The States have set out an ambitious 'Revive and Thrive' recovery strategy to not only recover the economy, but to "improve on where it would have been" without the corona virus pandemic by as early as 2023.
A high-level strategy document has been published today outlining the States' aim to build a more sustainable economy, grow new sectors, increase tax take whilst also making "major investment" in national infrastructure and "addressing pressing social and environmental issues".
Economic modelling for the impact of the corona virus pandemic on the Guernsey economy predicts a loss of GVA, the value of goods and services, of an estimated 8% in real terms, based on the current accelerated exit from lockdown.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said the ambition was to not only restore the majority of economic activity in 2021, but to achieve a £1.4 billion increase in the value of Guernsey's economy between 2021 and 2030 compared to pre-covid economic growth projections.
“This Strategy is just a first step, and it needs a lot of thinking and a lot of work to make our aims real," he said. "I am conscious that it cannot become like other big Government plans of the past and lose its way as we bounce between day-to-day issues in politics and in our lives, it must be focused and deliverable. I hope the time is right to do things differently, that coming through the pandemic successfully has changed our culture and given us the sense of perspective so we can pull together towards a better future.
Pictured: Guernsey's economy is set to take an 8% hit this year, and Deputy Lyndon Trott has outlined why borrowing is required to get the majority of the population back into full employment and give businesses the liquidity they need to operate.
"We must keep the pace of decision-making. We also mustn’t lose the dialogue we’ve had between Government and the community, and communication must be at the heart of our recovery. And, to make sure this doesn’t become ‘just another plan’, we are setting out some immediate actions to make sure things start happening quickly and momentum isn’t lost.”
The main short term actions laid out in the Recovery Strategy are described as:
- completing the review of air and sea links and resolving precisely what Aurigny’s role will be as an 'economic enabler'
- investment in the regeneration of the seafront enhancement area, our built infrastructure and critical national infrastructure
- reviewing the population management regime to ensuring businesses can easily secure the people and skills they need
- overhauling the Bailiwick’s existing telecoms infrastructure and reviewing the use and licensing of 5G
A timeframe could not be given for when those short-term measures would be achieved, although Economic Development President Charles Parkinson hoped some of the "economic pillars" could be achieved by the end of the year.
Pictured: Deputy Parkinson said the short-term aims will benefit everyone either directly or indirectly.
“Transport links, digital and physical infrastructure and supporting businesses with the right people and the right skills – these are the fundamentals that we need to address immediately in order to be better and to grow our economy faster," he said.
"But sorting out our problems in these areas isn’t just good for business, it’s good for the whole community. Everyone will benefit from improved transport links, better digital connectivity, and an enhanced seafront that makes best use of public spaces.”
Health & Social Care President Heidi Soulsby said the strategy would stimulate the economy without putting health considerations on the backburner.
“I’m really encouraged that we have a plan that looks to deliver an economic recovery, but also recognises the importance of ensuring that this is complemented by consideration of the wider determinants of health," she said.
Pictured: Deputy Heidi Soulsby said the island needs to grasp the economic opportunities without abandoning the social and environmental improvements that have been made in recent months.
"We need to learn from our experiences over the last few months, about what is important to us as a community, and build on that. It’s not about the economy versus social and environmental issues, it’s not left versus right, it’s about bringing us together so we work to support each other and come out stronger from this public health emergency than we were going in.”
The "outcome" given in the strategy summarises the "bold and brave" plans that the States want to deliver through its economic recovery strategy.
"Guernsey has revived the large majority of economic activity in 2021 and exceeded the previous growth path for the economy within three years which allows our community to thrive. We recognise that recovery may take longer than three years to achieve but this time horizon provides a clear focus and will enable progress to be tested and future plans adjusted before designing any further phases."
Pictured top: Deputy Gavin St Pier.
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