Thousands march against GST - Guernsey's proposed tax on purchases

  • ITV Channel's Roisin Gauson joined protestors to find out why they are against the proposed tax

Thousands of people have attended a rally in Guernsey to protest against the proposed introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST).

They gathered in St Peter Port on Sunday 22 January to show their opposition to Policy and Resources' (P&R) planned levy that would add 5% to almost all purchases.

The island's top politicians claim it is the "least-worst option" to bolster public finances but protesters believe the move would hurt Guernsey companies.

One told ITV News: "There's other ways to get taxes in the island that they can bring in. I'm a small business owner. It will ruin my business, like most businesses.

People, placards and red ribbon filled the streets ahead of the public rally in Market Square.

Lance Vaudin helped to organise the event and explained their view: "People do not want GST. I think P&R are a little bit deflated as well. They've put forward their policy but it's not a popular one, it's not what people want and politicians whether they like it or not have to listen to the people. We put them there."

Guernsey's government faces a multi-million-pound deficit and while a GST of 5% is the proposed solution - it faces increasing public opposition.

Alternatives include a 15% corporation tax and cuts to government spending.

However, P&R President Deputy Peter Ferbrache thinks GST is still the best way forward: "I don't mean this in any discursive way to the people that were there but you can't bow to public pressure unless you think it's the right thing to do.  We are there to make difficult decisions, even if those are not going to necessarily make us popular."

The ultimate decision lies with the States and politicians are expected to start officially debating the issue on Wednesday 25 January.

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