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Budget 2019: What's Happened So Far?

Deputy Susie Pinel's 2019 Budget plan is being debated in the States.

The States are currently debating the 2019 Budget.

Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel has described it as 'steady as you go, with no major changes'.

She wants duty hikes on alcohol, tobacco and fuel, a bigger stamp duty break for first time buyers, and other tweaks to property purchases taxes.

However, Islanders are being told we can't have both low taxes and first class public services.

In her Budget speech, Deputy Pinel has warned of the impending £40million deficit, saying savings can only go so far to plugging the gap.

She's told States Members they will soon have to make some brave decisions.

"You can't deliver high levels of service on shoe-string budgets. That's fantasy financing.

"I'm convinced that if islanders want to continue to enjoy high-quality services, the government will, as part of a balanced strategy, also need to continue revenue-raising measures for the future.

"In due course, this Assembly will be asked to find the courage to support them."

Politicians are debating several challenges to the Budget plans.

One, to halve the retail tax from 20% to 10%, has been rejected by 25 votes to 21.

The decision has been criticised by a number of industry bodies:

Meanwhile, an attempt to stop the planned rise in alcohol duty has also failed.

The Treasury Minister's 2019 Budget plan includes increasing alcohol duty by 3.5%, which equates to around 1p on the pint.

Deputy Scott Wickenden called it a revenue-raising scheme and disputed the public health argument.

However his amendment to freeze the duty was rejected by 28 votes to 17.

Earlier, the Treasury Minister withdrew her planned change to the tax rule demanding wives have their husband's signature to discuss their tax affairs.

The Treasury had made a late amendment to the Budget to address the outdated practice.

But Deputy Pinel has accepted the move to 'presumed consent' does not go far enough. She promised to come back with better reform measures.

On the second day of the debate, a bid to abolish Jersey's  '20 means 20' tax rate was defeated by 34 votes to 12.

Reform Jersey chairman Senator Sam Mezec promised a tax cut for two-thirds of islanders, and a hike on the very top earners.

He said it would generate around £7.5m, but colleagues expressed grave concerns about the impact of throwing the island's tax structure into doubt.

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