Alderney votes for greater autonomy over taxes

In taking control, Alderney will no longer recieve grants for those areas from Guernsey. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Alderney States will be able to set some of its own taxes and have more of a say over what it spends money on in future. Members voted to allow the island's government to set its own fuel and document duty and ratified plans for property taxes too at its September States meeting.

It is part of the review of the Financial Relationship between Alderney and Guernsey, agreed in 2016.

In taking control, Alderney will no longer receive grants for those areas from Guernsey.

The grant currently received from Guernsey is £1.88m, and the provision, plus cash from various rents and permits raised locally, pays for running the civil service and services like refuse disposal and road and green space maintenance.

James Dent, chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee, said the income from the fuel and document duties and the new property tax should balance the existing Guernsey grant.The legal framework for the new single property tax, which combines TRP (Tax on Real Property) and the Occupiers' Rate, indicates the States of Alderney will set the tariffs and will be able to introduce new tariff categories in future.

It will still be based on property measurement which will be delegated to DigiMap, the Guernsey digital service used by the States of Guernsey, and the Policy and Finance Committee will maintain and take responsibility for the accuracy of the property register.

Powers will be granted to add penalties where tax is unpaid and an appeals panel and tribunal will be established to allow challenges to property classification and measurement.

The income from property taxes could be used to fund the proposed new all-inclusive emergency services.Several States Members emphasised that when taxes were repatriated from Guernsey, Alderney would be very much on its own when it came to raising money for new initiatives or meeting any additional burdens on revenue.

They warned that there had been indications from Guernsey that the services Alderney was expected to pay for was only likely to increase.

What concerns me is that what we receive from Guernsey is reducing and as we move away from paying into a central pot, whenever we have a shortfall in the budget in the future it must come from the rates.

Louis Jean, Alderney States member

If we don't create any other forms of revenue it will be the only way Alderney has to increase income. The idea with taking back TRP originally was to help businesses on Victoria Street taxed at the same rate as those in St Peter Port despite much lower footfall. That idea seems to be drifting away. I see this tax coming in and going straight up and people paying for more and more through it.

Alex Snowdon, Alderney States member

I would support what Alex Snowdon and Steve Roberts are saying – we need to be careful but we will be careful.

James Dent, Policy & Finance Committee Chairman, Alderney States

All nine members voted in favour of setting document and fuel duty and eight members voted to approve the property tax framework, with Louis Jean against.