By Deputy Carolyn Labey
Since writing my last article in the aftermath of the General Election swiftly followed by the States Assembly elections appointing the Ministerial and Scrutiny posts, as well as all the Committees, Panels, Commissions, Forums and focus group positions it has been an extremely busy time around the Council of Ministers table.
A count-down clock was erected in the Broad Street office to remind Ministers and Officers how many days, hours and minutes we had to deliver on the 100 Day Action Plan. An intense three months work ensued to focus on what the Council of Ministers and indeed what you, had articulated during the election trail as matters needing urgent consideration. Here are some examples of what is being addressed:-
The cost-of-living crisis and other monetary concerns:
• Agreed an extensive package of measures as part of our mini-budget to put almost £15 million back into Islanders’ pockets this year and almost £42 million in 2023.
• Agreed a minimum wage rate increase to £10.50 on 1 November (13.8% increase).
• Committed £1.6 million to funding an Island-wide expansion of school meals for primary school children in Jersey.
To tackle the housing crisis:
• Committed to developing the site of the former St Saviour’s Hospital and at South Hill.
• Published Density Standards and Outside the Built-up Area draft Supplementary Planning Guidance to limit the building of homes over 3,000 sqft.
• Published a report on the role Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) can play in speeding up the process of building homes in Jersey.
To deal with labour and skills shortage issues:
• Created a Population and Skills Ministerial Group (originally called the People and Skills Commission) that will lead on the responsibility for monitoring and tackling population, accommodation, skills gaps, and employment issues with clear and immediate actions across both public and private sectors.
To create better engagement for Islanders in Government decision making and a more accountable structure within Government:
• Launched the first Ministerial Plans, a set of priorities for all Ministerial departments that form the Government Programme 2023-2026 together with the proposed Government Plan and Common Strategic Priority.
• Reorganised Government departments to provide for direct accountability to Ministers.
• Launched the first Participation Standards for young people – a set of clear guidelines on what should be considered when engaging children and young people.
• Launched the Older Persons Living Forum enabling older people to have their say on matters that affect them and the Island.
• Developed a Policy Inclusion Framework that sets out how Islanders can better engage with Government.
• Announced the establishment of a Public Service Ombudsperson to help resolve complaints about public services in Jersey in a timely and transparent manner.
• Supporting small businesses facing outstanding payments requests as part of the launch of a co-funded payroll appeal process.
• Opening a Cultural Diversity Centre and launching the Cultural Diversity Network to be co-ordinated from the Jersey library.
• Continuing with the Our Hospital Review to assess recommendations aimed at delivering a more affordable and appropriate alternative.
Across both Grouville and St Martin I have re-established the Parish Surgeries in Grouville post election and set them up in St Martin. If you live in either Parish please feel free to drop-in to any Surgery. You can expect to find the three Deputies and the relevant Constable of the Parish we are hosted in. A reminder of the next set of Surgeries is listed below.
Apart from the October Parish Assembly being an opportunity lost for making any decisions on Parish Rates, Pétanque terrains and re-cycling, on the latter, I personally favour large collection points for recycling – and more of them – rather than a kerbside re-cycling scheme which I consider to be cumbersome, expensive and very difficult for anyone living in a small flat. But I intend to instigate some research with the Comite des Connetables to look at operating an Island-wide scheme and investigate how that might work both practically and with our rates vs. taxation.
As this is the last issue before Christmas, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who volunteer and give their time to help make our Parish a better place to live in; so to all of you who work for the Municipality, Parish Clubs and Associations, along with the organisations I continue to run – the Grouville Gazette, the Community Support Group and Les Grouvelles – a very big thank you for your time given to our Community.
I would like to wish a very Happy Christmas to one and all.
Parishes of Grouville & St Martin
PARISH SURGERIES 2023
(The first Monday or Tuesday of the month)
Mon 5th December 6 – 7.30pm The Royal pub, St Martin
Tues 3rd January 3 – 4.30pm Stanley’s, Holme Grown
Mon 6th February 6 – 7.30pm The Royal pub, St Martin
Mon 6th March 10 – 11.30am The Kitchen, Gorey Village
Tues 4th April 3 – 4.30pm The Village Tearoom, St Martin