Guernsey’s ‘revive and thrive’ plan to support post-pandemic economy

Investment in “critical national infrastructure” and a review of the role of the airline Aurigny are part of a new States of Guernsey plan to help the economy recover from coronavirus.

The new plan – called Revive and Thrive – focuses on economic prosperity, an inclusive community, and the health and sustainability of the island and its population.

It comes as forecasts show the hit to the economy could be nearly four times worse than the economic crash of 2008, and equivalent to 10% of the workforce losing their jobs.

Plans including the completion of a review of air and sea links, and a look at how government-owned Aurigny could be used as an “economic enabler”. It currently operates at a financial loss.

There will also be a review of the island’s telecoms strategy including a look at how 5G services could be licensed.

And there are proposals for spending on infrastructure, including the enhancement of the seafront, to help stimulate the economy.

We’ve come so far as a community during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s changed everything in many ways – economically we’re in a completely different situation, our public finances are under enormous strain - and yet, the Guernsey Together spirit has demonstrated the strength of community, a recognition that we are in it together and together we can achieve so much. I hope the whole Bailiwick will hold on to that as we get ready to deal with the complex challenge of our recovery, and support our aim not just to revive our economy and community, but to help it thrive going forward. This strategy is just a first step, and it needs a lot of thinking and a lot of work to make our aims real. I am conscious that it cannot become like other big government plans of the past and lose its way as we bounce between day-to-day issues in politics and in our lives, it must be focused and deliverable. I hope the time is right to do things differently, that coming through the pandemic successfully has changed our culture and given us the sense of perspective so we can pull together towards a better future.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Chief Minister

The financial forecasts predict government spending on projects, including construction, will help increase growth by around 1% per year, with the aim of being back on track based on pre-pandemic forecasts by 2023.

New modelling shows the economy could grow by £1.4 billion more than previously expected, by 2030, if the plans are put into action.

Mental and physical health, education, housing, domestic abuse and social inequality are all part of the 24-page document which sets out a roadmap for recovery.

I’m really encouraged that we have a plan that looks to deliver an economic recovery, but also recognises the importance of ensuring that this is complemented by consideration of the wider determinants of health. We need to learn from our experiences over the last few months, about what is important to us as a community, and build on that. It’s not about the economy versus social and environmental issues, it’s not left versus right, it’s about bringing us together so we work to support each other and come out stronger from this public health emergency than we were going in.

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Guernsey's Health & Social Care President

The strategy highlights the importance of continuing the strategy of transparent and open communication to ensure proposals, once approved, can be delivered.

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