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  1. ITV Report

Hundreds of millions of pounds from rainy day fund to support Jersey businesses and jobs

Hundreds of millions of pounds from Jersey’s so-called rainy day fund has been earmarked to be used to keep businesses afloat. Credit: PA Images/ITV Channel TV

Hundreds of millions of pounds from Jersey’s so-called rainy day fund has been earmarked to be used to keep businesses afloat and prevent widespread job losses, ITV News can reveal.

Politicians will tomorrow (24 March) be asked to give the Treasury Minister access to the strategic reserve.

Ahead of that, the Economic Development Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, says he has already instructed officers to work up plans to ensure as much cash can be injected into local businesses as possible, with the aim of having that money in circulation by the start of April.

Given fast moving nature of medical advice it’s become apparent to me that significant additional support will be required to get businesses and their employees through this. This means we will need to utilise our rainy day fund and we’re making plans to do that right now to get the island through it.”

Hundreds of millions of pounds will be required and the States must be prepared to do what’s necessary to make sure our critical economic infrastructure remains in place throughout this crisis.

– Senator Lyndon Farnham, Jersey's Economic Development Minister

It follows the publication by ITV News of a highly critical letter from 19 senior businesses leaders accusing the Chief Minister of “abhorrent” leadership and not doing enough, fast enough, to protect businesses and jobs.

Late last week, a £180 million package of loan guarantees and wage subsidies for the most vulnerable sectors of industry was announced.

Today, Senator Farnham says that will not be enough.

I’ve asked officers to work on a revised which scheme which provides additional help to businesses and their employees.

My aim, as minister, is to make sure that when we recover from this, as many businesses, whether they’ve traded through or hibernated, will be able to reopen to be there for the rejuvenation of the economy.

– Senator Lyndon Farnham, Jersey's Economic Development Minister

But there was a note of caution from the group which represents business in Jersey in reaction to this latest announcement.

So far these words are encouraging, but the key is the speed of access to cash assistance and for some businesses it is already too late. As of today not one single penny of Government money has reached any business account and it is unlikely to do so until next month.

– Jennifer Carnegie, President of Jersey Chamber of Commerce

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