Where do I stand on contentious issues?
Here is my view. I am open-minded; should I be wrong I will raise my hand and share what I've learned. Perhaps I didn't consider all the information or was possibly ill-informed. This is why it's so important to listen to you, the people, and obtain sufficient evidence. We need deputies to say it how it is and get the work done (whilst keeping everyone involved and informed- you, the people are the major stakeholder after all).
Cannabis - Relaxing the law in-line with other countries, the main drive should be on facilitating use for medicinal purposes; equally there could also be other investment opportunities here.
COVID and vaccination - people should be allowed to make their own decisions based on scientific evidence. There is a likelihood that travel could be opened up (by any country) for those who take the vaccine, and those who don't may still have to isolate. We will need to listen to our professionals and make informed decisions.
GST (Goods and Services Tax) - I would be against the introduction of this; we absolutely have to be sensible in balancing the needs of our community in both spending and revenue. We need to be careful not to penalise those who have been affected harshly already- we are in this together. The selling off of underused/unused State-owned property could alleviate some pressure and raise valuable resources that could be utilised to fund our inevitable investment strategy. We need to establish our position after the changes to efficiencies and investment projects before raising/creating any future tax of any kind.
High Street - The High Street should not be seen as dying- it is transitioning or at least in need of transformation. Through facilitating easier and quicker changes to property use, we could fill the High Street with the ideas from our home-grown entrepreneurs. We should facilitate new age thinking. The world is changing, we need to embrace change, allowing us to grow with it rather than become stagnant and stuck in archaic ways.
Inheritance tax - I am against inheritance tax. Individuals should be able to choose what they spend their money on. Should they choose to not spend but rather to save to aid their families, they should be able to do so without being penalised If we were to introduce this tax I believe it could result in many families gifting early, finding ways around this or quite simply leaving the island; the net result would be negative.
Long term care - I would like to encourage community care and charity work to be done by each of us. If we made it possible to look after our elderly without sending them to a home; there would be a reduction in cost to the state and thus to ourselves. Perhaps we need some ideas on how to facilitate this. The idea above isn't enough to bridge the gap, there are however many other ways in which we could look at how to address the remainder of that gap.
Opening our Borders - We need to balance competing needs- physical, mental, and financial. The first two rely on having the last one! COVID-19 is here to stay for a long while yet. We need Testing, Tracing and Tracking. We do need to take advice from our Local experts and be mindful of the developments worldwide. We will need to open up more widely and start our recovery- we may then need to isolate, shield and protect our vulnerable.
Public Sector Efficiency - Many believe this sector may have too many very highly paid individuals, this should be investigated and addressed if true- inefficiencies should be addressed. Private sectors routinely look at their layout, the suppliers, processes, and systems they use and seek areas to improve (save money to make more profit). we should be aiming to do the same and replenish those assets that we had to use in the short term.
Schools - the three-school model with a separate six form is what I believe to be the best model going forward. Through education, we create the best chance of success for our future generations and thus the highest possible economic growth potential in the future. We need to look at the long term, not just what's right in front of us.
Paid Parking - I do not believe that introducing this would be beneficial. Studies in the UK show that paid parking acts as a deterrent for people going into city centres. This is the opposite of what is needed. Paying to use an underground/over ground multi-story? Well, that is different- but where do we put it to maintain our beautiful seafront? I'm open to suggestions.
Social security- we need to be creative and apply some out of the box thinking here. There are limits to what we can provide, of course, however, we need to find the correct balance on what we can offer. If 100% of the island was needing financial assistance, we would simply not be able to meet this need. I think we also need some innovative thinking about how the system currently works, evaluate if it is working properly and the types of schemes and or programs we could introduce to encourage working or perhaps even volunteering for those not working.
Tax - this is NOT the time to increase tax. There is a tax reform looming- let's wait for the facts, figures and advice before changing anything. An increase in tax would mean less of us being able to spend money which is exactly what we need to do. There are other options and opportunities available to us! We have money in a bond, we have some savings. We could borrow more should it come to that. We could possibly privatise some un-used/underused assets to fund our short-term needs on running the island and investment. Yes, that could be seen as spending savings, many of us have unfortunately been forced many of us to use our savings! However, the islands were running a profit before COVID-19 and we will again. That profit meant that we were able to save for a "rainy day"- that “rainy day” is here.
All our expenditure should be done for the benefit of the people- this includes investing in projects that will 'turn a profit' not just spend the profit, to ensure we have the money in the future to invest in our people.