Large cuts to public sector services in Jersey are on the cards, because of policies to make the island more attractive as a tax haven for the rich and powerful to salt away their money, Unite, the Channel Islands’ largest union, has warned.
Unite is calling for the public to turn out for a massive protest march in St Helier on Saturday (3 October) as the States of Jersey government prepares to debate the proposed cuts on Tuesday (6 October).
Unite regional officer Nick Corbel said: “We are faced with swingeing cuts to the public sector workforce – perhaps 500 jobs going from a 6,000-strong workforce.
“Services that can be easily privatised and outsourced will be. Charges for such series as sewerage will be introduced and even the free television licence for the over-75s will be withdrawn. Long-term pay freezes would be imposed.
“We believe that the pro-business administration deliberately hid the scale of the budget deficit when the last general election was held here last October.”
Jersey is facing a budget deficit of £145 million by 2019 which, the union says, is mainly due to the reduction in the corporation tax rate to 0-10 per cent to make Jersey ‘more competitive’ as a tax haven. The goods and service tax (GST),a form of VAT, has failed to make up the tax shortfall.
The march starts in Howard Davis Park, St Helier at 10.30 on Saturday (October 3) and ends with a rally in The People’s Park.
Nick Corbel added: “The tax regime is geared to making Jersey more attractive as a tax haven compared with rivals, such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
“The unions have called for a progressive and fairer tax system that benefits the majority of the population, not just the rich and powerful salting away their assets, but the government has rejected these proposals.
“We are all very concerned about the consequences of these cuts to Jersey’s local economy. With rising unemployment, low wages and reduced spending power, local businesses will feel the impact.
“This is before we consider the damage to vital public services that islanders rely on each and every day. Unite calls on the States of Jersey to abandon these misguided cuts to public services.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.