CfED Update October 2018
Economic Development Strategy Priorities Welcomed by GIBA
GIBA welcomes the update published by the Committee for Economic Development (CfED) on the implementation of the States of Guernsey Economic Development Strategy which will be debated at the States meeting on 28 th November.
Bearing in mind the concerns voiced at the recent Institute of Directors Convention that 20 priorities are too many, GIBA is encouraged that the 20 ‘actions to promote stronger growth’ have been categorised as critical, important or beneficial.
In particular, we are pleased that GIBA’s three main focus areas of transport links, skills and growing and developing the finance sector are all regarded as critical. The other three action areas which have been categorised as critical are the digital, telecoms and the seafront enhancement area.
Transport – Critical
On transport links, we are pleased that there will be an update to States members on the external strategic review of air and sea links infrastructure before Christmas. Hopefully coming from this will be action to develop the runway at Guernsey Airport. The repositioning of the safety area may well be a medium-term improvement and potentially could be dealt with in addition to and on a quicker time frame than any longer-term runway extension.
Given the inevitable timing of infrastructure improvements, GIBA continues to press for short-term action on air links including the waiving, or significant reduction, of landing charges at Guernsey Airport which are amongst the highest at airports in the British Isles. GIBA, therefore, welcomes CfED’s plan to bring an air routes policy letter to the same States meeting which will consider the infrastructure review. We very much hope that this will allow the flexibility for existing as well as new routes to be supported, whether through a reduction in landing charges or other means.
Keeping Young Talent on Island
On skills, whilst there have been many years of discussion and research, GIBA is pleased that a plan is now being developed to ensure Guernsey has and retains a highly skilled workforce. GIBA will play its part in encouraging local graduates to return and join the island’s workforce. We also look forward to contributing to the development of an on-island financial services apprenticeship scheme.
Financial Sector – Solid Foundation for Economy
The finance sector, of course, provides the foundation on which our economy is built, and whilst efforts are made to diversify the economy it remains critical that government continue to support the growth and diversification of the finance sector. Work continues apace on five key development areas, and a financial services policy framework is due to be published in November, with much of this work being led by Guernsey Finance.
Government funding of our promotional agency is, however, a fraction of the financing of the equivalent agencies in our competitor jurisdictions. Increased support and funding of the agency by both industry and government will be critical in maintaining and growing our finance and professional services sector which provides the bulk of the tax which funds government spending.
Attracting new financial services business to the island will also be key and with the new team at Locate Guernsey now announced and its funding renewed, we look forward to more joined-up working between these agencies to this end.