The Jersey Evening Post reported yesterday that:
JERSEY’S fiscal ‘black hole’ has now mushroomed to £145m – around £1,438 for every local resident – according to a draft States financial plan presented to States Members today.
The Council of Ministers' new Medium Term Financial Plan, which covers the four years from 2016 to 2019, not only shows a £20m leap in the estimated shortfall expected by 2019 – up from £125m just three months ago – but also proposes an aggressive package of measures to claw that amount back.
Two things provide me with ironic amusement. The first is that Jersey now uses the language I first used to describe this situation. I predicted a 'black hole' from 2005 onwards and on this blog from 2007, at least.
The second is that Jersey is, like Ireland and the Isle of Man before it, is heading towards a toilet tax to help make good the deficit. Right now they're describing it as a '£10m user-pays tax on liquid and solid waste disposal'. In Ireland it was called a water tax. The Isle of Man called it a sewage tax. What I think we can agree on is that the finances of all these places are going down the pan.
But more worrying is the underlying trend in Jersey. There are also to be £35 million of health charges, cuts in welfare benefits and the ending of the over 75 free TV licence. The sick, the young, the vulnerable and the elderly are to pay for Jersey's continuing existence as a tax haven for major corporations and the wealthy. The sordid nature of the Island's politics has been laid bare.