Hundreds of Guernsey people protest GST plans as tax debate gets underway

Hundreds turned out to protest against the GST proposal.
Hundreds turned out to protest against the GST proposal. Credit: ITV Channel Television

Hundreds of islanders turned out to protest against plans to bring in a 5% tax on goods and services, ahead of it being debated in the States.

St James Road was closed for a time as more than 200 people gathered to voice their opposition to the GST plans proposed by Guernsey's Chief Minister, Peter Ferbrache.

This comes after Sunday's protest where thousands of people rallied at the 'Say no to GST' march.

Politicians are sitting in the States this week to debate a number of potential tax reforms aiming to fix the island's deficit.

The 5% GST comes as part of a package which also includes increased income tax allowances and new social security contribution reforms.

Guernsey's top politicians believe it is the 'least-worst option' but alternatives to the introduction of GST have been put forward by other deputies.

Deputy Charles Parkinson, who is part of the anti-GST group, has proposed introducing a 15% Corporation Tax on local businesses.

Another proposed alternative from Deputies Heidi Soulsby and Gavin St Pier involves cuts to government spending.

The tax review will be debated in the States this week. Credit: ITV Channel Television.

Deputy Ferbrache still believes the introduction of GST is the best way forward despite the protests.

He says: "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."

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