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Victoria (Tory) Russell

  • Parish St Peter Port
  • Experience New Candidate
  • Party The Guernsey Party
What do you think?
Yes No Maybe

Personal Statement

I am a wife and mother to four children. I am a State Registered Nurse; ran a retail business; a Governor of a Primary school and Trustee and Chairman of a mental health charity SANE. Previous Board member of Guernsey Alzheimer’s; volunteer for Riding for the Disabled and St Martin’s School; on the Shadow Board of the College of Further Education and am a member of Guernsey Tax and Planning Tribunals.

  • Tax - to maintain, simplify tax and to be competitive with other low tax jurisdictions
  • Capital investment in infrastructure and environment - in keeping with climate change
  • Maintain business certainty through long term planning
  • Social Welfare and Justice - to enhance a balanced and fair society
  • Transport as an enabler - for secure, reliable and timely routes via air and sea with integrated transport on the Island

Manifesto

A Sound Economy and a Good Education are at the heart of all that Guernsey needs to enable our community to flourish. In order to pay for all that we need and wish for in our community. We must ensure that business is supported with a good governance regime, planning laws and taxes that enable not disable. Government should enable residents to lead interesting, productive and healthy lives without too much ‘Nanny State’.

My Aims

  • To facilitate the expansion of business
  • To enhance and continue support for Island wellbeing, health and an ageing population
  • To balance the books
  • To have a population well educated for the future.

Tax - we must maintain our competitiveness and avoid any tax that allows mission creep,
i.e. TRP needs further scrutiny

Capital Investment - planning needs to be relaxed without damaging our environment or putting increased strain on areas already overpopulated. Design in context and common sense needs to be applied. We must avoid a tick box culture.

Maintain Business Certainty - we must do all in our power to have a firm and stable government that allows for long term certainty.

Social Welfare and Justice - we must integrate further Health and Social Security with a review of the current plans. Laws introduced or amended should be looked at with a view to implementation. How do you deliver justice? Are proposals good Law? How will they be costed?

Transport - we must look at integrating our transport systems on Island, i.e. a regular bus service linked to flights and sailing times from the ferry to the airport and back. Why is the bus station as far from the ferries as possible in town? Would it be common sense to move the buses to White Rock? Should buses wait for delayed incoming aircraft?

Education - the review needs to be assessed and ALL stakeholders (that is teachers, students, ancillary staff, special needs, parents, local residents, highways and byways, health and social care….) have to be considered. I support the Guernsey Institute, which will see all three adult training centres being located on one site (comprising the College, GTA and Health Institute) and a rebuild for the 21stC with accreditation as a University College.

Health - the Partnership for Purpose will need to be looked at and reviewed with the changes created by Covid. The Nurses pay review must be dealt with as soon as possible and greater stakeholder engagement across the Health and Social Care service to work with all to give the very best in care throughout the Bailiwick

My strengths are working with people as a team player. I am pragmatic, able to listen and have a large amount of common sense necessary to see through to the bigger picture. These are attributes I feel are needed when working in the States.

I believe passionately in the potential of Guernsey to aspire and adapt to the changing world around us. I believe I have the necessary skills and experience to work with others in the States to create a Guernsey that works for all.

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 worked on many committees as member and chairman. Led on specific tasks, brought different people together to implement solutions

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 ?

Local people who apply for specific jobs will automatically have preference as it is in the interests of business.

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

This is an ongoing strategy. We need to facilitate business to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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 will look to both. Strategically for the whole island and on a parish level to support the Douzaines.

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

There should be robust means of ensuring the land is not built on in the future.

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?

Work with others, consult and liaise with the community and encourage commitment from those who implement States direction.

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

We are already committed and I shall work towards implementing States Strategy.

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

The President of P and R must be a leader prepared to accept responsibility for outcomes and decisions made and bring disparate groups together.

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?

The time is now to invest.

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?

Tax is a complex issue. We need to increase the tax take by encouraging growth through facilitating business.

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

It is about right

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

We need to ensure a sound economy competitive with other jurisdictions, to pay for prioritised infrastructure that contribute to the long term economy. If we have good Governance, good economy and a robust support for the third sector, health and education, work together we as a community will thrive.

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?

They are a necessary evil but we need to work towards electrification starting with States vehicles

Do you support outsourcing of States services?

Yes it leads to greater efficiencies and value.

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

Much is already being done in schools.

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

No

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?

Enhance route Tranquille. Electrify and renegotiate the bus contract to have a better and more ecobus service. Robust SLA.

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

Enhance route Tranquille. Electrify and renegotiate the bus contract to have a better and more ecobus service. Robust SLA.

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

I would implement the Nature and Bio-diversity Strategy where possible.

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?

In the public domain and needs to be implemented.

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

There is much research some of it conflicting.

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?

There are other sites that can be used i.e. disused quarries.

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?

Secure energy supply and internet connection, before encouraging a switch to electric vehicles, facilitate micro-generation of energy and insulate all properties.

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 post-covid will need to reassess there modus operandi and the StSB need to give firm direction to the board.

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?

Invest in maintenance of all sea defences as a priority.

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?

No I do not believe throwing money at school buildings will raise standards. Good teachers come first.

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?

Our competitiveness with other jurisdictions must be protected.

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

As with all legislation already directed we must move forwards.

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 childs rights come first and need to be protected.

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?

Some private partnership initiatives could be looked at for those on the STsB

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?

The review of the IDP will need to look at this.

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

Dog issues should be the remit of the Douzaine.

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?

Good governance, transparency and the economy.

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.

Good I have much previous experience.

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

The whole needs to 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?

Review the IDP

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

No

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

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?

With soft Diplomacy.

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 ?

Scrutiny needs more power to enact their findings.

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?

Medicinal yes. Personal no until there is more evidence from Canada and the US

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?

Both NICE TA drugs and the reciprocal health agreement with the UK must be resolved as a priority. There needs to be greater cooperation between the Deputies and the Civil Service to enact changes. All involved must accept responsibility.

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?

Change the PML and housing laws that have caused the imbalance in the market. Mortgage tax relief and ownership initiatives look at States loans and land bank schemes.

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?

Both NICE TA drugs and the reciprocal health agreement with the UK must be resolved as a priority. There needs to be greater cooperation between the Deputies and the Civil Service to enact changes. All involved must accept responsibility.

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

It is an offence to run a noisy vehicle and a police matter.

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?

This needs to be implemented but the costs need to be carefully monitored.

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 when we know how the aviation industry develops after covid.

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?

The strategic benefits are obvious.

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

Yes

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

I believe in Freedom of Speech hard fought for. All peoples of every persuasion should not be discriminated against. Respect is paramount thus an automatic protection for all islanders.

What criteria do you use for decision making?

Common sense

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?

These are personal beliefs.

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?

We have to protect the islands low tax regime to remain competitive. However adjustments can be made. The tax environment is to preserve and encourage economic growth to pay for the islands needs.

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 important and investment in attractions would help i.e. Victor Hugo, Dairy celebrating the iconic Guernsey Cow.

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

They are not mutually exclusive and driving the economy, reducing States expenditure go hand in hand. If we don’t address this first there will be no money for everything else.

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

Working with voluntary orginisations ie. RDA Guernsey Alzheimer's, St Martins School, sitting on two Tribunals and on the Shadow Board of the College of Further Education.

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 I do support a reduction with clear parameters to protect front line staff and review and action clearly defined.

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?

Need to restructure first and clear direction from government.

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

The Board of STsB are looking at their different entities for greater efficiency.

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?

We need to overhaul the pension system with a view to reducing liabilities.

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

No it is a progressive tax that hits the low paid hardest.

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

Only if it is paid for by the private sector.

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

More people in work with greater productivity.

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.

This is too big to answer on here please contact me separately.

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?

PML and housing need to be reviewed.

How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?

It will not.

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 yes

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?

Review of the Grant System needs to be done.

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)?

Not mutually exclusive but the medical establishment need to be consulted.

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 Technical levels being introduced in the UK. They will not be available for implementation here until 2024.

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?

Fibre optic cables island wide, reduce red tape, enhance electricity provision, review planning, review PML and housing Review Locate Guernsey.

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?

Consult with HSC and the MSG I am Chairman of a National Health Charity and believe mental health and treatment vital.

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.

Do you want referenda and at what cost?

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

This has recently been debated and should allow time to review.

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

Please refer to my manifesto. Three schools with 6th form. An enhanced Guernsey Institute.

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?

Maintenance of all States property the built and marine environment should be done on a rolling annual basis.

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 the system works very efficiently

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