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Personal Statement

I am Sarah, mother, wife and a small business owner. I believe that hard-working islanders and small business owners bring new ideas, growth and energy to our island but are often undervalued and penalised by policy that favours the wealthy. I understand the challenges low-income households can face; economic insecurity, rising costs and burdensome taxes can have a major impact on health, your ability to thrive and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Like me, you may have felt the worry of an unplanned bill or experienced a bout of illness that left you unable to work. It makes you feel vulnerable, scared and unsure of who to turn to. I’m standing for Deputy because I want to be part of a balanced, fair government and to facilitate equal opportunities for hard-working, low-income islanders. I’m committed to becoming the voice for hard-working families and to stand up and speak out on their (our) behalf.

I’m representing hard-working families and small business owners who feel marginalised and overlooked by the current government.

A vote for me means your voice will be heard and your economic and social well-being will be considered with every proposal.

I stand for:

  • Honest, open, common sense and accountable Government.
  • A balance of environmental, social, economic considerations to protect our beautiful Bailiwick, rich history and unique heritage.
  • Equality for all. Everyone has a part to play in building a sustainable, healthy, happy Bailiwick for us today and our future generations.

Manifesto

EDUCATION: I fully support the Guernsey Institute of Further Education, for the benefit and equal opportunities of our school-leavers and business community. Presently, 50% of our school-leavers go on to further education; it could be much higher with more diverse offerings. For example, I benefitted from a three-year Hotel Management apprenticeship with the hotel chain ‘Movenpick’.

Our secondary schooling needs to be decided in 2020, to give our young students the certainty of their future educational path. I want all 11–16-year-old students to have equal access to both learning opportunities and facilities, so access is equally available regardless of catchment.

PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT: Too many properties are standing empty. Parts of the north of the Islands residential areas are far too densely developed. We need a more balanced and efficient planning application process. No to Longue Hougue land reclamation extension. States loans for energy-efficiency upgrading of domestic houses. Leale’s Yard devopment needs to progress in a sympathetic, balanced and appropriate manner that fits in with its surroundings, to enhance and enrich the scenic Bridge area.

HOUSING: We need truly affordable accommodation with adequate parking and outdoor spaces for all, with or without children, above or below 55 years, both to rent and buy. I have lived in private and social accommodation and am now a homeowner which puts me in a great position to understand and empathise with all aspects of the housing challenge.

ECONOMY: Infrastructure repairs (St Peter Port Harbour, Havelet Bay slipway, La Valette steps landslide) should commence as soon as possible. The cost of living has become restrictive for the working class. Industry diversification should not marginalise other industries. Decriminalisation of medicinal/recreational cannabis, well controlled and to the financial benefit of Guernsey PLC.

Our air and sea travel needs to become more affordable and reliable. We should take full advantage of our present positive international publicity.

GOVERNMENT: Local experts and panels to be used for consultations. More resources, and faster implementation of legislation; some are outstanding for years. More joined-up inter-committee communications and information sharing.

2021 only, taxation change to aid Guernsey’s Covid-19 pandemic ‘Revive and Thrive’. 0% tax category to 1%, 10% tax category, no upper limit, 20% category, reduced to 10% with no upper limit. NO GST. Total taxation review.

Every sector needs to be considered equally in the Revive and Thrive Strategy so we can truly all enjoy the best quality of life and well-being as Guernsey Together.

MY PLEDGE TO YOU IF ELECTED:

  • I will listen, be open to challenge, be fair and balanced.
  • I will diligently research, question and work tirelessly on your (our) behalf to obtain the full truth, facts and figures to ensure that I am able to make democratic, equitable and fully informed decisions. I’m committed to ensuring that every proposal considers the financial impact and work-life balance for people like you – hard-working low-income families, small businesses and sole traders.
  • I have been a parish Douzenier for St Sampson, so I am familiar and comfortable with the way the island works. As a parish official I took it upon myself to read monthly billets and legislation and to challenge serving deputies to ensure my parishioners’ and islanders’ best interests were considered.
  • Revive and Thrive needs to start at a grassroots level, and incorporate all members of the business community – small and medium businesses have a vitally important part to play NOW, to build a healthy foundation for a future thriving, sustainable Guernsey.

 

If you would like to get to know more about me, or ask me questions, please do contact me [email protected], voteSarahBreton on Facebook.


I will also be present at Beau Séjour at the all-day ‘meet the candidates’ event, 20.09.2020 visit Electoral Support Group www.2020esg.gg


VOTE FOR ME, SARAH BRETON

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 been a Douzainer, Waste disposal Peoples Panel member, GRAF member, 2 x school PTFA committees, Guernsey Douzaine council member, Womans Institute committee as Vice president. I ensured I was familiar with the matters on the minutes, researched and questioned and brought possible alternatives to the table for discussion and highlight the impact the decision would have on me.

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 ?

Pre pandemic our unemployment figures where low, for me on island training, and up skilling is the key, there are a lot of vacant skilled positions that need filling.

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

Implementation of the air pollution legislation, states loans for energy efficiency upgrades (insulation, windows and doors) of residential houses and renewable energy installations, no more loss of agricultural land and tree planting program.

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 am standing in a Island wide election, yes I am for the whole Island equally, every parish has its own concerns, and each is impacted differently by decisions made.

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

YES, also horticultural land (derelict green houses) being re classified to agriculture.

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 will listen, research and question, and make decisions that are democratic and for the good of the majority. I will also ensure that once a decision is made that it is implemented.

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

It is vitally important that we take it seriously, every jurisdiction has a vital role to play no matter how small or large.

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

Somebody that has a balanced knowledge of local businesses, finance industry and aware of Guernsey's social needs and a long term outlook.

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?

Not at present, I feel other opportunities need to be investigated first, electric air travel, linking up with Jersey airlines and possibly Aurigny flights to France to link up with their International flights and the Euro train network.

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 I do, I believe Guernsey should have a fairer distribution of the tax revenue.

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

More consideration and a better balance needs to be considered, at present far to much financial pressure is being put on industries/businesses, especially the small to medium sized.

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?

Please see my manifesto.

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?

I feel it is a freedom of choice to some extent, 10 hour commuter parking should be paid for to encourage car sharing, better school bus service with strategic large covered drop off bus shelters (Lancress bus stop, Grand Rocque and halfway would all be suitable sites).

Do you support outsourcing of States services?

Yes I do, but annual reviews as regards the quality of service and ensuring it is still value for money. Regularly going out for retendering.

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

Support for the groups already doing an excellent job on this front.

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?

The electric planes look an exciting prospect.

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

Planning needs to only grant new developments that do not impact on the bio diversity, financial support for the third sector enviromental groups.

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 am in support of the Longue Hougue freight harbour being implemented sooner rather than later,our fuel boats are nearing their end of life. I am not in favour of the grandious Belle Grave Bay development. I would like to see a sea water bathing pool by the Richmond Corner slipway.

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 am against the Longue Hougue land reclamation extension, land raising for low lying areas earmarked for development should be considered, like the Fontaine Vinery site, Leale's yard and La Mare de Carteret, after all possible re-use to minimise the amount left needing disposal. By then Longue Hougue Resevoir should not be needed for water storage and be available.

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 needs to be run more like a business, it is a vital asset, yes.

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

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, we need a tax review

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

As highlighted by the Citizen Advise Bureau this needs to be implemented asap.

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?

Yes.

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 more in favour of public/ private partnerships.

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?

Are you aware that Town Market Buildings have a planning application in for change of use from retail to office, for the former HMV unit?

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

The majority of dog owners are responsible, like my self. Personally I would rather like to see the parish dog tax be spent on small bins for poo bags. To be placed out in targeted problem areas of the parish,

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?

Forward moving, balanced and fair government that does not just promise but also delivers.

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.

Being in the construction industry I do project management and customer liaison to ensure the project is carried out as expected. Quoting, sourcing, liaising and co-ordinating with trades are all part of the project from the beginning to the end, ensuring the timely and in budget completion of the project to the customers satisfaction and fully compliant with planning and building regulations, health and safety and required insurances and licenses.

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

Yes.

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?

Please see my Manifesto.

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

Yes.

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 spent time in the public gallery over the past 12 years, also I listen to most states meetings on the radio. I have also attended the Chamber as a Douzenier for Jurat elections.

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?

By continuing our overseas aid.

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 I do, the scrutiny committee should be an independent body with one sitting deputy as chair.

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?

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?

Collectively as the states, more resources for the implementation of legislation, no side lining of social legislation in favour of the finance industry.

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?

Guernsey Housing Association one bedroom apartment complexes with balconies, where the rent is a % of income and a income percentage put aside, for saving towards house buying, be that private or shared ownership. With communal outdoor space and 2 parking spaces per apartment. 10 years of mortgage tax relief for first time buyers, not transferable to move on house purchase.

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?

Yes, would need to research the reason for the delay.

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

Introduce a MOT for all vehicles

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?

Yes, would need to research the reason for the delay.

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?

Yes, but would like to see our harbour and sea connectivity invested in first.

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?

Yes.

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, and our French neighbors

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?

Fully

What criteria do you use for decision making?

Evidence based

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?

Yes, please see my manifesto

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?

Yes

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

Please see www.2020esg.gg

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

Yes, pay freeze for the top 50% earners, more on island training, starting as soon as possible, annual performance reviews, more balanced contracts, ensuring top posts are filled by the most experienced/efficient in that area.

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?

No,

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

Please see The States Trading Group.

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

More private/ public funded care homes.

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

No, it would impact on the already struggling low earners the most.

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

Yes.

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

We need to develop a Fred in the Shed site for light industries businesses and start ups.

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.

I can not answer that as in some instances it is to low, some to high and some about right.

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 would favour expanding our on island training for our school leavers first.

How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?

Not, it will be evidence based.

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, but would like to see our harbour and sea connectivity invested in first.

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?

It is to high for the low income earners, remove the cap on the cut off of social security payments.

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 am in support of both, I believe it should be a personal choice and registered on your medical notes.

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

One is already here in Guernsey, my daughter has just started her International Baccalaureate careers programme course split between the six form and the C of FE.

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?

We need to develop a Fred in the Shed site for light industries businesses and start ups.

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?

I fully agree, yes a family member fell through the gap, the legislation needs to be enacted as soon as possible to allow the professionals to get on with the implementation of the mental health service.

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.

Beau Sejour theater: 4 professional experts on stage, public and deputies in the audience, each expert gives their view and evidence, then opened up for question and answer from the audience.

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

It needs a quick conclusion for the benefit of our young students.

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?

Absolutely yes, they should be part of the start of the Revive and Thrive strategy.

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"?

Yes. At a upsetting time you do not need the worry of having to deal with legal matters as well.

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