During my time in the States I have seen St Sampsons & Les Beaucamps High Schools rebuilt and more sites given over to the College of Further Education, this only left La Mare de Carteret Schools to be redeveloped. When this current States started out in 2012 I certainly expected La Mare site to be well on the way to being completed by now. The debate last month on Education Departments plans and the outcome has now left not only La Mare de Carteret site development put on hold, the States also resolved they only wanted three High Schools after removing the 11+. All this uncertainty has now meant a very unsettling time for pupils, parents, teaching staff and the community. The question being asked now, will the next States overturn the vote after listening and speaking to the electors?
I would welcome the opportunity when canvassing to hear your views – Do you want some form of selection? Do you want the 11+? Do you want the Grammar School to remain? Do you want three High Schools instead of four?
The decision last month by the States needs to be either endorsed or a report taken back sooner rather than later as all this uncertainty isn’t helpful.
At the time of writing this manifesto once again there are problems with Condor. This lack of service and unreliability cannot continue. All the money spent advertising these beautiful islands is being lost. Serious rethinks and debates need to take place next term as solutions must be found, putting in place a robust Plan B would be a start. Both the harbour and airport are key gateways to our economy, the States must do their utmost to encourage reliable operators with affordable links to/from Guernsey. Many residents, including the sporting fraternity have had their long traditions of day trips including to Jersey cease owing to poor timetabling or lack of any service. Serious discussions need to be held to address this failure.
My views remain the same as the last election, we all want the best health service the Island can afford, but we must be realistic. If Health and Social Services Department start charging for various health services, this would be a retrograde step. It is unthinkable that barriers may be put in place restricting access by wealth to health. I will continue to oppose any policies or charges that could result in a two-tier health system depending on the ability to pay.
Waiting times to see a specialist must remain a maximum of 8 weeks under the new contract, there are some who would like to extend this to 12 weeks. I do not wish to see a long waiting list NHS system.
In future more people will be treated in their own homes by Health and Social Services, providing good support systems are in place this should be welcomed.
Long Term Care Health Insurance Scheme
The Long-Term Care Insurance scheme was approved 15years ago following what was becoming an unfair system with some people selling their property or placing it in family names to avoid paying for care. No longer did individuals or families find themselves in a position of worrying about their future needs in residential care. A review was agreed to establish the success or otherwise, plus revisiting the financial sustainability of the scheme now it’s up and running. The scheme does need more funds, I appreciate the rising costs as with most things in life costing more. What I cannot support is having this scheme means tested as has been suggested by the working party. If the means-tested proposal went ahead we would find ourselves back to exactly how it was before the scheme commenced, people would find a way around the system. The Long-Term Care Insurance is an insurance scheme. When we take out house insurance, car insurance, travel insurance and the time comes to claim we are not faced with being means tested, rightly so. In the case of the States Long-Term Care Insurance Scheme, it is a compulsory contributory scheme, people shouldn’t be means tested. I remember as a member of Social Security the worry people went through before this scheme was approved. If funds are getting low and the scheme is not sustainable a rise in contributions need to be considered.
The Housing market has seen a downturn and drop in prices for numerous reasons, partly the economy slowing and population reducing, all these elements take their toll on house prices, as a result there are many new developments still on the market after three years. Some developers are sitting on sites until the market improves, if more reasonably priced affordable homes were built on these plots instead of expensive homes this would help many locals desperate to get on the housing ladder and help many university students return as the cost of living in Guernsey has been seen as a prohibiting factor.
The Guernsey Housing Association have built many rented and partial ownership properties, the partial ownership may be another element that has affected the housing market prices.
Finance & Diversification
The island relies heavily on the finance industry, which employs nearly 7,000 people, and although successful we must continue to look at ways to diversify our economy. All businesses within our community are not always recognised, they too play a significant part in our economy and must be supported wherever possible to expand and grow without too many obstacles, the new Island Development Plan will go someway to assisting them to expand and flourish.
I do not support paid parking and will continue to vote against. Why hit the workers to park in town? Shop and office workers are the very people we need to encourage to keep town thriving.
CTPlus tracking buses system that is currently on trial will ease the frustrations of passengers wondering when their bus will arrive. A welcome initiative.
The Environment Department must in future have a time limit on whether bus routes are successful. CTPlus run the P2 route with 1 or 2 passengers per day is a prime example of allowing a service to continue whilst losing money. I’m sure a private business would have stopped this loss making route before now, in the same way they would have stopped the loss making P1 route.
The Transport Strategy wasn’t designed for Guernsey lifestyles, it suits some people who have time to catch up to four buses to get to a destination and back. I suggest there are more needing their cars to fit in with family lifestyles taking children to school/childminder, going to work, shops and other messages on the way to work/home. If Guernsey wants an available flexible workforce, the States must recognise cars are a necessity for most and must be part of any future strategy.
I was the only Deputy to oppose the Seafront Plans when published last year, it wasn’t long before the chaos of removing two traffic lanes into one simply didn’t work. Although this happened in St Peter Port, it did have huge ramifications for our Vale community as much as others around the island. I led a campaign to have the two lanes reinstated ensuring traffic flowed again. The traffic hold ups cost thousands of pounds for many businesses as their staff were held up for an hour or more sitting in the grid lock and unable to carry out deliveries or get from one destination to another. Plans to close the seafront all summer are still on the wish list, I will object if elected.
Albert Pier & Cruise Passengers embarking/disembarking
I welcome the cruise ships coming to Guernsey, we have a beautiful island to offer visitors whilst here. I do share the concerns expressed by many we will see the Albert Pier parking removed again when cruise ships are in. Those wishing to pop into town last season faced frustration at an empty pier all day and nowhere close to park to pop into town. Some told me they went back home and used the internet. We need to make sure the town traders are supported wherever possible, the next States must review the cruise landing facility.
The cost of having two policemen helping people cross the road on cruise liner days was not the best use of taxpayers money when three sets of pedestrian traffic lights are available to use.