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Fears over more delays for La Mare school

It is feared the long awaited £60 million rebuild of La Mare de Carteret could be delayed even further.

Last November the States agreed it would go ahead, to be completed by 2017.

But after an independent review into the size of the new school, the Treasury Department is objecting.

It wants the government to wait until a decision on whether to reduce the number of secondary schools is made, saying;

"The States should not be asked to make a decision on the redevelopment of La Mare de Carteret Schools' site before key strategic decisions have been made in relation to the future of education in Guernsey."

The Education Department has released a further report today, and is adamant the re-build needs to go ahead, or more pupils will suffer.

What we can't do is delay the rebuild of La Mare de Carteret schools any longer. Despite our estates team and caretakers continuing to maintain these buildings, they are simply beyond repair and we cannot allow yet another generation of children to be educated in such sub-standard facilities.

– Deputy Robert Sillars, Education Minister

La Mare de Carteret's secondary school headteacher, Vicky Godley, agrees saying;

"To have core subjects taught in huts to me isn't conducive to good learning and what we want to say to our young people is that they are treated equally along with other students on the island."

The rebuild will be debated again in the States in May.

Even if it's approved, the recent delays mean the new school now won't be built until at least 2018.

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Inflation rises by 0.1% in Guernsey

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Guernsey pound doesn't stretch as far as it did last year.

The price of goods and services has increased very slightly by 0.1%.

But the rate of inflation was still incredibly low at just 1.3% last month, that's 1.5% lower than in March 2014.

Compare those figures to December 2010, overall RPI stood at 2.3%.

If you'd like to read up on the figures in detail, click here.

Chief Pleas seeks residents views on energy supply

Sark's government wants residents to answer a question about it buying Sark Electricity.

Chief Pleas announced last month that it wants to buy the privately owned energy company.

The question asks locals what they think of 'sustainable, reasonably priced electricity.'

Click here to be taken to the government's website.

What would sustainable reasonably priced cable electricity mean to you, your business and your family?

– Chief Pleas, Sark

Sure bills to increase for some islanders

Sure customers only paying for fixed line phone rental will see their bills rise by £24 a year.

Sure is changing its fixed line and broadband prices from May 1st with all broadband bills decreasing by £2 a month and fixed line rental charges increasing by £2 to £11.99 a month.

It means many islanders won't see their bills change but those who do not pay for broadband will be affected.

Sure have made these changes to fall inline with the introduction of competition to the fixed line telecoms market on 1 June 2015.

All customers will receive a letter advising them of the changes.

We’re sympathetic to those customers but we need to make these changes to ensure that we continue to comply with our licence once competition is introduced.

– Mike Fawkner-Corbett, Sure’s Head of Product.

Guernsey States pass PTBR review

Younger islanders will have to work until 70 after deputies agreed on a sweeping reforms to Guernsey's pensions, tax and benefits system today.

The pension age will gradually increase, reaching 70 in 2049.

The States also agreed to phase in increases in property tax and personal income tax allowances.

They finished the fifth day of debate on the topic by approving a 'green paper' which calls for many universal benefits to be scrapped, including the family allowance.

But being a green paper means that element of the reforms will be subject to further consultation before more detailed plans are brought before the States.

Earlier in the debate Deputies also ruled out introducing a Goods and Services Tax and agreed to investigate environmental taxes.

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States financial report is a 'wake-up call'

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said the report into financial management of Jersey's States is a 'wake-up call' for the government.

Deputy Andrew Lewis was speaking after receiving the Comptroller and Auditor General report reviewing the government's allocation of resources.

Karen McConnell's report concludes that there is too much of a departmental responsibility on allocating resources, instead of collective strategic leadership.

This, and a lack of transparency, means that actions are being taken that aren't always 'in the best interest of good financial management.'

This report is a wake-up call for everyone with an interest in how the government spends public money.

The public should be concerned as it would appear that government has not been reporting on its financial performance as clearly as it could have been. States Members should be concerned because there are weaknesses in the system that hinder the States Assembly when holding departments to account for their spending.

The PAC is concerned that existing financial management arrangements appear to be holding back the public sector reform agenda.

I will today be writing to the Chief Executive and the Treasurer of the States asking them to explain to PAC how they are responding to the C&AG’s recommendations.

– Deputy Andrew Lewis, Chairman of the PAC

Report calls for cultural change in the way the States manages finances

A report into financial management of Jersey's States has found there is a 'lack of transparency' and the current financial planning system is not 'fit for purpose.'

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Karen McConnell, says her investigation shows there needs to be 'cultural changes' in order for reform to happen.

Her report concludes that there is too much of a departmental responsibility on allocating resources, instead of collective strategic leadership. This, and a lack of transparency, means that actions are being taken that aren't always 'in the best interest of good financial management.'

Karen McConnell says better practice is needed to tackle the States 'significant budgetary pressures.'

The States face a challenging agenda. Much needs to be done and effective financial management is essential to that change. The Treasurer of the States is supportive of my recommendations but will need time and the active engagement of the Ministers and Corporate Management Board to make the necessary changes.

– Karen McConnell

Minimum wage increases in Jersey

Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Islanders earning the minimum wage in Jersey will see a rise in their salary from today.

It is going up by 15p, from £6.63 to £6.78.

Since the Employment Law and the minimum wage regulations came into force in 2005, the minimum wage has increased each year.

What do you think of the rise? Should it increase by more or is this acceptable for those on the minimum wage?

Post your comments on our Facebook page.

Pupils say student loans scheme is essential

A group of A-level pupils in Jersey say the lack of a student loans system means their families can't afford to send them to university.

The Beaulieu pupils believe they need a UK-style loans scheme introduced.

18-year-old Georgina says she would have liked to go to university but her parents couldn't afford it.

I didn't really have the option of putting my parents under pressure to have to pay for it, and I wasn't entirely sure what degree I wanted to do, I didn't want that pressure and I didn't want them to have to pay for it. I would have loved the opportunity to go to university but it's just extortionate prices.

If there was a loan system where I would pay that back for myself that'd just be so much easier. I'd feel so much better about myself for working after and paying back for what I've done.

– Georgina Ruellan, pupil

They say the island's Education Minister, Deputy Rod Bryans isn't doing enough to help. Some students feel so let down that they have emailed the minister.

However, Deputy Rod Bryans told ITV News he is looking into it.

In our own minds we don't want to burden the students with debt. We've seen what the UK's done, we've seen it's a broken model. And both Guernsey and the Isle of Man are not going down that route themselves. So we're looking to see what we can do to resolve the problem.

– Deputy Rod Bryans, Education Minister
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