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States agree "lipstick on a pig" amendments to P&R plans

States agree

Friday 01 April 2022

States agree "lipstick on a pig" amendments to P&R plans

Friday 01 April 2022

The States approved four amendments yesterday to add limited additional controls and clarity to the role, governance and funding of a proposed development agency, which they are currently debating whether to set up. It would lead construction projects along the east coast.

The successful amendments were proposed by Deputy Gavin St Pier. He said that his amendments "improve the propositions" on which debate resumes today - but also said that he was "really just putting lipstick on a pig".

The amendments were supported by the Policy & Resources Committee, which is leading the ongoing debate on the proposed development agency. 

Deputy Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier's four amendments were swiftly approved by the States.

The least far-reaching of the amendments - marked as amendment five in the debate - was described by Deputy St Pier as a "technical amendment to clarify the source of £1million of funding" which the Committee wants the States to provide to the development agency to start its work.

Amendment three was described as "seeking to clarify the development agency’s role as a delivery vehicle and ensure that the development agency has clear strategic guidance necessary to enable it to deliver development which achieves the intended outcomes".

Amendment four was described as "seeking to provide an appropriate level of assurance in respect of the role and responsibilities of the political oversight group" which will oversee the development agency if it is approved by the States at the end of their debate. Amendment four also inserted a requirement for an annual States' debate on the work of the development agency. 

Amendment six directed the Committee to prepare proposals for a States' debate on the transfer of land to the development agency. This amendment reflected concerns held by some States' members that public land could be transferred to the development agency without appropriate political oversight or approval.


Pictured: The amendments were seconded by Deputy Mark Helyar, the Policy & Resources Committee's Treasury Lead.

After the debate on his amendments, Deputy St Pier told Express: "I am delighted that the Assembly swiftly and overwhelmingly supported my four amendments, once they had been endorsed by the Policy & Resources Committee.

"Having a third party agency to deliver development is a concept many can support in principle but the devil, as often, is in the detail. When you are dealing with multi-million pound, generational changes to our environment, much of it publicly owned, it's really important that the governance is robust and it's clear who is responsible for what.

"If the amended propositions go through at the end of the debate, then the States will have a bit more control."

"The Assembly will need to make a decision on the future of the harbours and agree a strategic direction before the agency can start its work.

"The States will also need to agree who the directors of the agency will be as well as receiving an annual report and reviewing the strategic direction every five years.

"I know they are far from perfect, but I was working with the grain of the policy letter and the propositions. The amendments are really just putting lipstick on a pig, but they do improve the original propositions, which clearly many agreed were unsupportable without these amendments.

"Having said that, I'm sure from the debate so far that some members will still vote against the final propositions at the end of the debate."

Debate on the proposed development agency continues today.


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