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Peter Roffey

Contacts
01481 238435
  • Parish St Andrew
  • Experience Current Deputy
What do you think?
Yes No Maybe

Personal Statement

My CV ranges from Senior Broadcast Journalist with the BBC to leading one of the islands’ largest and most successful commercial businesses. I’ve had many unusual life experiences from being trapped inside Iran’s Islamic Revolution to being badly injured in the Boxing Day tsunami. So I’m a well-rounded individual - in more ways than one - and really want to help tackle some of the huge challenges Guernsey is facing.

  • Independent & Moderate – bridge building not indulgent, destructive point scoring.
  • Experienced – but never regarded politics as a career. Lots of commercial and life experience too.
  • Caring – Always put those most vulnerable first. For example my campaign for access to modern medicines for sick islanders.
  • Green – Environmentalist for many decades, even before it was fashionable.
  • Decisive – I promise to research, use my best judgement and then act, not dither.

Manifesto

Former Bailiff, Sir de Vic Carey - “I have watched Peter in the States over many years and he has given tremendous value to the electorate, both in exercising difficult committee presidencies and in responding effectively to issues which really concern voters. He is young at heart and has lots more to offer the island. We simply cannot afford to lose his abilities at this difficult time in Guernsey’s history”.

MODERATION - What does it mean? “Moderation in all things” may sound a bit like something your old gran might have said but it is also not a bad credo for politics. I really worry that Guernsey politics is being polarised and as a result could swing between extremes. Something our consensual, non-party system has traditionally helped to avoid.

A good example is the growing divide over fiscal policy. Some deputies advocate no tax increases, ever, and ultra-small government. With an aging population, a more complex world, and new medical treatments becoming available, this is an impossible stance without causing structural damage to our public services with the most vulnerable suffering the most.

Equally daft is the idea that we can match the services provided by governments in countries with much greater economies of scale and tax systems very different to our own. It would require a huge hike in taxation which would destroy our competitiveness and ruin our economy. A middle path is essential.

CARING - I make no apology for taking a particular interest in the more vulnerable sections of our community such as the elderly, those on low incomes, or people who are ill or who have disabilities. In the last term I was shocked at the harsh way the States treated pensioners and did my very best to fight against those policies. If re-elected I pledge to give 100% to helping pensioners on low incomes. They made Guernsey what it is today and deserve proper consideration. I also led an initiative aimed at helping those impacted by ‘in-work poverty’. These are hardworking islanders who still find it impossible to afford many of the things which most of us take for granted. It was like pushing a stone uphill at times but I will keep at it.

CAMPAIGNING - Over the past 4 years I have fought, and won, a significant battle against the shocking situation where seriously ill Guernsey people were being denied the medicines freely available to patients with the same conditions in the UK, Jersey and the Isle of Man. I have also been a member of the ESS committee which brought forward anti-discrimination legislation in the face of persistent opposition. I have proven my commitment to vulnerable groups through actions not words.

GREEN - Some people seem to regard caring about our environment as a matter for derision and abuse. I don’t begin to understand why. Robust debate over environmental issues is valid but surely we should all care about the planet which supports us as a species? I make no apology for believing the vast majority of scientists who are clear that human activity is helping to drive climate change. Guernsey must do its bit in a global effort to turn this around. Our small size is no excuse for inaction.

Some good things are already happening. I am pleased that more people are cycling, catching the bus or opting for electric vehicles. I want to see this continue as well as better insulated homes and more renewable energy, both imported and generated on-island. The States have to take a greater lead in encouraging and facilitating ‘green behaviour’. This is no 11th hour conversion for me. I was a member of the ‘Ecology Party’ 40 years ago.

DECISIVE - One of the curses of modern politics is too many deputies being scared to make decisions for fear of upsetting anybody. I do like to listen and research before acting but then I believe in acting decisively. A deputy’s job is to use his/her judgement and to act in what they see as the best interests of Guernsey. Not to spin like a weather vane.

Throughout my time in politics I have shown the ability to act decisively. Three examples. 1. As health president I pushed through the smoking ban in enclosed public places well before the UK or Jersey. 2. As agriculture president I took immediate and vigorous measures to protect Guernsey from the very real threat from the devastating Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK and Europe. 3. I strongly supported the buying of Aurigny at very short notice. This was undoubtedly the right decision and remains so today.

Stuart Falla MBE – leading island businessman and former Commerce & Employment Minister. “Peter has a pragmatic approach to politics. He may seem more interested in the social welfare side of politics but he has always accepted that you ignore the economy at your peril. He often said to me that the States can only spend the money which it brings in and I trust him more than others to spend that money wisely”.

FINALLY – This manifesto is rather shorter than I would have liked [longer version on line] but please do feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all about my stance on other issues. Tel 238435 or email [email protected]. I am also trying my best to visit as many homes as possible to talk directly to islanders.

Warm Regards

Peter Roffey

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 a lot of committee experience, both political and commercial. I like to think I have always contributed vision, energy and teamwork – but I suppose that is for others to judge.

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 ?

Luckily unemployment is no longer at an all-time high as it was during lockdown but it is still higher than we would like. I think most employers would prefer to take on locals as it involves less paperwork but despite 500+ out of work there are still skill shortages in some areas which mean we must be welcoming to those coming to fill that skill gap.

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

Large scale house insulation and a scheme to make electric boilers cost comparable with oil fired boilers. Maybe a “New Forest” in Alderney?

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?

Island wide. That was always the thrust of my considerations even when representing a district. Doesn’t mean one can’t take up local issues though. Parish pump issues matter to people.

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

Yes. In some cases they are not really that suitable for modern agriculture. For example small or isolated fields. But large areas of agricultural land must be preserved.

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 try to avoid making too many specific promises because however hard I might try I don’t know if I will convince the majority of my colleagues.

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

I am completely convinced that human activity is helping to drive climate change. As to Guernsey’s role? Well it is clearly small in scale but that is no excuse for not doing our bit.

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

A super hero? She or he is going to need vision, leadership and superb bridge building skills. I really hope the next Assembly can be less divided as it militates against good government in my view.

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?

I would be very surprised. Would I automatically vote in favour? Only if the arguments in that report really bore scrutiny. I have never accepted consultants’ reports without applying my own critical skills.

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?

It is very important but the catch 22 is that we are very reliant on income tax, which is a weakness, but most of the alternatives are less fair. I think we need to look again at corporate taxes but we are walking a tightrope to remain competitive and not breach international tax codes.

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

Pass. I very much support “family friendly” policies but confess I am not sufficiently across this issue to give an authoritative opinion. I do promise to come up to speed on it though.

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?

Oh heck. That really requires an essay answer. The very short response is that I believe in investing in good public services, within our financial constraints, equality of opportunity, and tackling poverty.

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 I do. I know it was attacked as a middle class subsidy but I think the e-bike initiative has made a huge difference already. As the States already pay for a huge chunk of the cost of the bus service I think it would be worth experimenting with a fareless service.

Do you support outsourcing of States services?

Not as a rule but I am not completely dogmatic about it. There may be a few things which the private sector could do better.

What will you do to educate the islanders about the reality of the climate crisis which is the biggest threat currently facing the world?

I think it would be arrogant of me to think I was going to “educate islanders” on this matter. I will simply add my tiny, lay voice to those of the vast majority of scientists who know much more about it than I do.

Most environmental problems are caused by the love of growth. Would you consider de-growth?

De-growth is a new word on me. I understand what you mean but the dilemma is that the “right sort of growth” can be a force for good. The green revolution is going to produce lots of high skilled jobs and wealth while also helping to tackle climate change. However it would be very much helped if the world population peaked sooner rather than later.

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?

I strongly support active travel but installing infrastructure to support it and make it feel safe with our skimpy road network is challenging. To be honest I think I need expert advice on the best way to do so.

What environmental policies would you support to reduce Guernsey’s reliance on the internal combustion engine, in support of International global warming initiatives?

Promote active travel and the continued growth of the bus service [which is a real success story] while making sure the charging infrastructure supports electric vehicle use. Also encourage home insulation and non-fossil fuel based home heating.

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

To twist a phrase of Tony Blaire when it comes to biodiversity I think it is all down to … habitat, habitat and habitat. If we could get away from the obsession that all land should “look tidy” it would help greatly.

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?

To me it seemed like a poor plan so we will have to agree to differ I’m afraid.

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

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?

I can’t ensure it. I would prefer our inert waste went into Longue Hougue quarry but have not convinced others. We definitely need a site for inert waste so the only way to save Spur Bay is to come up with a better alternative.

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?

To be honest as an individual deputy I can't "ensure" anything but I do promise to support measures to improve home insulation and to stimulate an acceleration of the existing trend from internal combustion to cleaner forms of road transport. I will also support incentivising a move away from carbon based home heating. Finally - with their permission - I would like to look at a massive forestation programme in Alderney.

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?

Aurigny is absolutely crucial to ensuring our long term connectivity but the States and the public need a debate on how much they are willing to pay for how much connectivity.

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?

Not necessarily. But I would support ensuring that the sea defences are adequate in a world of global warming. Not at all convinced that a crumbling, German anti-tank wall fulfils that function.

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 don’t want to pre-empt the current review but frankly while I am happy for Guernsey schools to have more generous space standards than schools in the UK there does need to be a limit. Money is not limitless and each £ can only be spent once.

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 we should revisit it but replacing it will not be easy. Remember why it was brought in in the first place to make us international tax code compliant while remaining competitive.

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

Not sure it will be in my gift to prioritise legislative drafting but I agree we should have this law in place.

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?

I think the States has just agreed to address this – but I will double check.

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?

I am not a great fan of selling off the family silver. It is trick which can only be done once and I prefer utilities not totally driven by the profit motive.

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. Planning policies must always be responsive to changing realities.

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

It has worked well elsewhere so why not?

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?

I think probably getting the States to agree to fund the same modern medicines for seriously ill islanders that they could access elsewhere in the British Isles. The current situation is shameful.

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 used to think they could do with improvement but having experienced the current States I have decided they are better than others’!

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

I don’t think so. It impacts on family members and their rights too. If a person is genuinely “essential” in terms of their skills – say a doctor – I think it is harsh to deny them access to the general housing market.

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 don’t think first time buyers are directed into the new build sector specifically. I agree that balancing heritage issues and the need to modernise properties for today’s living requirements is tricky.

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

Yes. I do not encourage the use of cannabis and think it causes some harm. But then as I type this I have a glass of red wine to hand which also causes harm. Prohibition of widely used substances rarely works well and tends to benefit only the criminal community at the expense of others.

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?

I agree with the statement. I was a member of the Overseas Aid Committee under the late Eric Walters and was the first chair of the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission. The best way is to help other become self-reliant and therefore no longer need outside help.

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?

I do not encourage the use of cannabis and think it causes some harm. But then as I type this I have a glass of red wine to hand which also causes harm. Prohibition of widely used substances rarely works well and tends to benefit only the criminal community at the expense of others.

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?

This is an issue I feel passionately about and if re-elected I will give 100% effort to deliver on the clear States’ decision.

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?

Three questions for the price of one! In relation to the first I think the law of supply and demand is paramount. On two – I think that MTR just pushes up the price of houses. On three – I am an enthusiast.

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?

It will be a top priority for me for obvious reasons.

What would you do to address traffic noise pollution from vehicles speeding and backfiring along St Georges Esplanade/Les Banques and towards town?

I think this is a policing issue but I sympathise.

In January 2020 the States passed a policy to make all NICE TA drugs and treatments available to Islanders. Do you see this as a priority and if so how would you expedite implementation?

It is a top priority and it will be for me. If I were a dog then this would be my number one bone.

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?

To be honest I am very sceptical.

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?

Not every report. Some have concluded the opposite.

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 fine but alas our fishermen will not be able to land there shellfish in Auckland or Nova Scotia.

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?

100%

What criteria do you use for decision making?

Blimey that’s a question. Is it fair? Is it affordable? Is it really a priority?

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?

Suffering is not a human right. I have seen two close family members die in circumstances where being spared the last few days would have been an act of supreme kindness. I would have ended it for them if I had the means. So I think your premise is completely wrong.

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?

More progressive taxation has always been an aim of mine. Don’t hold your breath on the States agreeing though.

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?

Tourism is crucial both in its own right and to support connectivity but the costs of transport and accommodation are barriers. Capitalising on our reputation as both a safe and a beautiful place to visit must be key.

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

These are all so interdependent that prioritising them is illogical.

List your achievements to date which have been a benefit to Guernsey.

Smoking ban in enclosed spaces, hospital modernisation, keeping foot and mouth out of Guernsey, pressing for a Guernsey Housing Association, funding of NICE approved drugs, establishing Vale Earth Fair, establishing the Easter running festival.

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

I think we have to. Moving more services on-line is a no-brainer when looking at reducing headcount and therefore costs but the option to interact with humans must always remain. Not everybody has a computer and some situations are simply not covered by FAQs.

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?

I don’t favour the current quasi-open skies policy which has been a huge shot in our own foot but equally giving Aurigny a monopoly position on all routes to and from Guernsey would be a step too far in the other direction.

What is your view regarding commercialisation with respect to States owned entities?

Can’t see too many more obvious candidates for commercialisation.

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

Yes.

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

I think the pain should be shared. Higher contributions are probably needed but that will be very tough on hard pushed young families so expecting care recipients with sizeable assets to make a modest contribution towards their own care should also be considered.

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

I’m against it. It would be regressive.

Would you support the ‘listing’ of all remaining historic military structures, as Jersey has done, to ensure their ongoing protection, repair and maintenance?

No.

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

I would make sure the fiscal and regulatory regimes were right for business and the infrastructure and – ideally – connectivity. I would not expect politicians to indulge in “picking winners” because they are not good at it.

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 current exercise to price the basic “basket of goods” will reveal the answer. I suspect they are slightly low. Certainly the current “benefit cap” is a cause of poverty in larger families – often hard working families.

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?

No. That is stepping on to an escalator. The new normal is an older population profile and you can’t buck the demographic trends – you have to adapt to them.

How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?

It won’t.

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 and no.

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?

Sorry but they all do.

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)?

Yes and 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?

By being hands off and letting businesses get on with it and by supplying the infrastructure to help.

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 will never be sufficient provision in this area no matter what priority we give it but I agree it is very important.

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 don’t understand the question. Public debate on both of these issues was extensive.

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

I always love open debate but I really don’t think anybody has been gagged on this issue.

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

Of course I have some predilections but it is crucial to try to keep an open mind until we receive the independent report.

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?

I agree that coastal repairs and protection have been under funded in recent years.

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"?

I have no strong views over probate but on a wider issue if we followed the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” we would all be using Bakelite telephones.

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