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Catherine Jan Hall

Catherine Jan Hall
  • Parish Vale
  • Experience New Candidate
What do you think?
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Personal Statement

I was a Registered General nurse gaining experience in both clinical and management roles until my marriage after which I concentrated on family and supporting my husband to run a growing international business. I still support my adult disabled son. I am the Branch Officer, National Autistic Society and Education Representative for the Guernsey Disability Alliance; both voluntary roles have given me valuable experience of working with States departments.

  • COVID Management and Economic Recovery
  • Education
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Social Policy

Manifesto

Economy

Economics is not simply about ‘balancing the books.’ Guernsey is a community not a business and its people and environment are essential parts of the economy. We need to recognise that effective social policy is as important to the economy as investment in capital projects or business development.

All the following are not separate issues but integral to a healthy economy:

COVID management is a priority, with no reason to suggest it will stop being one anytime soon. I support the evidence-based approach which has seen our island outperform much of the world in this crisis, and we should continue its trajectory into the autumn. This must include ongoing short-term support for affected business sectors i.e tourism and retail.

The recovery will test the strength of our community, and the States must take a proactive role in steering us through this crisis. Now is not the time to shy away from borrowing, so long as we are careful in spending borrowed money on capital projects, chosen to generate national income. Such projects should include transport links i.e Aurigny and digital connectively.

External factors will impact on our finance industry, which constitutes 40% of GDP. Now more than ever is the time to invest in diversifying our economy. One such example could be to utilise our tidal range, the highest in Europe, to create a renewable energy source that has the potential to be an exporting good.

Let’s pay our nurses what they’re owed. Not only is this a moral issue, but it makes sense for the economy. Uncompetitive low wages are hurting recruitment and retention of skilled staff across the board. We should review pay and conditions for key staff and the license policy.

We may need to review our tax regime post-COVID. Above all, we need to ensure the tax burden is fair and doesn’t squeeze lower and middle earners anymore than it needs to. Neither should we throw international competitiveness out the window, but we must keep the balancing act between the demands on public spending and the benefits of being a low-tax jurisdiction.

Education

I spoke publicly at the protest against the two school model, as smaller schools are more appropriate for our community. I favour three schools and the retention of a single sixth-form centre.

But inequality in education starts from birth. I would support further investment in early years family support end nursery education. The delayed review of special educational needs provision should be a priority so that it can inform decisions on both secondary education and updating education law.

Investment in developing post 16 and adult education and skills training is vital for economic development and reducing reliance on off-island recruitment.

Health

I support ongoing development of health screening and preventative programs, access to early diagnosis and intervention and access to cost-effective treatment. We need to progress commitments to cost-effective treatment and to provide adequate funding to implement the Disability Strategy Frameworks. These investments have the potential to reduce higher costs for other parts of the health service. Similarly, continuing to develop partnership and to commission services from 3rd sector organisations has cost-saving potential.

Social Policy

In 2013, the States passed the Disability Strategy and promised to improve accessibilities to employment, goods and service and education. Now its 2020 and few commitments have been met. I want to see real progress on these promises as well as the agreed Equality Legislation. Many of us were happy to see both unanimously passed this Summer. Now let’s fulfil the promises.

I hope to be able to take forward the review of our criminal justice system. We need to review our drug and alcohol strategies and treat drug abuse as a health rather than criminal issue. There are persuasive arguments for decriminalising and regulating cannabis for recreational use and I think this should be given consideration. I would want any such decision to be made in full consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Environment

Guernsey is a unique and beautiful place to live and we need to protect our island home for ourselves and future generations. We do have a need for affordable homes and limited space for industrial use. However, as a Vale resident I share my northern neighbours’ concerns over the continued loss of green space while we have undeveloped brownfield sites such as Leales yard remaining undeveloped; and proposals for depositing inert waste at an environmentally sensitive site. Neither seem to fit with the newly agreed strategy for nature. I would like to see better control over the use of Greenfield sites and prioritisation of redeveloping brownfield sites and a review whether increasing the ratio of residential to retail space might help regenerate the town centre.

I would be like to favour initiatives to promote the use of renewable energy, active travel and sustainable land use.

Answers to questions proposed by the public:

Most of the detailed work of the States is done in committees, like the Committee for Environment and Infrastructure. What experience do you have of being on a committee and how did you contribute?

I am chair of National Autistic Society Guernsey Branch, a member of the Guernsey Disability Alliance executive committee and was part of the HSC Framework for Autism steering group. Have attended many meetings with Health and Education at political and strategic level.

With unemployment currently running at an all time high, what measures would you like in place to ensure local people are offered jobs before license holders ?

We have system where a license can only be granted if there is no suitable local candidate.I would support measures to improve training opportunities to help match skills to job vacancies.

What concrete measures would you like to see implemented in Guernsey during the next term to achieve net zero carbon by 2050?

Investment in local renewable energy production ( wind, solar, tidal). Incentives to encourage move to electric vehicles and domestic energy conservation and production ( insulation, solar panels).

I live in St Peter Port but have interests in the Vale, St Peters and Castel. Will you be looking at Island Wide issues or more so in your Parish of residence?

I live in the Vale and would want to represent issue specify to the North of the Island but my interests are in policy areas that effect people island wide. I would also want to ensure Guernseys International relationships are represented.

Are you concerned about the large amount of agricultural land that is being lost for private gardens?

Yes and the development of green field sites while brownfield site such as Leales Yard are led undeveloped. We need planning law that will protect environmentally sensitive areas and prevent further loss of biodiversity.

You will make many commitments as a politician, but how will you actually ensure these are achieved? If you have been a deputy before, what will you do differently this term to improve achievements?

It is not possible for a single deputy to commit to delivering on any policy. I can commit to promoting I support and working collaboratively with others to develop and deliver them. I would scrutinise other policy and attempt to influence outcomes with cross committee collaboration and with evidence based debate.

What are your opinions on climate change and Guernsey's role in tackling it?

Scientific shows that we are in a period of global warming. Guernsey is a small community so may not have a massive impact in global terms but we have a high carbon footprint per head of population so we should do what we can to reduce that.

What are the attributes and skills you will be looking for in the next President of the Policy & Resources Committee?

Leadership skills and experience.A good understanding of current issues, both local and international. A willingness to listen to expert advice and to work collaboratively with other committees.

If the independent Cost Benefit Analysis supports lengthening the airport runway, would you vote in favour of investing in this key element of island infrastructure?

Would consider voting of extending the runway if there is strong evidence to support it.

Do you believe that diversification of the island's tax base is an important consideration for Guernsey in today's volatile and fast-moving global economy? If so, how can this specifically be achieved for Guernsey?

I think we do need to review or taxation and we may need to increase our tax take. I do not want to see taxes that disproportionately affect low and middle earners. However we have to consider the value to our economy of being a low tax jurisdiction. Finding the right balance will not be easy. Taxation is not my area of expertise and it is something that will require input from tax penalises and economist.

What are the candidates' views on maternity pay and leave and how would they improve the current arrangements, if at all?

Most of guernseys employment protection is either limited or non existent. Reviewing maternity (and paternity) pay should be part of an overall updating of employment protection in line with the Equality legislation that has been agreed and will hopefully be implemented.

I believe Guernsey needs a vision; a forward-thinking concept for the future of the island’s infrastructure, community wellbeing and economy. What’s yours?

There are a lot of visionary strategic plans in place already. My ambition is to see some of them actually funded and implemented.

Do you agree that people should be encouraged to use cars less and if so what measures would you like to see introduced to achieve this?

Yes developing safer walking and cycling routes.

Do you support outsourcing of States services?

Yes if they can be done better and more cost effectively.

What intra island transport strategy would you support to ensure safe and ‘clean’ travel on island for all road users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists? And how do you plan to deliver that plan financially?

Incentivising move to electric vehicles by Investing in renewable energy.

What measures will you put in place during the next term to ensure that environmental biodiversity will be protected and enhanced?

A strategy for nature has just been agreed. I would promote the implantation and

The Guernsey Press had an article and a picture of a proposed East Coast development called HYDROPORT. It seemed to me to be a brilliant plan and included a new deep water harbour, a hydro electric supply by enclosing Belgrave bay and changes to St Peter port harbour to accommodate cruise liners and super yachts. It would provide jobs, produce an ongoing and substantial revenue stream and make us to some extent self-reliant on electricity, why has there been no update on this project?

I assume that there has been no update on this proposal because he current sets decided not to debate the way forward on East Coast development at the end of this term. It should be one of the priorities for the new States to consider major capital investment in such projects to help revive the economy.

Do you agree that there is a climate crisis caused predominantly by the actions of humans?

There seems to be a strong consensus in the scientific community that this is the case. So yes.

Longue Hougue has been proposed as a site for inert waste disposal despite it being a site of international importance in terms of wildlife. La Societe Guernesiase and other scientists have advised against this. What will you do to ensure that this valuable habitat is protected?

The Strategy for nature has just been agreed. I would promote develop a better system of actually implementing and abiding by agreed strategies such as this. Destroying an environmentally sensitive site goes against every thing the stagey supports.

Most scientists and experts agree that a target of 2050 to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions is nowhere near ambitious enough and will have catastrophic consequences around the world. What will you do to ensure that Guernsey takes action to significantly reduce carbon emissions during the next term?

Part of our capital investment should be in renewable energy generation.

What is your view on current spending on Aurigny, is it worth how much we are paying? Is it run efficiently? Did we need new aircraft?

We need to decide whether we consider Aurigny an important lifeline service or a commercially viable airline. I am not an aviation expert so could not comment on how well Aurigny is run.

A significant proportion of the concerns about the two college model of secondary education related to the capital costs and space standards: they could have been addressed with higher spending. Would you be prepared to spend more money on the future model of secondary education than previously agreed by the States in September 2019? If so, how much more?

I think some increase in capital spend would be appropriate if it were to develop facilities that are more able to offer flexibility and fit better with other strategies Eg active travel, engagement with nature, mental health support.etc. I could not put an estimated figure on this as I don’t know exactly what additional space is needed or how much it would cost within each of the proposed options.

With the general increase in costs of running the island and with various capital projects requiring funding; and with limitations on the amount that islanders can be taxed; do you think that it may be time to revisit the 0-10 tax scheme that created a big black hole in the island's finances?

Yes I think we will need to review our tax system and if we need to increase tax revenue we need to find ways of doing so without it disproportionately affecting lower and middle income people

If elected, what priority will you give to the introduction of the already-drafted consumer protection legislation?

I dont know. There is a considerable amount of “unfinished business ‘ that will need prioritising. I certainly think consumer potation legislation is important.

Did you know that same-sex families aren't treated equally when it comes to registering the birth of a child? What will you do to change that?

Measure sto change this have been included in the approved Equality proposals. I will be supporting prioritising he drafting of the equality law.Measure sto change this have been included in the approved Equality proposals. I will be supporting prioritising he drafting of the equality law.

Would you support a programme of privatisation of island utilities and other facilities such as Beau Sejour to help reduce record levels of borrowing resulting from the cost of Covid defences?

Possibly if presented with a good case for doing so. I would want to know that the doing so was to the benefit of the service users in the long term.

Increasing home working will likely result in surplus office space. Will you encourage an urgent revision of Planning Policies to facilitate conversion of retail and office space to residential & curb green-field development?

I think this is something we will need to consider urgently. We cannot continue to loose Greenfield site while we have alternate brownfield and urban regeneration sites left empty.

What is your attitude towards enhanced and mandatory registration, chipping and DNA recording of dogs and control of their fouling, island-wide?

I would want to know how feasible and cost effective it would be.

I have one question for sitting Deputies and one for new candidates. Deputies:- what, in your mind, was your greatest political achievement in the last four years? New candidates:- What is your biggest political goal in the next four years?

To see effective social policy recognised as a vital part of the economic well being of the island and not as something nice to have but unaffordable.

How good are your mediation and conciliation skills? The key to the islands well-being and progress is in working together to achieve the projects approved - to see sustainable, innovative solutions. Leadership in pulling the team together to move forward, rather than in circles.

I would say my mediations kills are reasonable. I do some informal advocacy work which sometimes involve helping to repair strained relationships between clients and professionals. I do however resist decisions that blatantly ignore contrary evidence and will challenge such decisions.

Would you support not giving Local Market licenses to those earning above a set level to support both LM and OM?

No It would be a deterrent to recruitment of higher paid specialist staff.

First time buyers are encouraged to buy new build developments taking up green space, while there are vast amounts of listed properties facing dereliction on the island - buildings ripe for restoration, renovation and to be lived in. Currently, people are put off as they are greeted with stringent and outdated views by The Planning and Heritage Department - it takes too much time and money so are immediately put off. What will you do to change the process for the better?

I think this is something we will need to consider urgently. We cannot continue to loose Greenfield site while we have alternate brownfield and urban regeneration sites left empty.

Would you support changes in the law to make cannabis for personal use legal?

Possibly. I support progressing the criminal justice review and think this should include reviewing how we deal with drug use.

Question for New Candidates: During the COVID-19 lockdown States Meetings were held virtually. On 24th of June Meetings resumed in the Royal Court Chamber. As a prospective States Member have you spent any time at all in the public gallery observing our Parliament (potentially your future workplace) in action? If not, why not?

Yes I have been in the public gallery for a number of debates but more frequently listen to the debates on radio ( means I can do the ironing at the same time) I am also familiar with reading policy documents.

In 1945, the generosity of people outside Guernsey enabled the delivery of Red Cross parcels to the island on the SS Vega. What is your view on the statement that ‘charity begins at home but should not end there’? How can we best show our care for people in need in other parts of the world?

We should continue a proportionate over seas add programme.

This is a question for new candidates; do you agree with the principle of scrutiny of government and if so how would you ensure that it was fairly carried out ?

Yes We need to improve the scrutiny process and I support the introduction of a freedom of information law.

Considering the mounting public pressure against the way our current justice system deals with cannabis offences, what is your stance on the legalisation and regulation of cannabis in Guernsey?

Possibly. I support progressing the criminal justice review and think this should include reviewing how we deal with drug use.

In a review last year into drugs and treatments and States debate in January, HSC acknowledged that the disparity between life changing NICE TA drugs available in Guernsey compared to the NHS had become too great to be justified, with nearly 4000 patients now on sub-optimal treatments. The Guernsey Health Reserve was identified as the funding source. HSC announced last week a delay of at least a year to the implementation of this policy. How do you propose to tackle the pace at which change takes place within the States? Should you be held accountable for delivering on commitments you make individually, as a committee or collectively as the States?

Deputies are accountable individually for the what they say in debate and the way hey vote . Committee decisions are collective decisions not individual. A committee is responsible for policy they propose but not necessarily for the amendments that are laid or final outcome. Decisions of funding and prioritisation is the responsibility of P and R. Essentially the states as whole are responsible for the final decisions and speed which policy is approved.

Earlier this year, the States passed the introduction of life-saving and life-changing NICE-Approved drugs & medicines by a massive 32-1 vote; these drugs are readily available under the NHS and SHS in the UK. HSC have now announced that the implementation of this is now to be delayed by a year or so. Out of all projects the States have on their list - this has to be THE single most important one because it will affect up to 4,000+ residents of our island. How do you intend to bring forward the delay of this incredibly important topic to a much quicker implementation date?

I would be asking that HSC honours the agreement to implement this immediately. Asking a highly vulnerable group to wait another year for life saving or enhancing treatment that is readily available on the NHS is inexcusable.

The recent Frontier report on the runway extension summed up that "the economic benefits of extending the runway are likely to outweigh the costs" with net benefits over 40 years of up to £687m (over £20k per household). Post COVID, do you support continued investigation into the potential for a runway extension to improve Guernsey's infrastructure, air links, and sustain the visitor economy?

I would be asking that HSC honours the agreement to implement this immediately. Asking a highly vulnerable group to wait another year for life saving or enhancing treatment that is readily available on the NHS is inexcusable.

Have you been made aware that every report that the SOG has commissioned for 20 years has flagged the need to extend the runway to circa 1700m+ and the commercial benefits it will bring for the island as a whole?

I am aware that there have been a number of reports but I am also aware that aviation experts re divide on the merits of such an extension.

Brexit presents a unique opportunity for Guernsey to strengthen its ties with other Commonwealth countries and stand on its own two feet on an international scale. Would you be willing to make an effort to strengthen our diplomatic ties to countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada?

Yes.

The current states assembly has approved proposals for a Discrimination Ordinance, but much work needs to be done. How committed are you to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, people with disabilities and people of faith are protected on this island?

Yes I am a currently a member of the Guernsey Disability Alliance and have been active in campaigning for this legislation of over 10 years.

What criteria do you use for decision making?

I prefer to carefully weigh evidence and listen to different pints of view.

In the last two years two pieces of legislation have come to the States which specifically target the most vulnerable members of our society - euthanasia and abortion - where a person’s fundamental and basic right to life is overridden in the name of lesser rights. Do you believe that disposing of a person’s life is a sign of progress? Do you believe that failing to protect human life at any age or stage of development is the mark of a civilised and enlightened and caring society?

I think it is the mark of a civilised society that we should grapple with such ethical dilemmas in a compassionate way. Abortion laws do not target the most vulnerable they are an attempt to achieve some kind of balance between the competing ( not lesser) rights of a woman to health wellbeing and bodily autonomy with that of a developing foetus.

It is beyond time to invest in our people, infrastructure and public services. Do you plan to make the island's tax system more fair and progressive, so that more businesses and the wealthy pay a fairer share?

I think we do need to review or taxation and we may need to increase our tax take. I do not want to see taxes that disproportionately affect low and middle earners. However we have to consider the value to our economy of being a low tax jurisdiction. Finding the right balance will not be easy. Taxation is not my area of expertise and it is something that will require input from tax penalises and economist.

Do you support a reduction in the cost of running the civil service? If so, how would you do that and over what timescale?

Not if it means cutting frontline services. We do need to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness.

As we subsidise the airline, should Aurigny have a monopoly over all air routes to and from the Bailiwick, with a regulator to ensure fair pricing and a policy of not for profit?

it is an option worth consideration. I think we do need to think about what we expect of aurigny.

Should the island be spending tax payers money on maintaining air and sea links?

Yes we have to maintain lifeline links.

What is your view on future funding for long term care as current funding will be insufficient by 2040?

We will have to look at options for funding the gap. The recent proposal did not find favour so an alternate will be needed.

What is your opinion of introducing a goods and sales tax?

I would be reluctant to support as such taxes disproportionately affect people on lower incomes.

What initiatives would you put in place to grow our economy?

Invest in infrastructure and prioritise income generating projets.

Do you support developing end of life care (including palliative care) or would you look to introduce a form of euthanasia as in assisted dying (assisted suicide)?

I would prefer to improve end of life care.

Education - Do you know what T levels are and if you do, would you be enthusiastically demanding that they are available here in Guernsey?

yes I know what they are. No I wouldn’t be specifically promoting them over any other qualification. I think politically the states should be promoting a range of post 16 options and we should value technical and vocational qualifications as much as academic options but I think the choice of specific types of qualifications should be something for educational staff to decide.

There is a lack of mental health support available - particularly to those who seem to fall into the apparent gap between the secondary and primary mental health services. What will you do to address this?

There is a gap in many services to support vulnerable people. I would attempt to promote more spending in such areas on the basis that it is sensible investment and save money on more expensive service by preventing people from reaching a crisis.

How would you as a deputy ensure emotive proposals such as, change to abortion law or assisted dying law would be publicly debated? And allow Islanders to have more of a say in these emotive issues.

I think such complex decisions need a combination of expert advice, evidence on local situation, key stakeholder consultation and wider public consultation. If you mean should such decisions be decided by referendum then no I don Heinz they should.

What is your position on the opportunity to debate the abortion issue more openly and fairly with more balanced representations to the Deputies?

I think there should have been wider stakeholder engagement on abortion but I am not sure wider public debate would be particularly helpful. It is an emotive an challenging ethical issue on which may people have a perfectly reasonable but totally inflexible position. The changes to the law were not about the fundamental issue of whether abortion should be permitted but largely about clinical issues of appropriate gestational limits and the care of vulnerable women.

How do you see the way forward for secondary education in the island? Do you favour a particular model and if so which one?

All the proposed models could be made to work if given sufficient funding. I think the advantages of the economies of scale of the two site model are outweighed by the compromises needed to address the constraints caused by the site and location limitations, so would favour a 3 school option. I don’t think there is any gain for 6th former to being spread over 2 or 3 sites so would prefer to retain a sixth form centre. I am open minded at to whether this would be better run separate or co located with a secondary school or the Guernsey Institute. There are pos and cons to the options. Whatever option is chosen it must be done in full consultation with full consultation with teacher.

Recognising the importance of our natural environment and our hospitality industry how would you propose to move forward essential repairs and any development at St Peter Port harbour, securing access to our beaches (e.g. Petit Port, Divette, Soldiers bay), the maintenance of our cliff paths and the important access from the bathing places to the Clarence battery? Does this essential maintenance take priority over the development of the East Coast/Town seafront?

Yes essential maintenance should take precedence over the development of the east coast. The east coast project will make considerable time to be fully investigated, consulted upon and agreed before any work can commence. Maintenance projects should be much easier to agree and prioritise.

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