Guernsey's politicians hit back at claims of GST 'threats and scare-mongering'

People in Guernsey have been making their opinions heard on the prospect of a new Goods and Services Tax. Credit: ITV Channel

Guernsey's top politicians have hit back at accusations they have been "making threats and scare-mongering" over plans to introduce a 5% Goods and Services Tax. The Policy and Resources Committee has written an open letter to islanders responding to some of the "comments, criticisms and misconceptions" members have been sent from islanders concerned about the rising cost of living.

Deputies Peter Ferbrache, Mark Helyar, Jonathan Le Tocq, Dave Mahoney and Bob Murray say introducing GST "will not make them popular", but is necessary and the "least-worst option" to deal with the "incredibly serious problem" facing the island.

In the letter, the committee members set out some of the recurring comments they've heard from islanders - either directly or via social media. They include:

‘You’re punishing the poor to help your rich friends!’

The Policy and Resources Committee says GST provides a means for the island to raise money to provide public services, stating "it genuinely helps lower and middle-earners".

They claim that the proposed 5% tax would allow them to reduce income tax to 15% for those earning less than £30,000 a year.

'Get rid of all the overpaid civil servants, problem solved!’

The committee says they have reduced the size of their leadership team as much as possible and have put together tighter rules on replacing officers who make upwards of £50,000 a year to ensure that each role is essential.

They argue that they cannot, however, raise the sums needed just by cutting down numbers of staff - adding "there really aren't offices full over 'overpaid desk jockeys' who you wouldn't notice if we sacked them".

Peter Ferbrache is the President of Guernsey's Policy and Resources Committee, making him the de facto Chief Minister.

‘We’re already in a cost of living crisis, this is not the right time’

Whilst acknowledging that islanders are struggling with the cost of living, the Policy and Resources Committee argues that there is "no right time" to introduce a new tax. It says the decision would come into effect in 2025, when they hope inflation will have come down.

The Deputies say the longer the decision is put off, the worse the problem will be for future generations.

‘There’s no deficit, it’s all a con’

The committee members say of all the criticisms they've seen of the government's tax proposals, this is the most concerning.

They say it is not just the "conspiracy theory fans" who believe this, but also the "business leaders and members of the assembly who are perpetuating this myth."

They are asking people "not to bury their head in the sand" even if they disagree with the committee's plans. They say "there is too much at stake".

The Policy and Resources committee says they want to keep the conversation open ahead of the debate to help people understand their decision.

More information on Guernsey's proposed tax changes can be found on

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.