Calls for more cost of living support across the Channel Islands

The Jersey Consumer Council (JCC) has written an open letter to the Chief Minister calling for temporary measures to be put in place to help islanders deal with the increase in cost of living prices.

There have been sharp rises in the cost of fuel, energy and everyday necessities which the council says has left an increasing number of people in the island "struggling to cope."

The latest figures for Jersey show the inflation rate was 3.8% in December while it was 4.6% in Guernsey which is likely to have increased further when the latest figures are published in April.

In Alderney there is a call for the cost of electricity to be subsidised, while in Guernsey for farmers the cost of essentials, such as wheat and fertiliser, is also going up meaning they are facing a deficit of 12 p per litre.

In Jersey the JCC says it is concerned if the current rate at which prices are rising is left unchallenged, more people will fall into poverty and become dependent on financial assistance or help from charities.

To help islanders, for a three-month period, The the council wants to see:

  • Motor fuel duty reduced by 9p per litre at the till.

"The 9p figure is made up of the recent 5p duty price rise and the 4p Environment levy. Almost 50% of every litre of fuel sold in Jersey is made up of duty and taxes. Due to fuel prices rising by up to 75% in some cases, the amount of duty the Government is taking from fuel has risen considerably, therefore creating a comfortable buffer to offset the proposed 9p reduction at the till."

  • £100 credit made available for every household to spend on their chosen energy bill.

"Each household, approximately 41,000, should be given the option to claim £100 credit against their chosen utility bill to help them pay for their final winter bill, if needed. This could be oil, gas or electricity. This one- off measure could again be off-set from the increased income the Government is receiving from soaring fuel costs."

  • A commitment to not reduce the online shopping threshold before 1 January 2023

"To date, the proposed reduction in the de minimis level has been scheduled for 2023, although no firm date has been set in stone. We would ask the Government to offer a guarantee that it will not impose the changes to online shopping before at least 1 January 2023."

  • For the Government to consider allowing free bus journeys to St Helier and/or three hours free parking on Saturdays.

"This will encourage consumers to continue using the town centre for their shopping despite rising prices, and help maintain Islanders’ access to a broad range of food and grocery outlets. This will save up to £4.80 per return fare into St Helier – the equivalent of the amount of GST spent on almost £100 of shopping, or £2.70 per car driver."

The Jersey Consumer Council will also be asking for a commitment from local supermarkets to create larger donation bins for food banks. They want supermarkets to stop, where possible, any further price rises on essential items such as bread, milk, eggs and vegetables.

In the letter the JCC says:

"Action is needed now, and it is essential that any possible solutions or assistance is quickly considered and implemented. On behalf of all consumers, we urge you and your government to do whatever is practically possible to help Islanders through the next few months. Consider establishing an independent anti-inflation panel .

"A Government appointed panel of business leaders, industry experts and consumer-focused organisations and individuals should be formed to both monitor the rate of inflation in real terms, but also propose affordable, practical and simple counter-measures for the Government to consider adopting for the benefit of Islanders."