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Shane Lenfestey Langlois

  • Parish St Pierre du Bois
  • Experience Current Deputy
  • Party The Guernsey Partnership of Independents
What do you think?
Yes No Maybe

Personal Statement

I am standing for re-election because the Action Plans for strategies that I worked on, as a member of two Committees, are due to be progressed next term. They include our energy supplies, in-work poverty, climate change measures, housing, biodiversity and healthcare funding. None of them will be straightforward but with the knowledge gained over the last four years I can contribute to ensuring the projects stay on track.

  • Maintain our self-governing autonomy in a changing world.
  • Borrow long-term only to finance capital projects.
  • Establish the foundations for a world-class education system.
  • Protect and enhance the air and sea links most critical for our economy.
  • Develop and implement our energy and climate change action plans.

Manifesto

Challenges to the island’s economy and to the States finances are nothing new. We have ‘revived and thrived’ many times in the past and will do so again. One lesson we have learnt is that recovery was often a catalyst for progressive, beneficial changes which are now part of our lives. However, it is the private sector that will ensure eventual economic recovery. The States primary role is to provide a platform for recovery whilst supporting islanders and viable businesses through hard times.

Borrowing or cashing in our existing funds to finance the recovery from Covid-19 is going to dominate the beginning of next States term. In the past discipline has been tight, only borrowing to finance projects with an income stream to pay back the loan. That has, of necessity, gone by the board but we need an effective substitute for any long term borrowing or we risk losing control. I believe that discipline should be long-term borrowing only to finance capital projects. Any shortfall on day to day expenditure being financed, for now, by cashing in some of our existing reserve funds.

Economic growth cannot be allowed to benefit only a minority of the population. Our economic strength has to rebuild to previous levels but that does not mean we should be pursuing growth for growth’s sake without considering the prosperity, in the word’s widest sense, of all islanders. Uncontrolled growth can have its downsides in an island which is already 50% wealthier per head of population than the United Kingdom.

Infrastructure is there to provide or enhance services, it is not an end in itself. When we do invest in infrastructure projects, as we must, there should be clear, identifiable objectives. Laying an electricity interconnector cable directly to France comes into that category. Some others do not and this is no time for frittering away borrowed money, with insufficient evidence or scrutiny, on projects which are more wishful thinking than ‘economic enablers’. A portfolio of less glamourous but essential projects, including schools, upgrading the hospital and the harbours would ultimately be of greater benefit, including to the local economy.

Health and Care constitute by far the States’ largest expenditure on services. Until the day comes when we can all live forever, sound in mind and body, there is no limit to how much we could spend on health and care services. Combining the funding for such services, currently split between tax and social security contributions, is therefore crucial if we are going to direct expenditure in an open and efficient way that everybody can understand is fair, equitable and affordable across the generations.

Secondary Education is awaiting the result of the options review. However, there is a key decision on which everything else hangs and which can’t be ducked. In an island too small to sustain a stand-alone sixth form it has to be attached to another institution, sharing administration, staff and space. There are three realistic alternatives, attaching a sixth form to only one of our 11-16 schools, to all our 11-16 schools or to the Guernsey Institute. With the first option a majority of the parents, living in the ‘wrong’ catchment areas, are unlikely to accept their children being sent to 11-16 schools whilst a minority attend what, in reality, is an 11-18 school with a large sixth form.

Environmental issues are high on the global political agenda as we now realise that the residues of our consumption i.e. greenhouse gases, micro-plastics and other waste are having a seriously detrimental effect on land, in the oceans and to our climate. There are many opportunities for a finance centre such as ourselves to participate in funding measures to alleviate and mitigate those effects. However, has been said, we have to ‘walk the walk’ to maintain any credibility. The States has approved three important strategies, an energy policy, a climate change policy and a strategy for nature. Following up, by implementing the associated action plans, is going to be one of the next States main tasks.

Much of our landscape was shaped by farming and the proposed new Dairy project should be the centrepiece of our efforts to preserve and enhance it.

The IDP allows for land parcels to be designated as ‘Important Open Land’. That is the tool we should be using to protect more green spaces in and around the Main and Local Centres.

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?

In my first term I was a member of the Treaury & Resources Dept, the States Assembly & Constitution Committee and, for the last nine months, of the Health & Social Services Dept. This term I served as Vice-President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security and on the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure. My contribution 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 ?

I haven't seen any evidence that equally qualified locals are being discriminated against in favour of licence holders. However it is clear that ensuring locals have suitable skills is vitally important for their employment prospects and that is an important part of ESC's mandate.

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

The Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, on which I sat, proposed the Action Plans which next term will form the basis for developing and implementing our response to climate change in an evidence based way. We also proposed setting up a Citizens Assembly to ensure we take islanders with us on what will be an interesting journey.

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?

The island is far too small and interconnected for many issues to be considered solely on a parochial basis.

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

Yes, the popularity and take up of the right to redesignate agricultural land as part of the domestic curtilage did alarm me. It could well be re-visited during the upcoming review of the IDP.

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?

Each of the two Committees I served on was efficient and achieved a great deal this last term but we were aware that the States appoving our proposals was just the first step, there is much more to be done.

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

The evidence for climate change and its environmental, social and economic consequences is overwhelming. Guernsey's size is irrelevant, we have to take the measures necessary to achieve internationally agreed targets.

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

Commitment to working together, leading by example, respect, not afraid of embracing change.

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?

A Cost Benefit Analysis is only a tool and the results depend upon both many uncertain variables and how one values, for instance, environmental degradation. I don't believe a sound CBA will ever be able to justify extending the runway.

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?

Before worrying about diversification we need to be looking at rationalising our existng tax structures eg eliminating unfairness, inefficiencies and anomalies. Only then would we have the platform for considering diversification in the form of alternative taxes eg environmental ones.

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

I believe we should be using the UK's provisions as our model but not unthinkingly. For instance shared parental leave is absurdly complex, no wonder there is so little take up.

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?

I am not a big fan of overarching visions that try to cover too much ground. They rarely get one anywhere. Underlying everything the States does or provides is our States revenue gathering system. It may sound boring but once that is reformed & generally acknowledged to be logical and equitable many other issues effecting well-being, infrastructure etc will, if not fall into place, then be much easier to solve.

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?

Giving people wider travel choices was a fundamental objective of the Integrated Transport Strategy. The car is currently the dominant form of travel but bus use is rising dramatically and the better we can accommodate bicycles on our narrow roads the greater the take up will be.

Do you support outsourcing of States services?

Where approriate yes, but we have to take care. Hardly a week goes by without some story about a failure in an outsourced UK service.

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

Establishing a Citizens' Assembly is a fundamental part of the Climate Change Policy. That as much as anything else will be a tool for education on climate change and enable us to take islanders on the journey.

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

Not 'de-growth' but certainly putting prosperity, in the widest sense of the word, before growth for growth's sake.

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 Climate Change Action Plans include for advancing the on-island Integrasted Transport Strategy which includes for encouraging and supporting alternative means of travel.

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

The development & implementation of the Climate Change Policy's action plans must be a priority for the next States.

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

The development & implementation of the Strategy for Nature's action plans must be a priority for the next States.

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?

Hydroport would be a vast project and I am instinctively against making radical changes to our coastline. It would also involve a publlic/private partnership which inevitably puts huge sums of taxpayers money at risk if, for instance, the private partners pull out for any reason half-way through. The proposal hasn't been dismissed by the States yet but I would need to see a lot of evidence on its 'almost too good to be true' promises to even contemplate supporting it.

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

Yes I do agree. There will always be climate change deniers but they are now in a minority.

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?

Using Long Hougue South for inert waste is not a good environmental option however all the viable alternatives have been assessed as being worse environmentally. The priority now should be mitigation and ensuring that when Les Vardes becomes available for water storage we utilise one of our remaining large quarries for the inert waste that can't be re-used or recycled.

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?

Our Climate Change Policy includes for achieving net-zero by 2050 at the latest. That 'at the latest' gives us the flexibility to bring forward the date in the light of new evidence or changed circumstances.

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?

Maintaining our critical air links is probablt always going to require a subsidy in some form. The secret will be to get control of that subsidy by identifying the loss making routes ie to & from Alderney and minimising them through tender or negotiation with either Aurigny or other airlines.

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?

Our 19thC 'sea defences' were erected soley to allow coastal roads to be run around the island. We spend money maintaining them to protect those roads, the services beneath them and the properties subsequently built behind them. L'Ancresse anti-tank wall does not come into that category and expenditure on the east end has to be otherwise justified.

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 await the results of the options review but if the conclusion is that additional expenditure will address some of the issues that arose I'd be prepared to spend it. There are a lot worse ways to spend capital than on the education of future generations.

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?

I'd be delighted if anybody could devise an alternative to zero-10 which increased tax revenues without diminishing our financial services industries and which was compliant with EU & OECD guidelines.

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

Consumer protection is an area where we have fallen well behind other jurisdictions and commencing agreed legislation should be a priority.

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?

The discrimination policies, as amended, approved by the States will, once the legislation is drafted, address that issue.

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 believe the commercialisation of Gu Post & Gu Electricity has worked well and should be extended to other such services. I don't however believe such public services should be sold off ie privatised.

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?

There would have to be evidence that such surplus office space is now available and a public consultation before amending the IDP in that way.

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

I am very supportive of a central register of dogs and DNA testing. The costs will have to be born by dog owners and the current parochial licence fee would be inadequate.

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?

Personally, rather than as a Committee member, following up on the question of reforming healthcare funding raised in my 2016 manifesto, working with P&R and then the States approving a small but important step in the right direction.

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.

That is not really for me to judge. I believe the main traits required are leading by example and a commitment to progress.

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

I haven't seen any data on the effect of relaxing the TRP bands for permit holders. If that data did indicate a detrimental effect the decision should be revisited.

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?

Planners might be over-restrictive in some instances but in the main the DPA do the best job they can to preserve our built heritage whilst under considerable pressure. The review of the IDP has been delayed but that will give the new States the opportunity to have considerable input.

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

I would be prepared to support either legalisation or de-criminalisation after learning from the experience (good & bad) in other jurisdictions on the best approach to regulation. Regulation to achieve the elimination of criminal involvement as well as taking into consideration the physical and mental health of the population.

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?

N/A I'm a current Deputy.

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?

Our Overseas Aid & Development Commission's performance has been in exemplary. It is the right vehicle for a small island and I would suport its funding increasing. We can't walk the world stage as a global finance centre without an equivalent commitment to matching other jurisdictions contributions to aid.

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 would be prepared to support either legalisation or de-criminalisation after learning from the experience (good & bad) in other jurisdictions on the best approach to regulation. Regulation to achieve the elimination of criminal involvement as well as taking into consideration the physical and mental health of the population.

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?

I voted against the propositions not because I had any in depth knowledge but because the solution appeared out of all proportion to the problem it was intended to address. Our guidelines were very similar to the UK's and just needed some adjustment together with a freer interpretation. Also I found the independent report less than convincing that this was the best way to spend up to an additional £12million a year on healthcare, especially as no funding was put in place except for stripping out the Health Service Fund. Nothing I have heard since has caused me to question my 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?

The shared ownership scheme is proving to be our main tool in providing affordable housing but there is still too big a gap between eligibility for the scheme and affording to purchase outright that many fall into. Ideally the private sector would fill that gap, say with innovative developments at Leale's Yard.

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 voted against the propositions not because I had any in depth knowledge but because the solution appeared out of all proportion to the problem it was intended to address. Our guidelines were very similar to the UK's and just needed some adjustment together with a freer interpretation. Also I found the independent report less than convincing that this was the best way to spend up to an additional £12million a year on healthcare, especially as no funding was put in place except for stripping out the Health Service Fund. Nothing I have heard since has caused me to question my decision.

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

The introduction of an MOT type test in the next few years, to enable GBG vehicles to circulate in the EU, including noise tests together with noise pollution legislation will go some way to alleviating the problem but enforcement is and will be the key.

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?

I voted against the propositions not because I had any in depth knowledge but because the solution appeared out of all proportion to the problem it was intended to address. Our guidelines were very similar to the UK's and just needed some adjustment together with a freer interpretation. Also I found the independent report less than convincing that this was the best way to spend up to an additional £12million a year on healthcare, especially as no funding was put in place except for stripping out the Health Service Fund. Nothing I have heard since has caused me to question my decision.

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?

The two runway extension reports commissioned, at considerable cost, this term didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. The effect of the pandemic on the airline industry and on remote working will now require the weak case to be examined further, at yet more cost to the taxpayer.

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

I've read every one of those reports (several times) and can't agree they have reached any such conclusion. The case for extending the runway is predicated on high levels of unmet demand for which there is no real evidence.

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?

We already have strong links with such countries through the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and I'm sure they can only get stronger for our political and economic benefit.

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?

The discrimination legislation will only offer protection in various fields. It is not a cure-all for prejudice but it will set the standards for our society and that may well be its main importance in achieving equality.

What criteria do you use for decision making?

The best available evidence, stripped of personal prejudices and experiences, for achieving 'the common good' in any particular circumstances.

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 voted for both investigating assisted dying and for the abortion reforms mainly because I believe that the alternatives, dying in distress and pain or re-awakening the illegal abortion industry are much worse.

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?

The forthcoming Tax Review is a great opportunity to really look in depth at our tax & social security contribution system but that will require Deputies with both a commitment to doing so and a knowledge of the current system's anomalies.

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?

Guernsey is never again going to be a mass tourist destination, there is too much competition but we should play to our strengths. People come here because it is in parts still beautiful, has a remarkable array of good restaurants and fascinating history captured by our museums, etc. We should be looking at the island from a tourists point of view. How do we choose our holiday destinations?

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

The three Plans wich will constitute 'Revive & Thrive' are intended to have equal priority and will cover all those issues. It is not a case of any Plan or issue having priority over another, they are to be taken as a whole.

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

That is not for me to judge.

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

Nobody would disagree that we want a lean, efficient and above all, value-for-money Civil Service but not at the expense of further under-resourcing Committees. I've always thought the civil service structure should reflect our 'flat', rather than hierarchical, political system but the design is the responsibility of the Chief Officer, answering to P&R.

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?

We are trying to have the best of both worlds. Quasi-open skies and a publicly-owned airline. I'm not at all convinced we haven't ended up with the worst of both worlds. Falling somewhere between relying on the ability of a free market to deliver and relying on a publicly owned monopoly provider. Not easy but the fact I voted against quasi-open skies indicates where I believe the best solution lies.

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

Where appropriate I am very supportive of commercialisation. It has worked well for Gu Post & Gu Electricity.

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

If we want to maintain the frequency of flights in a small, inefficient market a degree of subsidy is inevitable. That applies to the Alderney routes. The question is how does one control those subsidies? The tendering of the loss making routes was to be the answer but we have still to see the long-delayed results. Once that is resolved we will see more clearly how efficient Aurigny is, whether it can break-even in its other operations. There is no call as yet for the States to commit tax-payers money to subsidising sea links.

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

The States only funds a grant towards long-term care fees not the whole cost (typically about 55% of nursing home fees). An equitable balance between the level of that grant and the ss contributions necessary to fund it sustainably is a difficult judgement call. Because, in effect, the younger generations are paying for the older generations care I don't believe ss contributions should increase. Either way, 45% of the fees is quite a burden and a voluntary deferred loan scheme would relieve it for many.

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

Introducing a GST has become electorally toxic. "No to GST' must be the most common phrase in manifestos simply because islanders don't trust the States not to impose it on top of existing taxes or to start raising the rate. Neither do they believe the States will simultaneously introduce measures to offset its inherently regressive nature. This is all quite understandable in an island with a tax system based a flat rate of income tax. Without fundamental reform to our tax system I couldn't support a GST either.

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

I wouldn't support a banket listing. Each structure or group of structures should be considered on its own merits.

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

Growing the economy is best left to the private sector. Governments primary task is to provide the platform for that growth, not direct involvement.

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.

Income Support payments are based on the 'Requirement Rate' calculations which in turn rely on an accurate assessment of the cost of a 'basket of goods'. That valuation was due for an update, both of the contents and the costs but it has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We also have a 'benefit cap' which has been raised this term but which still effects several hundred children in families with three or more children. Assuming a 'benefit cap' of £800 a week, then if a family's 'Requirement Rate' is assessed at, say, £900 and the parents earn £700 the family can only receive £100 Income Support not the £200 we have determined is necessary to avoid 'intolerable poverty'. Income Support is our main tool for alleviating 'in-work poverty'. Personally I would like to see the 'cliff-edge' between those the States helps out and those it doesn't reduced through innovative changes to both our income tax allowance system and Income Support, with a degree of merger between them.

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 really have no easy answer to that question. The cost and availability of housing here is obviously a big deterrent to young (and not so young) people applying for jobs in the island. However any attempt to address the intergenerational unfairness inherrent in high house prices, by modest redistributions of wealth meets strong resistance. We even go so far as to increase the tax burden on younger generations to protect that wealth. Unless we show the political courage and intelligence to address the issue all generations will suffer as the tax base declines.

How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?

I'd imagine one's upbringing in a religious faith does have some influence on how one sees the world. Though if one lost one's faith many decades ago, as I did, it is unlikely that influence now stretches to dogma when making political decisions.

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 have read the report and I believe the consequences on Aurigny and on our landscape/environment are inadequately taken into accont. The latter are about much more than aircraft noise. With the adoption of remote working and the global airline industry decimated by the pandemic it would be foolhardy to spend tens of millions in the vain expectation of low cost airlines arriving and increasing passenger numbers for any sustainable period of time.

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?

Our secondary healthcare system is based on a 'commissioning' from the private sector provider model and I believe primary healthcare should move in the same direction. It won't be easy but the HSC has taken the first tentative steps and should be encouraged. The current model of giving individuals grants towards primary healthcare fees is flawed because, like all such grants, they become absorbed into fee levels. Personally I don't imagine we are ever going to have a sensible debate amongst islanders on health and care expenditure, which is practically limitless, until we have a specific health & care charge on income and reduce both income tax and ss contributions by an equivalent amount.

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

T levels are an alternative to A levels and are intended to have the same status. I believe they have more 'practical' content than purely academic A levels. As such they would be a welcome addition to available choices for students after their GCSEs.

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?

Politicians do not have a great track record for direct involvement in commerce or even technology. Governments are there to provide a platform for the private sector, including for our telecomms providers, rather than to make commercial calls. The Guernsey Investment Fund, which is investing heavily in various local initiatives, is a better route to encourage fledgling businesses because, like them, there is the discipline of profit making. The Digital Greenhouse, providing workspaces and facilities is an example of how the States can 'seed' new start-ups. In effect using an indirect rather than a direct subsidies.

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?

E&SS made the availibility of initial primary healthcare services more accessible through GP surgeries. That scheme, in effect a gateway to mental health services for some, is still being developed with HSC. I am confident the gap between primary and secondary mental health services is being and will continue to be reduced.

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.

Proposals such as abortion and assisted dying are controversial because public opinion is split. That means ultimately they have to be issues for each individual Deputy's conscience.

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

Nobody likes the idea of abortion but for me the alternatives, illegal abortions etc are far worse. I don't believe the debate leading up to the decision was unbalanced, the case on each side was well represented.

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

Our small scale results in few viable options and all have been explored during the last ten years. Not one has found universal approval. The forthcoming Options Review will cover the four 'short listed' alternatives. I believe the two 11-16 and one 11-18 school model will cause disquiet amongst parents in the 'wrong' catchment areas if the minority attending the 11-18 are seen to have an advantage. Apart from that I will consider the result of the review objectively.

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?

We all want to see those repairs done asap but It is not a question of development being prioritised over maintenance. Delays in repairs to coastal collapses are to do with the States limited engineering resources and more urgent calls on the coastal repairs budget eg at Cobo. Landslips are not straightforward or cheap to rectify and it may be time for a distinct 'landslip budget' rather than having to make individual budget requests for each landslip or squeezing the budget intended primarily for repairing coastal defence walls.

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"?

It was an historical anomaly that in the 21C something as secular as probate was in the hands of the established Church and that the Church could use the fees as it saw fit.

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