'Social media is not my usual bag': Facebook users put questions to Peter Ferbrache

Deputy Peter Ferbrache made his first post on the popular Facebook group 'Guernsey People Have Your Say' Credit: ITV Channel

Guernsey's top politician has made his social media debut fielding questions from islanders on Facebook.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache, the President of the Policy and Resources Committee, joined the local group 'Guernsey People Have Your Say' and opened himself up to questions on proposed tax changes, the island's infrastructure and "other things".

In his first post, the Deputy introduced himself: "Hi Everyone, I am opening myself to contact. I hope everyone is going to be polite. I will, and if you are rude to me I will ignore you.

"I am keen to answer as many questions as I can about [the] States' tax proposals, infrastructure and other things."

He went on to say: "Social media is not my usual bag so bear with my innocence please."

Deputy Ferbrache introduced himself to islanders in the popular Facebook group Credit: Facebook / Guernsey People Have Your Say

Hundreds of questions and comments directed towards Deputy Ferbrache began coming in.

GST was a frequent topic of conversation. One islander asked: "Is this the part where you explain how you think GST is a good idea when families can barely afford to live as it is with the high rents and prices for everything soaring through the roof?"

Deputy Ferbrache is yet to respond to that question, however, another islander asked: "Please could you clarify the costs that will be incurred to manage GST and how many staff it will take to run it?"

To which, he answered: "The more exemptions, the more the cost. If [GST] is on the majority of the things including food, the less it costs, but if the States decides it will not be on food, there will be higher costs."

The P&R President said the potential administration costs would be around £1 million per year to employ around 10 staff members, but GST would bring in between £60-70 million each year in revenue.

Another topic that came up was cost-cutting measures within the States of Guernsey.

One person asked: "Please can you discuss what cost-cutting measures are being done in the states and civil servants as well as how accountability is being handled?"

Deputy Ferbrache responded: "The plan is to get to savings of £10 million per year. We actually spend much less per person on States services than our neighbours.

"We spend £12,300 per person. Jersey for example is £13,100", he claimed.

The P&R President continued: "I have run businesses and am anxious to cut costs. The growth in public sector employees over the last 10 years is almost exclusively in Health and Social Care."

There were also many questions on the cost of living in Guernsey. One person said: "[It would] be nice for families to be able to afford to live here happily".

"We need radical action", the Chief Minister responded.

He added: "Housing [is] too expensive", saying house prices "are way too high" and "We need [to] increase supply significantly."

When asked about the diminishing green spaces in Guernsey, Deputy Ferbrache said: "We must do our best to keep the island as green as we can."

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