Letter, pushing for consideration of Guernsey and Jersey representation on the UK’s Privy Council.
The rest of this month’s sitting will include a handful of questions to ESC and the DPA from Deputy John Gollop, on the promotion and support of island sport and a review of the Island Development Plan. Elsewhere, Home Affairs will be asking for support in making technical changes to Criminal Justice Legislation, including the implementation of an extradition policy between Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, and a new Commissioner for Standards has been proposed by the States Assembly and Constitution Committee.
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