Policy & Resources is concerned that Guernsey will exhaust its financial reserves if it pursues all of its large building projects at the same time, suggesting that borrowing could be the answer.
The Committee revealed its concerns after setting out a timeline for debating three of the most complicated and essential plans of this term: the Government Work Plan, the Capital Portfolio and the Funding & Investment Plan.
The GWP sets out the government’s priorities for this political term, the Capital Portfolio guides prioritisation of large projects – notably there has been a proposal from P&R to rework this and put the Hospital Modernisation Project on ice – and the Funding and Investment Plan sets out how all the above will be paid for.
The Committee said decisions about the government's priorities are even more pressing, with persistent financial pressure following a failure to decide any tax raising initiatives during the GST debate.
Deputy Bob Murray is the lead for the GWP, he said “the work of Government is broad and complex, even when stripped down to the essentials, and so we appreciate that the detail of how these Plans work together and how they will be debated this year won’t look simple, but we want to also be transparent with our community about what these Plans are and why we’re handling them this way”.
Pictured: Deputy Bob Murray said the bottom line “is we need to ensure we are only doing work that is genuinely critical".
A decision has been made therefore to debate the three plans in a two-stage process. P&R will publish the GWP next week for debate in July.
This will be followed by a debate in September on a revised Capital Portfolio and the Funding & Investment Plan that’ll finance it.
Despite suggesting that these debates aren’t usually “the most headline-grabbing pieces of States business” the Treasury Lead for P&R, Deputy Mark Helyar, said getting them right is now more important than ever.
“These are huge decisions on whether we can deliver our most essential priorities. This is about whether we can afford to do the ‘must-do’ work of Government as recommended by the Principal Committees of the States.”