- Parish St Peter Port
- Experience Current Deputy
Since becoming elected in 2016 I have worked in various areas across the States. I have sat on Home Affairs the entire term and last year I was honoured to be made Vice-President. I have represented Home Affairs on many sub-committees including the Population Management Review Panel, Brexit Sub-Group, Brexit Transition Group and Children & Young Peoples Plan. I have also assisted many in our community when they have needed help.
- Economic Recovery
- Mental Health
- Drug Policy
- Waste Strategy
Economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic: Strategic Investment in capital projects, support for emerging sectors and other targeted economic stimulus initiatives are needed. There are great revenue raising opportunities ahead of us in emerging industries such as local CBD cultivation and production, and there are several other potential industries that could flourish in Guernsey - in areas such as the blue economy as one example. Guernsey’s waters have always been rich with an abundance of marine life. Aside from the puffins and plethora of sea birds, it’s common today to see seals, dolphins and even tuna skipping through our waters. We should be capitalising on this natural phenomena, there should be access to a fund for individuals and businesses wishing to enhance Guernsey’s offering in this area. A little investment from government via a simple grant or loan scheme would kick-start the Bailiwick’s blue economy which in turn would, apart from enhancing our tourist offering, be another strand of revenue for the island.
Secondary education estate: We need to work with stakeholders and agree on a 3 school model. The 1 school 2 site proposals need to be consigned to history so we can move forward with an education estate that provides equal opportunities, in an environment where all students are supported and no one gets left behind. Large schools of 1400 – 1500 students are not what we need.
Housing: We desperately need more affordable housing and Extra Care facilities such as Le Grand Courtil. Policy GP11 in the Island Development Plan was supposed to deliver more units by making developers hand over a percentage of their sites for social housing – that has failed miserably and since 2016 no units have been built through this policy. The larger sites that we already have earmarked for affordable housing must be developed.
Mental Health Provision: In July 2019 Guernsey Mind published a report called “Your Voice” an independent review into mental health provision in the Bailiwick. There are many recommendations within that report, and number 8 states that the Committee for Health & Social Care (HSC) should “Implement a 24hr crisis care service, including a psychiatric liaison team in emergency departments and alternatives to inpatient care”. The lockdown and other restrictions placed upon our community have highlighted that this type of service is critical. Law Enforcement are having to dedicate significant amounts of time to dealing with those with mental illness, who may even not be guilty of any offence. Pressure needs to be applied to the next HSC committee to ensure that the recommendations of the Guernsey Mind review are progressed and not kicked into the long grass.
Drug Policy: When I came into the States in 2016 it was difficult to have educated conversations about drug policy with some of the longer serving deputies – no disrespect intended. Over the course of the last few years, as other jurisdictions have shifted their policy position, we can at least now debate these issues using factual evidence and statistics. Let’s take prescription drugs for an example, far more people in Guernsey are addicted to them than there are addicted to illegal drugs. In recent years some good work has been done in the reduction of prescriptions and monitoring of drugs such as Fentanyl, but it’s not enough as people are still dying. Changing the culture of reliance on prescription medication will play an important role in reshaping policy, and so will ending the prohibition on cannabis. In Canada where cannabis use was legalised in 2018, statistics show that youth consumption has fallen by half since the introduction of the regime. Exactly the same can be seen in the USA, each state that has legalised cannabis use for the adult population has seen youth consumption plummet. Experts say there are 3 reasons for this. Firstly, it’s harder for young people to obtain cannabis in a legal market, secondly, when it became legal it was no longer “cool”, and thirdly and most importantly, they invested some of the millions of dollars the governments made from the industry into harm-reduction campaigns and educational work with young people. We have the evidence now to base our policy on. We can use the experiences of our Commonwealth cousins in Canada, and shape our policy to enable us to educate our young people and protect them from the harm that drugs can bring. Education and regulation is the only way we can achieve this.
Waste Strategy: I voted against our current waste strategy. I’m not saying it’s all bad because collectively we’re recycling more now, but at what cost? The current black bag sticker price and the annual standing charge come nowhere near meeting the operational cost of the strategy. Thankfully the agreement with Geminor is only for a 3 year period which gives us the ability to look at other options. One thing we know is that whatever happens we will be turning our non-recyclable waste into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) - the Waste Transfer Station cost us £32m. We need to be looking to Jersey where they have a huge incinerator and not enough waste to feed it.
This government will have some extremely important decisions to make. The effects of the pandemic on business and the wider community will reverberate throughout this term and beyond. Mitigating the financial and social costs of Covid-19 is fundamental to the future prosperity of our island. The Assembly will have to adopt a strategic approach to investment in capital projects and support for business. We must not though forget about social & environmental investment. We need to learn “lessons from lockdown”, and use the experience to better shape our infrastructure and protect our environment – and I want to be part of this team to deliver a better Guernsey for us all.
I expand on these and other topics on my website www.marcleadbeater.gg. I want to be able to continue the work I have been doing since 2016. I want to deliver on key issues such as justice, and build back better utilising progressive methods of raising revenue rather than defaulting to hiking taxes all the time. A forward moving island needs a forward thinking government.
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 have experience sitting on Education, Sport & Culture, the Development & Planning Authority and I am Vice-President of the Committee for Home Affairs. I have worked on many sub-committees such as the Brexit Sub-Group and the Children & Young Peoples' Plan - and also as Commissioner on the Youth Commission and Sports Commission. My contribution over the last 4 years gained me the roll of Vice-President. We have successfully delivered many Policy Letters this term, and I also represented Home Affairs on the cross-committee, P&R sponsored Population Management Review Panel.
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 ?
Unemployment figures have dropped significantly in the last few months - down from over 1100 to just over 600. That is still too many though. Upskilling and reskilling unemployed people takes time, but it will need a combination of this and other initiatives from ESS, working with Skills Guernsey to reduce the numbers further.
What concrete measures would you like to see implemented in Guernsey during the next term to achieve net zero carbon by 2050?
We're not going to achieve that if we factor in the cruise ship season. Places such as Monaco have banned cruise ships that burn heavy fuel oil as they were impacting negatively on the air quality in the city - the same would apply here with an easterly wind.
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've been involve with island wide issues since I came into the States in 2016 and that wouldn't change.
Are you concerned about the large amount of agricultural land that is being lost for private gardens?
Yes I am concerned - the IDP needs reviewing so we can protect our green spaces.
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?
I don't think I'll do much differently if I am re-elected. Yes I've learned a great deal this term - and applying these experiences alongside my work natural ethic is obviously what I would do but I believe that I have performed well this term.
What are your opinions on climate change and Guernsey's role in tackling it?
We have to take it seriously - and not simply ignore the cruise ships and tax the motorist.
What are the attributes and skills you will be looking for in the next President of the Policy & Resources Committee?
A good leader with integrity, honesty and drive.
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?
Yes, I signed Deputy Kuttlewascher's Requete asking for the cost benefit analysis.
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?
Yes - the re-emergence of our horticultural industry is showing green shoots. Let's support it and encourage as many as we can back into the industry growing Hemp. The crops may not be what we have traditionally grown here but we have an opportunity to become a leader again - and because the CBD industry doesn't rely on shipping live fruit, flowers or plants we no longer have that barrier.
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?
We have the Future Guernsey Plan. That will be refreshed by the new assembly which will need to factor in the impact of Covid on the economy and the community as a whole.
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?
Firstly I'd say let's be realistic. Purely adding extra taxes for the motorist is regressive and can't continue.
Do you support outsourcing of States services?
If a service can be provided more effectively and efficiently by the private sector yes.
What will you do to educate the islanders about the reality of the climate crisis which is the biggest threat currently facing the world?
Luckily enough most islanders appear to be well aware already. The States needs to take the lead in minimising waste and reducing its footprint.
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?
Our transport strategy exists and the hierarchy places vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists at the top. We need a plan to improve infrastructure for all road users, aiming to separate vulnerable ones from vehicles wherever possible. Given the limited scale of our road network this won't be an easy task - but it's vital that the new States addresses this.
What environmental policies would you support to reduce Guernsey’s reliance on the internal combustion engine, in support of International global warming initiatives?
Bus use has been on the rise but I'd still like to see more people using public transport instead of cars.
What measures will you put in place during the next term to ensure that environmental biodiversity will be protected and enhanced?
That protection comes via the Island Development Plan which is due to be reviewed.
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?
There are two Seafront Enhancement Groups - one political and the other Officer level. Little has been achieved by these groups this term and I'd like to see some action - areas of the harbour are in a state of disrepair and need addressing ungently.
Do you agree that there is a climate crisis caused predominantly by the actions of humans?
Yes and it's not new - global dimming is thought to be responsible for the drought and consequent famine in Africa during the 80's. Particles in the air from developing Europe are thought to have prevented the movement of the monsoon belt.
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?
I don't think any of us can claim to have a plan to ensure that it's protected. It's best to use evidence and statistics from experts to convince your peers during debate on these topics.
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?
For a start ban the cruise ships that still burn high sulphur heavy fuel oil - Monaco only allows the cleaner ships now and we should follow.
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?
I voted against the £50m loan for the new but untested fog busting ATR's - if we need new planes we should lease them. It's not easy to understand exactly how all of the losses occur but some appear to be down to poor management decisions - without examining the accounts, which we aren't allowed to see, we'll never fully understand.
If elected, would you fully support the retention, repair and ongoing maintenance of the Sea Defences provided by the anti-tank wall at L’Ancresse Bay?
Yes it was a crazy idea to remove a section of the wall and install ugly groynes on the beach. E&I told us that, if there was a breach in the wall, it could cost up to £1.1m to repair - if it wasn't a serious matter I'd have laughed out loud. Repair the wall and leave it just as you see at many similar places along the French west coast.
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?
We need to focus on educational outcomes and the wellbeing of all students. My favoured 3 school model includes rebuilding LMDC secondary school and is probably not quite as cost effective as others - but I would pay slightly more for a better model.
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 do.
If elected, what priority will you give to the introduction of the already-drafted consumer protection legislation?
I believe the delay was caused by Brexit - the resources that this decision has consumed has affected many pieces of work. This should now be prioritised this coming term.
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?
No I didn't, but I will look into it now that I do.
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?
Beau Sejour makes a loss and is funded by the CI Lottery - I doubt it would be an attractive investment. I wouldn't like to see the privatisation of our utilities.
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?
Yes, when the IDP gets reviewed this will have to be a factor to consider.
What is your attitude towards enhanced and mandatory registration, chipping and DNA recording of dogs and control of their fouling, island-wide?
Unfortunately there are good and not so good dog owners. If methods like these can reduce the amount of dog mess being left and encouraging owners to be more responsible then it needs considering.
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?
Ending selection and halting the 2 school reforms have to be up there. At Home Affairs we also were successful in passing the new Sexual Offences Legislation amongst many other pieces of work.
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 am a very good mediator - being an employer before becoming a States member has helped. Having the ability to find common ground and form positive working relationships are skills definitely needed in this job.
Would you support not giving Local Market licenses to those earning above a set level to support both LM and OM?
That wouldn't work. I'd like to see maybe the TRP level included again though - certainly for the higher paid license holders.
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?
The IDP needs reviewing and will be - this is the tool we need to create more housing.
Would you support changes in the law to make cannabis for personal use legal?
My thoughts on this are well documented. In order to reduce youth consumption we have to regulate and educate - this cannot be done under prohibition.
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 have the Overseas Aid Commission which, under the leadership of Deputy McSwiggan, has delivered some great projects this term.
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?
Educate and regulate - please see my manifesto.
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?
The acronym HSC and the word delay often go hand in hand. Mainly this is due to a lack of resources but all procedures should be kept under review to try and find efficiencies and speed processes up. I believe all members and committees should be accountable for what they say.
What ideas do you have to ensure there is affordable housing including support for first time buyers and ensure affordable rental property is available for locals so they can continue to live here? What is your stance on mortgage tax relief and shared ownership initiatives?
The review of the IDP is where this should begin. We need more local centres and larger ones, freeing up brownfield sites for affordable housing.
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 don't have a magic wand unfortunately so I can't promise to be able to deliver a much quicker implementation date. The best any member can do is to lobby HSC and ask questions in the States - that or get elected onto HSC.
What would you do to address traffic noise pollution from vehicles speeding and backfiring along St Georges Esplanade/Les Banques and towards town?
I was unaware that this part of the island suffers so from this. E&I have responsibility for noise pollution and I will be lobbying them to address it - especially the small 2-stroke ear piercing machines.
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 signed the Requete so yes I have always supported it.
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?
I think we can learn a great deal from our Commonwealth cousins - I expand on that in my manifesto.
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?
I am 100% committed - discrimination of any kind does not belong in any society.
What criteria do you use for decision making?
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 found the abortion debate one of the most emotionally challenging debates of this term. When it comes to decisions that can lead to life or death situations you need to consider every fact and ensure that you haven't missed anything.
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've always been in favour of progressive means of raising revenue rather than simply increasing existing taxes for all.
In light of covid-19 and the hit that the tourist industry has taken what plans (if any) would you try to put in place to make Guernsey more attractive to tourists after travel bans are lifted? And do you feel tourism should play a more crucial role in Guernsey? If not, why?
I would like to see us exploit our blue economy - we have an abundance of natural beauty in and on our waters and we should be showing it off to tourists.
Please list in order of importance: - driving Guernsey’s economy - addressing social needs - protecting the environment - invest in Guernsey’s infrastructure and improve - sort out the schools - focus on air and sea links - extend the runway - implement revive and thrive as a priority - open our closed borders as a priority - reduce states expenditure
Sorry, they are all important and impossible to rank in any order of priority.
List your achievements to date which have been a benefit to Guernsey.
Many policy letters and pieces of legislation including the Sexual Offences Legislation.
Do you support a reduction in the cost of running the civil service? If so, how would you do that and over what timescale?
Of course. Before Covid struck the Chief Executive had a plan to reduce the amount of posts in the civil service. The timeline is clearly something that is operational so that should come from the centre.
What is your view regarding commercialisation with respect to States owned entities?
It depends which - not our utilities.
Should the island be spending tax payers money on maintaining air and sea links?
Yes they are vital and we must remain connected.
What is your view on future funding for long term care as current funding will be insufficient by 2040?
We need more Extra care facilities and we should be encouraging more initiatives such as Greenacres. Creating efficiencies and diversifying our economy should be examined before looking to place the burden elsewhere.
What is your opinion of introducing a goods and sales tax?
It would hit the lower earner hardest and is in my opinion regressive - no to GST.
Would you support the ‘listing’ of all remaining historic military structures, as Jersey has done, to ensure their ongoing protection, repair and maintenance?
Yes, I believe it's already a piece of work being undertaken by SoG in conjunction with Festung Guernsey.
What initiatives would you put in place to grow our economy?
We need to provide funding for start ups and encouragement for new business in emerging sectors. Because of our finite land area on a small island we need to target high value - low footprint industries.
Do you believe that the rates of income support are a) too low b) about right or c) too high? Explain your answer in some detail.
The income support system is relatively new and I get varying feedback - some saying they don't receive enough, other saying they do.
How will you support and encourage young people coming to the island with regards to housing and licencing to ensure the island has more stable tax base as the population ages?
I assume you mean students returning after university. We need to offer uni courses on-island going forward. We have the oportunity to make this happen with the reforms of secondary and post-16 education.
How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?
I am not religious.
Have you read the recommendations contained in the Frontier Economics Report in which they state that the long term benefits of extending the runway far outweigh the environmental and capital costs? If so, are you in favour of extending the runway?
Yes - I signed the Requete.
What are your views on the cost of Primary Healthcare locally and what innovative ideas do you have that don’t simply involve ‘redirecting funding from a different states pot’ to create fair, equitable and affordable access to Primary Care for all islanders?
I believe we should see change here now that the primary care providers have signed up to the Partnership of Purpose.
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 voted against the assisted dying proposals last time. Not that I'm opposed to the concept it's just those proposals contained many flaws.
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 do - If there was a call from industry requiring this then yes.
What will you do to help Guernsey businesses revive and thrive and make Guernsey a 'smarter' and technologically advanced place to do business, and to encourage new start up businesses?
Encourage more people into emerging sectors such as the local CBD industry - high value low footprint, perfect to help us revive and thrive
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?
Mental health support and the problems with it is something I am fully aware of. HSC needs to implement the recommendations of last years review by Guernsey Mind.
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.
All debates are held in public. Surveys on the run up to emotive debates should be independent.
What is your position on the opportunity to debate the abortion issue more openly and fairly with more balanced representations to the Deputies?
We modernised the abortion law this year.
How do you see the way forward for secondary education in the island? Do you favour a particular model and if so which one?
3 schools with a separate 6th form and continuation of the Guernsey Institute is my preferred model. I tried to overturn the 2 school proposals with this model but I didn't get enough support in the States that day.
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 has to take priority. There are areas in and around our harbour that are in a state of disrepair.
What are your views about the proposed way forward with regard to Probate, recognising that the age-old system has been efficient, pastoral, and inexpensive? Are you of the view "if it ain't broke don't fix it"?
The States agreed a resolution earlier this year approving the transfer of jurisdiction.