Jersey’s only political party is calling for radical reforms to the way the island is run to help get the economy back on track after the coronavirus crisis.

Reform Jersey is also threatening to withdraw support for the Chief Minister if he embarks on a programme of austerity to balance the finances.

It comes as the government warns the economy is suffering to the tune of £122 million per month during the pandemic, with unemployment doubling in a month, and almost 12,000 people now reliant on Income Support payments.

Reform Jersey’s New Deal includes proposals to offer all islanders free access to GPs, for the wealthiest to pay more taxes, and for the government to subsidise struggling sectors.

The package of proposals is based around three Rs: relief, recovery and reform.

  • Relief could include free-to-access government-employed GPs, a freeze on rents until new rent stabilisation measures are created, Income Support being payable to those who’ve lived in the island for less than five years, and the ability for the most struggling households to have their debts wiped clean.

  • Recovery would see the minimum wage increased to a living wage, zero hours contracts abolished, struggling sectors such as agriculture offered subsidies, privatised utilities nationalised, and the government taking a stake in struggling firms in return for helping them out.

  • Reform would mean the introduction of corporation tax for all businesses, the cap on social security payments for the highest earners abolished, and income tax going up for the wealthiest workers.

We are proposing a ‘New Deal’ approach, which will ensure that the focus of our economic recovery is on raising living standards, improving public services and realigning our economy to ensure we are prepared for the challenges of the future, such as climate change and the digital revolution. So far, there has been a lack of clarity from the government in press conferences, and even contradictory statements made by some ministers. Our plan will provide a clear vision for how we can seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to create a fairer society for us all to enjoy.

Senator Sam Mezec, Leader of Reform Jersey

ITV News has approached the government and Chief Minister for comment.