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Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Thursday, 14 October 2010 13:59 UK
Extra 31 million in States of Jersey spending cuts
Sarah Scriven
BBC Jersey

Senator le Sueur
Senator Le Sueur says the cuts will change the shape of the States

Changing the whole shape of Jersey's government structure is how the islands chief minister is describing plans to cut jobs and services.

The plans could see pay frozen, and UK pay scales brought in for some jobs such as teaching and the health service.

The States recently voted to save £12 million by the year 2013.

Now a steering group is proposing an additional £31 million is cut from government spending over three years.

There could be far reaching changes to working life for more than 6,500 States workers.

The recommendations are from steering groups and professional consultants which looked at spending across the States.

A resulting report argues it's vital for Jersey to deliver cost effective and high quality public services

States of Jersey

It calls plans to change the terms and conditions of States workers and to bring Jersey into line with UK pay scales as a 'more modern, flexible approach'.

The chief minister Senator Terry Le Sueur says the aim - to cut a further £31 million from States spending in the next three years - is achievable.

He said: "All I do know is that these are targets which the panels feel are realistic, independents feel are realistic and which ministers feel are realistic."

There'd be fewer pay grades and pay groups for Jersey's 6,500 States workers, performance related pay, and a single framework contract covering terms such as sick pay, maternity and paternity pay.

And in some jobs, such as teaching, the emergency services and health, there'd be UK pay scales with a Jersey allowance to take account of higher costs such as cost of living.

The Chief Minister won't rule out job losses but hopes to keep them to a minimum.

He said: "My objection [sic] is to keep job losses to a minimum but I do recognise that some jobs are going to have to go.

"That is because the whole shape of the government structure is going to have to change over the years and there will be new jobs created in some areas and different ways of doing things.

"But overall, I think if we're going to save that kind of money, we're going to see some jobs going."

The axe could fall on services such as the Young Offenders unit at Jersey's La Moye prison which could close.

States of Jersey
Ministers will publish their budget proposals and plans to raise taxes at the end of October

There would be no non emergency treatment at the General Hospital's accident and emergency department - and the fire and rescue and ambulance services could merge

The alternative? Senator Le Sueur wants to keep tax increases down.

"Our financial position is such that the more we can save, the less we are dependent on tax increases.

"I want, and I'm sure the public want, tax increases to be kept to a minimum."

One option would be to leave things as they are, argues the report, but the risk of this approach is unacceptable.

It admits the recommendations could be received negatively by staff and unions - but it's a risk the report says can be offset with a sound business case, a well planned communications plan, and a considered employment relations strategy.

Have your say
What do you think of the proposed cuts and changes? Should the States of Jersey cut services or increase taxes?

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Andy, St Helier

The States have to cut their budget although this doesn't necessarily mean that they have to cut services! Unfortunately it seems as though we will end up with the worst situation of paying more tax for less services.

If you consider what we were getting only ten years ago for our tax pound then it can bee seen the things have gone seriously wrong. Not withstanding the black hole created by the zero-ten fiasco 10 years ago we had significantly more services for free that we now have to pay for yet we are still going to have to pay more for basic services as well as being taxed more. I can see a time when we have to pay for every service separately and 'tax' will simply be a charge for supporting the establishment!

Geraldine, Grouville

I agree with Bex of St Saviour this sort of treatment should be looked into very carefully. Freeze States Members' pay for sure and perhaps a little more internet conferencing rather than paying for flights all over the world to see how another country runs their own!

Bex, St Saviour

What a joke. Right this second the States are advertising for a Trainee Social Worker. I know a young girl, locally born and bred, and fully qualified at degree level to be a social worker.

She can't apply for this job as they would rather take on an A level student and pay for 80% of their further education. Nor can she apply for any other social work position here as they ask for 2 years hands on experience.

So she must leave her home island and go back to the UK, meanwhile the States lavish needless cash on someone who could very well drop out before the end of the degree?

Sam de St Pierre, St Peter

No real need for an expensive report from yet more professional consultants. The only question is why has it taken so long even to consider such proposals?

I, for one, am dismayed at the way in which public-employee salaries and, therefore, pensions have been allowed to escalate out of control for years, which has contributed very significantly to the deficit. And, after the horse has bolted, the States, at long last, are to consider bringing pay and benefits structures for public employees into the real world.

There is, of course, another alternative to these half-hearted and belated proposals. The States could always follow the route of Messrs Southern and Corbel - let's just borrow and borrow and borrow so that we can continue to pay Mr Corbel's members. That way we will never need to face up to our problems (the Jersey way). OK? Problem solved.

States preview for 12 October
12 Oct 10 |  The States


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