In its annual report, released on Friday, the FPP found that the income and expenditure planned over the next few years is correct but that delivering on those proposals, which include a retail tax and a commercial waste charge, was essential to keep the economy on the right track.
Among the recommendations made by the panel, which is chaired by Dame Kate Barker, were ensuring that key capital projects, such as the new hospital, do not place too much strain on resources and that a ‘permanent programme’ is put in place for public sector modernisation.
Dame Kate, a former member of the Monetary Policy Committee for the Bank of England, said: ‘Sometimes when people talk about cutting the public sector, they talk about pay restraint and stopping certain services. Those are short-term measures.
‘Really you have to be thinking about how you are doing those things, how you are utilising the available technology and how you are adapting to running those services more efficiently.’
The panel added that they expected the economy to grow by around one per cent this year and a further 0.5 per cent in 2018. However, this was caveated with the economic uncertainty that Brexit will cause.
Treasury Minister Alan Maclean said that his department accepted all the recommendations made by the panel and that it recognised that the revenue-raising measures needed to be implemented on time.
He said: ‘In line with FPP advice, government remains committed to achieving balanced budgets by 2019. We will ensure that we continue to support the economy in 2017 and 2018 and that our key capital projects get underway as planned.’
The report comes a little over two weeks after figures into economic productivity released by the States Statistics Unit found that the ‘economic standard of living’ for Islanders had declined by around a sixth since 2007.
Deputy Sam Mézec, chairman of the Reform Jersey party, said: ‘The growth that we have had in the economy has been based on our unsustainable population growth, which has meant that the economic standard of living for Islanders has actually fallen by 0.3 per cent in that same time. How can it be right that when the economy grows, Islanders are still worse off?
‘There has been a human cost to reaching the position we are in, which the FPP report did not attempt to evaluate, and which the Council of Ministers will seek to ignore because it is incredibly inconvenient in the run-up to an election to see that our economy is still in a worse place than it was ten years ago.’