Born and bred in Jersey, I studied AS Levels at Hautlieu School before entering the finance industry. Whilst working, I started studying with a view to training as a teacher, and obtained a place, at university but, as a mature student, I was unable to get a grant from the States. My experience of this age discrimination made me realise that we have to open education and training opportunities to a wider cross section of people. We should make “lifelong learning” a reality, and not just empty words.
This is a vital issue if we are to break with our seemingly endless need for high net inward migration figures. The previous council of Ministers has failed completely to meet its target of 325 per year, currently averaging 1,000 per year over the past decade. Surely greater access to training and education for current residents must be a way forward in attempting to reduce population growth to sustainable levels.
I am standing for election as Deputy for St Helier District 1 as a Reform Jersey candidate because I believe that together we can achieve much more than any individual in the States. I am pledged to support a carefully considered and costed programme of policies, which is focused on one clear aim – to improve the standard of living for all islanders. We have a full election manifesto with specific actions to improve public services, tackle the cost of housing, reduce poverty and increase job opportunities in an economy which works for all.
I will campaign to ensure that St Helier, and our district in particular, does not suffer the blight of high-density, high-rise blocks of flats with little amenity or green space around them. This “cramming” of development in town must end.
The current Council of Ministers has failed to grow the economy. Instead it has presided over a society which has grown more unequal. Those worst off – pensioners, children, single parents and those with a disability have all suffered as the minister against all evidence cut the support bill by £10m. Thankfully, Reform Jersey, in co-operation with scrutiny, managed to get the worst cut to single parents reversed.
Those in work are barely better off, having seen the real terms value of their earnings go down over the past decade. I shall work with my colleagues in Reform Jersey to end the hardship caused by our low-pay, high-rent economy. Wages have been frozen in many cases, or subject to the imposition of below inflation awards. Even teachers and nurses have seen the value of their salaries reduced. This is causing recruitment problems and must be addressed.
Population / Housing
The housing crisis has not been improved by the transfer to Andium. Rents set at 90% of the private sector are unaffordable. We need to introduce a rent cap and an empty property tax to encourage landlords to put empty properties back on the market and ensure that all can afford decent housing..